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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

46. The Sand Dunes (1 – 20)

A Meccan sura. The title refers to the sand dunes mentioned in verse 21, where the people of ‘Ad used to live, and where they were destroyed when they rejected the warning of their prophet. It reflects one of the major themes of this sura: the inescapable punishment that awaits those who deny the truth and the Resurrection. Emphasis is placed on the fact that communities more established than the Meccans’ have been destroyed, and that even the jinn believe in the Qurʾan before the disbelievers of Mecca do. Finally, the Prophet is encouraged to be steadfast and await God's judgement on the disbelievers.

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

1Ha Mim

2This Scripture is sent down from God, the Almighty, the Wise. 3It was for a true purpose and a specific term that We created heaven and earth and everything in between, yet those who deny the truth ignore the warning they have been given. 4Say [Prophet], ‘Consider those you pray to other than God: show me which part of the earth they created or which share of the heavens they own; bring me a previous scripture or some vestige of divine knowledge —if what you say is true.’ 5Who could be more wrong than a person who calls on those other than God, those who will not answer him till the Day of Resurrection, those who are unaware of his prayers, 6those who, when all mankind is gathered, will become his enemies and disown his worship?

7When Our revelations are recited to them in all their clarity, the disbelievers say of the Truth that has reached them, ‘This is clearly sorcery,’ 8or they say, ‘He has invented it himself.’ Say [Prophet], ‘If I have really invented it, there is nothing you can do to save me from God. He knows best what you say amongst yourselves about it; He is sufficient as a witness between me and you; He is the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.’ 9Say, ‘I am nothing new among God's messengers. I do not know what will be done with me or you; I only follow what is revealed to me; I only warn plainly.’ 10Say, ‘Have you thought: what if this Qurʾan really is from God and you reject it? What if one of the Children of Israel testifies to its similarity [to earlier scripture] and believes in it, and yet you are too proud to [do the same]? God certainly does not guide evildoers.’

11Those who disbelieve say of the believers, ‘If there were any good in this Qurʾan, they would not have believed in it before we did,’a The disbelievers had particular difficulty in accepting the fact that some of those who believed in Islam were people they considered to be humble riff-raff. and, since they refuse to be guided by it, they say, ‘This is an ancient fabrication.’ 12Yet the scripture of Moses was revealed before it as a guide and a mercy, and this is a scripture confirming it in the Arabic language to warn those who do evil and bring good news for those who do good. 13For those who say, ‘Our lord is God,’ and then follow the straight path there is no fear, nor shall they grieve: 14they are the people of Paradise, there to remain as a reward for what they were doing.

15We have commanded man to be good to his parents: his mother struggled to carry him and struggled to give birth to him— his bearing and weaning took a full thirty months. When he has grown to manhood and reached the age of forty he [may] say, ‘Lord, help me to be truly grateful for Your favours to me and to my parents; help me to do good work that pleases You; make my offspring good. I turn to You; I am one of those who devote themselves to You.’ 16We accept from such people the best of what they do and We overlook their bad deeds. They will be among the people of Paradise— the true promise that has been given to them.

17But some say to their parents, ‘What? Are you really warning me that I shall be raised alive from my grave, when so many generations have already passed and gone before me?’ His parents implore God for help; they say, ‘Alas for you! Believe! God's promise is true,’ but still he replies, ‘These are nothing but ancient fables.’ 18The verdict has been passed on such people, along with all the communities that went before them, jinn and human: they are lost. 19Everyone will be ranked according to their deeds and God will repay them in full for what they have done: they will not be wronged. 20On the Day when those who deny the truth are brought before the Fire, it will be said to them, ‘You squandered the good things you were given in your earthly life, you took your fill of pleasure there, so on this Day a punishment of shame is yours: you were arrogant on earth without any right, and exceeded all limits.’

Notes:

a The disbelievers had particular difficulty in accepting the fact that some of those who believed in Islam were people they considered to be humble riff-raff.

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