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Select Translation What is This? Selections include: The Koran Interpreted, a translation by A.J. Arberry, first published 1955; The Qur'an, translated by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem, published 2004; or side-by-side comparison view
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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

44. Smoke (1 – 21)

A Meccan sura that takes its title from verse 10, which describes a smoke-filled day, taken by many to refer to the Day of Judgement. The sura highlights the mercy that is the Qurʾan, addresses the obduracy of the powerful and wealthy oppressors, and draws comparisons between the people of Pharaoh, Tubba’, and the Meccans. The people of Paradise will enjoy heavenly bliss while those who were mighty in this world will suffer the torments of Hell.

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

1Ha Mim

2By the Scripture that makes things clear,3truly We sent it down on a blessed night —We have always sent warnings —4a night when every matter of wisdom was made distinct 5at Our command —We have always sent messages to man —6as a mercy [Prophet] from your Lord who sees and knows all,7Lord of the heavens and the earth and everything between —if only you people were firm believers —8there is no god but Him: He gives life and death —He is your Lord and the Lord of your forefathers —9yet in [their state of] doubt they take nothing seriously.a Literally ‘in doubt they play’.

10[Prophet], watch out for the Dayb Some interpret this as referring to an actual event that occurred in the lifetime of the Prophet —a drought and famine in Mecca during which hunger caused eyes to mist over when the sufferers looked at the sky —but it seems more likely to refer to the Day of Judgement. when the sky brings forth clouds of smoke for all to see. 11It will envelop the people. They will cry, ‘This is a terrible torment! 12Lord relieve us from this torment! We believe!’ 13How will this [sudden] faith benefit them? When a prophet came to warn them plainly, 14they turned their backs on him, saying, ‘He is tutored! He is possessed!’ 15We shall hold the torment back for a whilec If this passage is taken to refer to the Day of Judgement, here the torment is relieved rather than held back, and the people return to disbelief rather than to God.— you are sure to return [to Us] —16and on the Day We seize [them] mightily We shall exact retribution.

17We tested the people of Pharaoh before them: a noble messenger was sent to them, 18saying, ‘Hand the servants of God over to me! I am a faithful messenger who has been sent to you. 19Do not consider yourselves to be above God! I come to you with clear authority. 20I seek refuge in my Lord and yours against your insults!a One of the meanings of rajama is ‘abuse’ or ‘cast aspersions’; another is ‘to stone’; another is ‘to expel’. 21If you do not believe me, just let me be.’

Notes:

a Literally ‘in doubt they play’.

b Some interpret this as referring to an actual event that occurred in the lifetime of the Prophet —a drought and famine in Mecca during which hunger caused eyes to mist over when the sufferers looked at the sky —but it seems more likely to refer to the Day of Judgement.

c If this passage is taken to refer to the Day of Judgement, here the torment is relieved rather than held back, and the people return to disbelief rather than to God.

a One of the meanings of rajama is ‘abuse’ or ‘cast aspersions’; another is ‘to stone’; another is ‘to expel’.

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