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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

41. [Verses] Made Distinct (1 – 24)

This Meccan sura deals with the obduracy of the disbelievers, the truthfulness of the Qurʾan, the unity of God, and the inevitability of Resurrection. The title refers to a term used to describe the Qurʾan in verse 3 and again in verse 44. The sura makes several references to the senses (verses 5, 20–2, 44) which the disbelievers shut off from perceiving the Truth in this world, and which will then testify against their ‘owners’ on the Day of Resurrection, and it describes the arrogance displayed by people when all is well, contrasted with their humility and despair when difficulties strike (verses 49–51).

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

1Ha Mim

2A revelation from the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy; 3a Scripture whose verses are made distinct as a Qurʾan in Arabic for people who understand,4giving good news and warning. Yet most of them turn away and so do not hear. 5They say, ‘Our hearts are encased against [the faith] you call us to; our ears are heavy; there is a barrier between us and you. So you do whatever you want, and so shall we.’ 6Say [Prophet], ‘I am only a mortal like you, [but] it has been revealed to me that your God is One. Take the straight path to Him and seek His forgiveness. Woe to the idolaters, 7who do not pay the prescribed alms and refuse to believe in the world to come! 8Those who believe and do good deeds will have a reward that never fails.’

9Say, ‘How can you disregard the One who created the earth in two Days?a Commentators include these two days in the four mentioned in verse 10, so that the total is six days; see 32: 4. God's Days are not like ours; see 22: 47. How can you set up other gods as His equals? He is the Lord of all the worlds!’ 10He placed solid mountains on it, blessed it, measured out its varied provisions for all who seek them—all in four Days. 11Then He turned to the sky, which was smoke—He said to it and the earth, ‘Come into being, willingly or not,’ and they said, ‘We come willingly’—12and in two Days He formed seven heavens, and assigned an order to each. We have made the nearest one beautifully illuminated and secure. Such is the design of the Almighty, the All Knowing.

13If they turn away, say, ‘I have warned you about a blast like the one which struck ‘Ad and Thamud: 14when their messengers came to them, from all angles,a Literally ‘from before and from behind’, i.e. using all angles of argument. The messengers tried every method to persuade their people of the truth of their message. saying, “Serve no one but God,” they said, “If our Lord had wished, He would have sent down angels. We do not believe in the message with which you have been sent.” 15The people of ‘Ad behaved arrogantly throughout the land without any right, saying, “Who could be stronger than us?” Did they not realize that God, who created them, was stronger than them?’ They continued to reject Our message, 16so We let a roaring wind loose on them for a few disastrous days to make them taste the punishment of shame in this world; more shameful still will be the punishment of the life to come, and they will not be helped. 17As for Thamud, We gave them guidance but they preferred blindness, so they were struck by a blast of humiliating punishment for their misdeeds. 18We saved those who believed and were mindful of God.

19On the Day when God's enemies are gathered up for the Fire and driven onward,20their ears, eyes, and skins will, when they reach it, testify against them for their misdeeds. 21They will say to their skins, ‘Why did you testify against us?’ and their skins will reply, ‘God, who gave speech to everything, has given us speech—it was He who created you the first time and to Him you have been returned—22yet you did not try to hide yourselves from your ears, eyes, and skin to prevent them from testifying against you. You thought that God did not know about much of what you were doing, 23so it was the thoughts you entertained about your Lord that led to your ruin, and you became losers.’ 24The Fire will still be their home, even if they resign themselves to patience, and if they pray to be allowed to make amends, they will not be given permission to do so.

Notes:

a Commentators include these two days in the four mentioned in verse 10, so that the total is six days; see 32: 4. God's Days are not like ours; see 22: 47.

a Literally ‘from before and from behind’, i.e. using all angles of argument. The messengers tried every method to persuade their people of the truth of their message.

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