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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

42. Consultation (1 – 23)

A Meccan sura that takes its name from verse 38, where the practice of consultation (shura) is listed as one characteristic of the Muslim community. The sura discusses man's habit of creating division and disharmony in matters of religion, and God's all-prevailing power, wisdom, and final decision. The unity of religion is stressed (verse 13) as is the continuity of the prophets (verse 3). fThe Prophet is reminded that he cannot compel people to believe, that they will be judged according to their deeds, and that he is only there to deliver the message. The nature of revelation is described in verses 51–3.

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

1Ha Mim 2‘Ayn Sin Qaf

3This is how God, the Mighty, the Wise, sends revelation to you [Prophet] as He did to those before you. 4All that is in the heavens and earth belongs to Him: He is the Exalted, the Almighty. 5The heavens are almost broken apart from above as the angels proclaim the praises of their Lord and ask forgiveness for those on earth. God is indeed the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.6As for those who take protectors other than Him, God is watching them; you are not responsible for them.

7So We have revealed an Arabic Qurʾan to you, in order that you may warn the capital citya Literally ‘the mother of cities’, Mecca. and all who live nearby. And warn [especially] about the Day of Gathering, of which there is no doubt, when some shall be in the Garden and some in the blazing Flame.8If God had so pleased, He could have made them a single community, but He admits to His mercy whoever He will; the evildoers will have no one to protect or help them. 9How can they take protectors other than Him? God alone is the Protector; He gives life to the dead; He has power over all things. 10Whatever you may differ about is for God to judge. [Say], ‘Such is God, my Lord. In Him I trust and to Him I turn, 11the Creator of the heavens and earth.’ He made mates for you from among yourselves—and for the animals too—so that you may multiply. There is nothing like Him: He is the All Hearing, the All Seeing. 12The keys of the heavens and the earth are His; He provides abundantly or sparingly for whoever He will; He has full knowledge of all things.

13In matters of faith, He has laid down for you [people] the same commandment that He gave Noah, which We have revealed to you [Muhammad] and which We enjoined on Abraham and Moses and Jesus: ‘Uphold the faith and do not divide into factions within it’— what you [Prophet] call upon the idolaters to do is hard for them; God chooses whoever He pleases for Himself and guides towards Himself those who turn to Him. 14They divided, out of rivalry, only after knowledge had come to them, and, if it had not been for a decree already passed by your Lord to reprieve them until an appointed time, they would already have been judged. Those after them, who inherited the Scripture, are in disquieting doubt about it. 15So [Prophet] call people to that faith and follow the straight path as you have been commanded. Do not go by what they desire, but say, ‘I believe in whatever Scripture God has sent down. I am commanded to bring justice between you. God is our Lord and your Lord—to us our deeds and to you yours, so let there be no argument between us and you—God will gather us together, and to Him we shall return.’ 16As for those who argue about God after He has been acknowledged, their argument has no weight with their Lord: anger will fall upon them and agonizing torment awaits them. 17It is God who has sent down the Scripture with Truth and the Balance.a The balance of justice and of nature; cf. verse 27. How can you tell? The Last Hour may well be near: 18those who do not believe in it seek to hasten it, but the believers stand in awe of it. They know it to be the Truth; those who argue about the Hour are far, far astray.

19God is most subtle towards His creatures; He provides [bountifully] for whoever He will; He is the Powerful, the Almighty. 20If anyone desires a harvest in the life to come, We shall increase it for him; if anyone desires a harvest in this world, We shall give him a share of it, but in the Hereafter he will have no share. 21How can they believe in others who ordain for them things which God has not sanctioned in the practice of their faith? If it were not for God's decree concerning the final Decision, judgement would already have been made between them. The evildoers will have a grievous punishment—22you will see them fearful because of what they have done: punishment is bound to fall on them—but those who believe and do good deeds will be in the flowering meadows of the Gardens. They will have whatever they wish from their Lord: this is the great bounty;23it is of this that God gives good news to His servants who believe and do good deeds.

Notes:

a Literally ‘the mother of cities’, Mecca.

a The balance of justice and of nature; cf. verse 27.

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