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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

55. The Lord of Mercy (1 – 21)

A Medinan sura that highlights God's wonders in this world, describes the end of the world, and paints an evocative picture of the delights of Paradise. Hell is briefly contrasted (verses 43–4) with the joys that await the righteous. The sura is characterized by the refrain ‘Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?’ which runs throughout. The sura divides mankind andjinn into three classes: the disbelievers (verses 41–5), the best of believers (verses 46–61), and the ordinary believers (verses 62–77).

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

1It is the Lord of Mercy 2who taught the Qurʾan.a One interpretation is that qurʾan here means ‘to read’, cf. 96: 1. 3He created man 4and taught him to communicate. b Bayan (communication) involves both expressing oneself and understanding what has been expressed by others, including the Qurʾan, which is called bayan and mubin. 5The sun and the moon follow their calculated courses; 6the plants and the trees submitc Sajada means ‘to submit’ and consequently also ‘to bow down’ or ‘to prostrate oneself’. to His designs; 7He has raised up the sky. He has set the balance8so that you may not exceed in the balance: 9weigh with justice and do not fall short in the balance.10He set down the Earth for His creatures,11with its fruits, its palm trees with sheathed clusters, 12its husked grain, its fragrant plants. 13Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you bothd Mankind and jinn. deny?

14He created mankind out of dried clay, like pottery, 15the jinn out of smokeless fire. 16Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

17He is Lord of the two risings and Lord of the two settings.e This refers to the rising and setting of the sun and the moon, or, alternatively, their furthest points of sunrise and sunset in summer and winter. 18Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

19He released the two bodies of [fresh and salt] water. They meet, 20yet there is a barrier between them they do not cross. 21Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

Notes:

a One interpretation is that qurʾan here means ‘to read’, cf. 96: 1.

b Bayan (communication) involves both expressing oneself and understanding what has been expressed by others, including the Qurʾan, which is called bayan and mubin.

c Sajada means ‘to submit’ and consequently also ‘to bow down’ or ‘to prostrate oneself’.

d Mankind and jinn.

e This refers to the rising and setting of the sun and the moon, or, alternatively, their furthest points of sunrise and sunset in summer and winter.

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