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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

2. The Cow (114 – 134)

114Who could be more wicked than those who prohibit the mention of God's name in His places of worshipa Razi suggests that this probably alludes to the Jews’ objections to the change of qibla (direction of prayer) from Jerusalem to Mecca and their efforts to stop people praying towards Mecca in the Prophet's mosque in Medina (see 2: 115 and 142). and strive to have them deserted? Such people should not enter them without fear: there is disgrace for them in this world and painful punishment in the Hereafter. 115The East and the West belong to God: wherever you turn, there is His Face.b Or ‘His direction’. God is all pervading and all knowing.

116Theyc Razi suggests that this refers to the pagan Arabs (see 16: 57) and (some of) the Christians and Jews (see 9: 30). have asserted, ‘God has a child.’ May He be exalted! No! Everything in the heavens and earth belongs to Him, everything devoutly obeys His will. 117He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth, and when He decrees something, He says only, ‘Be,’ and it is. 118Those who have no knowledge also say, ‘If only God would speak to us!’ or ‘If only a miraculous sign would come to us!’ People before them said the same things: their hearts are all alike. We have made Our signs clear enough to those who have solid faith. 119We have sent you [Prophet] with the truth, bearing good news and warning. You will not be responsible for the inhabitants of the Blaze. 120The Jews and the Christians will never be pleased with you unless you follow their ways. Say, ‘God's guidance is the only true guidance.’ If you were to follow their desires after the knowledge that has come to you, you would find no one to protect you from God or help you. 121Those to whom We have given the Scripture, who follow it as it deserves,d This can also mean ‘who read it as it ought to be read’. are the ones who truly believe in it. Those who deny its truth will be the losers.

122Children of Israel, remember how I blessed you and favoured you over other people, 123and beware of a Day when no soul can stand in for another. No compensation will be accepted from it, nor intercession be of use to it, nor will anyone be helped. 124When Abraham's Lord tested him with certain commandments, which he fulfilled, He said, ‘I will make you a leader of people.’ Abraham asked, ‘And will You make leaders from my descendants too?’ God answered, ‘My pledge does not hold for those who do evil.’

125We made the House a The Ka‘ba at Mecca. a resort and a sanctuary for people, saying, ‘Take the spot where Abraham stood as your place of prayer.’ We commanded Abraham and Ishmael: ‘Purify My House for those who walk round it, those who stay there, and those who bow and prostrate themselves in worship.’ 126Abraham said, ‘My Lord, make this land secure and provide with produce those of its people who believe in God and the Last Day.’ God said, ‘As for those who disbelieve, I will grant them enjoyment for a short while and then subject them to the torment of the Fire—an evil destination.’

127As Abraham and Ishmael built up the foundations of the House [they prayed], ‘Our Lord, accept [this] from us. You are the All Hearing, the All Knowing. 128Our Lord, make us devotedb Aslama here means to devote oneself to the one God alone, so that Abraham will come to his Lord with his heart totally devoted to Him: 3: 64; 26: 89; 37: 84. to You; make our descendants into a community devoted to You. Show us how to worship and accept our repentance, for You are the Ever Relenting, the Most Merciful. 129Our Lord, make a messenger of their own rise up from among them, to recite Your revelations to them, teach them the Scripture and wisdom, and purify them: You are the Mighty, the Wise.’

130Who but a fool would forsake the religion of Abraham? We have chosen him in this world and he will rank among the righteous in the Hereafter. 131His Lord said to him, ‘Devote yourself to Me.’ Abraham replied, ‘I devote myself to the Lord of the Universe,’ 132and commanded his sons to do the same, as did Jacob: ‘My sons, God has chosen [your] religion for you, so make sure you devote yourselves to Him, to your dying moment.’

133Were you [Jews] there to see when death came upon Jacob? When he said to his sons, ‘What will you worship after I am gone?’ they replied, ‘We shall worship your God and the God of your fathers, Abraham, Ishmael, and Isaac, one single God: we devote ourselves to Him.’c ‘One single God’ reinforces the interpretation of islam as ‘devotion’, one meaning of aslama (al-Mu‘jam al-Wasit). 134That community passed away. What they earned belongs to them, and what you earn belongs to you: you will not be answerable for their deeds.

Notes:

a Razi suggests that this probably alludes to the Jews’ objections to the change of qibla (direction of prayer) from Jerusalem to Mecca and their efforts to stop people praying towards Mecca in the Prophet's mosque in Medina (see 2: 115 and 142).

b Or ‘His direction’.

c Razi suggests that this refers to the pagan Arabs (see 16: 57) and (some of) the Christians and Jews (see 9: 30).

d This can also mean ‘who read it as it ought to be read’.

a The Ka‘ba at Mecca.

b Aslama here means to devote oneself to the one God alone, so that Abraham will come to his Lord with his heart totally devoted to Him: 3: 64; 26: 89; 37: 84.

c ‘One single God’ reinforces the interpretation of islam as ‘devotion’, one meaning of aslama (al-Mu‘jam al-Wasit).

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