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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

85. The Towering Constellations (1 – 20)

This Meccan sura strengthened the heart of the Prophet and his followers by referring to the fate of those who tortured earlier believers. The title expresses God's power over the whole universe, from the stars in the sky to the evildoers referred to in this sura. Indeed, His all-encompassing power is a recurring theme throughout the sura.

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

1By the sky with its towering constellations, 2by the promised Day, 3by the Witnessa God. and that which is witnessed, 4damned were the makers of the trench,b Various suggestions are made as to who these trench-makers were, among others, that they were those commanded to make a trench by a Jewish ruler of sixth-century Yemen in order to torture Christians, also that the passage could refer to Nimrod's treatment of Abraham (Razi). 5the makers of the fuel-stoked fire! 6They sat down 7to watch what they were doing to the believers. 8Their only grievance against them was their faith in God, the Mighty, the Praiseworthy, 9to whom all control over the heavens and earth belongs: God is witness over all things.

10For those who persecute believing men and women, and do not repent afterwards, there will be the torment of Hell and burning. 11But for those who believe and do good deeds there will be Gardens graced with flowing streams: that is the great triumph. 12[Prophet], your Lord's punishment is truly stern—13it is He who brings people to life, and will restore them to life again—14and He is the Most Forgiving, the Most Loving. 15The Glorious Lord of the Throne, 16He does whatever He will. 17Have you [not] heard the stories of the forces 18of Pharaoh and Thamud? 19Yet still the disbelievers persist in denial. 20God surrounds them all.

Notes:

a God.

b Various suggestions are made as to who these trench-makers were, among others, that they were those commanded to make a trench by a Jewish ruler of sixth-century Yemen in order to torture Christians, also that the passage could refer to Nimrod's treatment of Abraham (Razi).

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