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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

33. The Joint Forces (49 – 73)

49Believers, you have no right to expect a waiting period when you marry believing women and then divorce them before you have touched them: make provision for them and release them in an honourable way. 50Prophet, We have made lawful for you the wives whose bride gift you have paid, and any slaves God has assigned to you through war, and the daughters of your uncles and aunts on your father's and mother's sides, who migrated with you. Also any believing woman who has offered herself to the Prophet and whom the Prophet wishes to wed—this is only for you [Prophet] and not the rest of the believers: We know exactly what We have made obligatory for them concerning their wives and slave-girls—so you should not be blamed: God is most forgiving, most merciful. 51You may make any of [your women] wait and receive any of them as you wish, but you will not be at fault if you invite one whose turn you have previously set aside: this way it is more likely that they will be satisfied and will not be distressed and will all be content with what you have given them. God knows what is in your hearts: God is all knowing, forbearing. 52You [Prophet] are not permitted to take any further wives, nor to exchange the wives you have for others, even if these attract you with their beauty. But this does not apply to your slave-girls: God is watchful over all.

53Believers, do not enter the Prophet's apartments for a meal unless you are given permission to do so; do not linger until [a meal] is ready. When you are invited, go in; then, when you have taken your meal, leave. Do not stay on and talk, for that would offend the Prophet, though he would shrink from asking you to leave. God does not shrink from the truth. When you ask his wives for something, do so from behind a screen: this is purer both for your hearts and for theirs. It is not right for you to offend God's Messenger, just as you should never marry his wives after him: that would be grievous in God's eyes. 54God has full knowledge of all things, whether you reveal them or not. 55The Prophet's wives are not to blame [if they are seen by] their fathers, their sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, or their slaves. [Wives of the Prophet], be mindful of God. God observes everything. 56God and His angels bless the Prophet—so, you who believe, bless him too and give him greetings of peace. 57Those who insult God and His Messenger will be rejected by God in this world and the next—He has prepared a humiliating torment for them—58and those who undeservedly insult believing men and women will bear the guilt of slander and flagrant sin.

59Prophet, tell your wives, your daughters, and women believers to make their outer garments hang low over them a The Arabic idiom adna al-jilbab means ‘make it hang low’, not ‘wrap around’ as other translators have assumed (al-Mu‘jam al-Wasit). so as to be recognized and not insulted: God is most forgiving, most merciful.60If the hypocrites, the sick at heart, and those who spread lies in the city do not desist, We shall rouse you [Prophet] against them, and then they will only be your neighbours in this city for a short while. 61They will be rejected. Wherever they are found, they will be arrested and put to death. 62This has been God's practice with those who went before. You will find no change in God's practices.

63People ask you about the Hour. Say, ‘God alone has knowledge of it.’ How could you [Prophet] know? The Hour may well be near. 64God has rejected the disbelievers and prepared a blazing fire for them.65There they will stay permanently, with no one to befriend or support them. 66On the Day when their faces are being turned about in the Fire, they will say, ‘If only we had obeyed God and the Messenger,’ 67and ‘Lord! We obeyed our masters and our chiefs, and they led us astray. 68Lord! Give them a double punishment and reject them completely.’

69Believers, do not be like those who insulted Moses—God cleared him of their allegations and he was highly honoured in God's eyes.70Believers, be mindful of God, speak in a direct fashion and to good purpose,71and He will put your deeds right for you and forgive you your sins. Whoever obeys God and His Messenger will truly achieve a great triumph.72We offered the Trustb [Of reason and moral responsibility] to the heavens, the earth, and the mountains, yet they refused to undertake it and were afraid of it; mankind undertook it—they have always been ineptc The meaning of dhalama is ‘put something out of its place’. and foolish.73God will punish the hypocrites and the idolaters, both men and women, and turn with mercy to the believers, both men and women: God is most forgiving, most merciful.

Notes:

a The Arabic idiom adna al-jilbab means ‘make it hang low’, not ‘wrap around’ as other translators have assumed (al-Mu‘jam al-Wasit).

b [Of reason and moral responsibility]

c The meaning of dhalama is ‘put something out of its place’.

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