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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

47. Muhammad (1 – 26)

A Medinan sura that deals with issues of war, those who try to prevent conversion to Islam and the carrying out of God's commands (a common theme in the Medinan suras), and the fate of the hypocrites. It specifically mentions the iniquity of those who expelled the Prophet from Mecca, it describes the futility of the disbelievers’ attempts to oppose God and His Prophet, and it urges the Muslims to obey God in all matters, lest their good deeds come to nothing on the Day of Judgement like those of the disbelievers and hypocrites. It takes its title from the mention of Muhammad's name in verse 2.

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

1God will bring to nothing the deeds of those who disbelieve and bar others from the way of God,2but He will overlook the bad deeds of those who have faith, do good deeds, and believe in what has been sent down to Muhammad —the truth from their Lord —and He will put them into a good state. 3This is because the disbelievers follow falsehood, while the believers follow the truth from their Lord. In this way God shows people their true type.

4When you meet the disbelievers in battle, strike them in the neck, and once they are defeated, bind any captives firmly —later you can release them by gracea Commentators highlight the fact that ‘by grace’ is the first of the two options given here, concluding that this is the preferred or recommended course of action. or by ransom —until the toils of war have ended. That [is the way]. God could have defeated them Himself if He had willed, but His purpose is to test some of you by means of others. He will not let the deeds of those who are killed for His cause come to nothing; 5He will guide them and put them into a good state; 6He will admit them into the Garden He has already made known to them.7You who believe! If you help God, He will help you and make you stand firm.

8As for the disbelievers, how wretched will be their state! God has brought their deeds to nothing. 9It is because they hate what God has sent down that He has caused their deeds to go to waste. 10Have they not travelled the earth and seen how those before them met their end? God destroyed them utterly: a similar fate awaits the disbelievers. 11That is because God protects the believers while the disbelievers have no one to protect them:12God will admit those who believe and do good deeds to Gardens graced with flowing streams; the disbelievers may take their fill of pleasure in this world, and eat as cattle do, but the Fire will be their home. 13We have destroyed many a town stronger than your own [Prophet]— the town which [chose to] expel you —and they had no one to help them.

14Can those who follow clear proof from their Lord be compared to those whose foul deeds are made to seem alluring to them, those who follow their own desires? 15Here is a picture of the Garden promised to the pious: rivers of water forever pure, rivers of milk forever fresh, rivers of wine, a delight for those who drink, rivers of honey clarified and pure, [all] flow in it; there they will find fruit of every kind; and they will find forgiveness from their Lord. How can this be compared to the fate of those stuck in the Fire, given boiling water to drink that tears their bowels?

16Some of these people listen to you [Prophet], but, once they leave your presence, they sneer at those who have been given knowledge, saying, ‘What was that he just said?’ These are the ones whose hearts God has sealed, those who follow their own desires. 17God has increased the guidance of those who follow the right path, and given them their awareness [of Him].18What are the disbelievers waiting for, other than the Hour which will come upon them unawares? Its signs are already here, but once the Hour has actually arrived, what use will it be then to take heed?19So [Prophet], bear in minda Literally ‘know’. that there is no god but God, and ask forgiveness for your sins and for the sins of believing men and women. God knows whenever any of you move, and whenever any of you stay still.

20Those who believe ask why no sura [about fighting] has been sent down. Yet when a decisive sura [that mentions fighting] is sent down, you can see the sick at heart looking at you [Prophet] and visibly fainting at the prospect of death— better for them 21would be obedience and fitting words; it would also be better for them to be true to God when the decision to fight has been made.22‘If you turn away now, could it be that you will go on to spread corruption all over the land and break your ties of kinship?’b A reference to the pretext given, by some who refused to fight, that fighting breaks ties of kinship. 23These are the ones God has rejected, making their ears deaf and their eyes blind. 24Will they not contemplate the Qurʾan? Do they have locks on their hearts? 25Those who turn on their heels after being shown guidance are duped and tempted by Satan; 26they say to those who hate what God has sent down, ‘We will obey you in some matters’a For instance, they will agree that Muhammad is not a prophet but will not agree to idol worship or denial of the Resurrection (Razi). —God knows their secret schemes.

Notes:

a Commentators highlight the fact that ‘by grace’ is the first of the two options given here, concluding that this is the preferred or recommended course of action.

a Literally ‘know’.

b A reference to the pretext given, by some who refused to fight, that fighting breaks ties of kinship.

a For instance, they will agree that Muhammad is not a prophet but will not agree to idol worship or denial of the Resurrection (Razi).

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