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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 – 78)

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?

22Pearls come forth from them: large ones, and small, brilliant ones.f See Abdel Haleem, Understanding the Qurʾan, 170–1. 23Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny? 24His are the moving ships that float, high as mountains, on the sea.25Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

26Everyone on earth perishes; 27all that remains is the Facea Abdel Haleem, Understanding the Qurʾan,ch. 9. of your Lord, full of majesty, bestowing honour.28Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

29Everyone in heaven and earth entreats Him; every day He is at work.b Literally ‘in some matter’. The Prophet was asked, ‘What is this matter?’ He replied, ‘He forgives a sin or removes a distress. 30Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

31We shall attend to you two huge armiesc Thaqal is a mighty or heavy army: all their forces. [of jinn and mankind]. 32Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

33Jinn and mankind, if you can pass beyond the regions of heaven and earth, then do so: you will not pass without Our authority. 34Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

35A flash of fire and smoke will be released upon you and no one will come to your aid.36Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

37When the sky is torn apart and turns crimson, like red hide. 38Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

39On that Day neither mankind nor jinn will be asked about their sins. 40Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

41The guilty will be known by their mark and will be seized by their foreheads and their feet. 42Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

43This is the Hell the guilty deny, 44but they will go round between its flames and scalding water.45Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

46For those who fear [the time when they will] stand before their Lord there are two gardens.47Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

48With shading branches.49Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

50With a pair of flowing springs. 51Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

52With every kind of fruit in pairs. 53Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny? 54They will sit on couches upholstered with brocade, the fruit of both gardens within easy reach. 55Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

56There will be maidens restraining their glances, untouched beforehand by man or jinn. 57Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

58Like rubies and brilliant pearls. 59Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

60Shall the reward of good be anything but good? 61Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

62There are two other gardens below these two.a Paradise exists in two ranks: the higher level for the truly favoured, and this lower level described for the less exalted pious. This cosmology of hell, lower paradise, upper paradise is repeated in the following sura: 56: 7–56. 63Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

64Both of deepest green. 65Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

66With a pair of gushing springs. 67Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

68With fruits—date palms and pomegranate trees.69Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

70There are good-natured, beautiful maidens. 71Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

72Dark-eyed, sheltered in pavilions. 73Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

74Untouched beforehand by man or jinn. 75Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny?

76They will all sit on green cushions and fine carpets. 77Which, then, of your Lord's blessings do you both deny? 78Blessed is the name of your Lord, full of majesty, bestowing honour.

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.

f See Abdel Haleem, Understanding the Qurʾan, 170–1.

a Abdel Haleem, Understanding the Qurʾan,ch. 9.

b Literally ‘in some matter’. The Prophet was asked, ‘What is this matter?’ He replied, ‘He forgives a sin or removes a distress.

c Thaqal is a mighty or heavy army: all their forces.

a Paradise exists in two ranks: the higher level for the truly favoured, and this lower level described for the less exalted pious. This cosmology of hell, lower paradise, upper paradise is repeated in the following sura: 56: 7–56.

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