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Select Translation What is This? Selections include: The Koran Interpreted, a translation by A.J. Arberry, first published 1955; The Qur'an, translated by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem, published 2004; or side-by-side comparison view
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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

7. The Heights (142 – 162)

142We appointed thirty nights for Moses, then added ten more: the term set by his Lord was completed in forty nights. Moses said to his brother Aaron, ‘Take my place among my people: act rightly and do not follow the way of those who spread corruption.’ 143When Moses came for the appointment, and his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘My Lord, show Yourself to me: let me see You!’ He said, ‘You will never see Me, but look at that mountain: if it remains standing firm, you will see Me,’ and when his Lord revealed Himself to the mountain, He made it crumble: Moses fell down unconscious. When he recovered, he said, ‘Glory be to You! To You I turn in repentance! I am the first to believe!’ 144He said, ‘Moses, I have raised you above other people by [giving you] My messages and speaking to you: hold on to what I have given you; be one of those who give thanks.’

145We inscribed everything for him in the Tablets which taught and explained everything, saying, ‘Hold on to them firmly and urge your people to hold fast to their excellent teachings. I will show you the end of those who rebel. 146I will keep distracted from My signs those who behave arrogantly on Earth without any right, and who, even if they see every sign, will not believe in them; they will not take the way of right guidance if they see it, but will take the way of error if they see that. This is because they denied Our signs and paid them no heed: 147the deeds of those who denied Our signs and the Meeting of the Hereafter will come to nothing—why should they be repaid for anything other than what they have done?’

148In his absence, Moses’ people took to worshipping a mere shape that made sounds like a cow—a calf made from their jewellery. Could they not see that it did not speak to them or guide them in any way? Yet they took it for worship: they were evildoers. 149When, with much wringing of hands, they perceived that they were doing wrong, they said, ‘If our Lord does not have mercy and forgive us, we shall be the losers.’ 150On his return to his people, angry and aggrieved, Moses said, ‘How foul and evil is what you have done in my absence! Were you so keen to bring your Lord's judgement forward?’ He threw the tablets down and seized his brother by the hair, pulling him towards him. Aaron said, ‘Son of my mother, these people overpowered me! They almost killed me! Do not give my enemies reason to rejoice! Do not include me with these evildoers!’ 151Moses said, ‘My Lord, forgive me and my brother; accept us into Your mercy: You are the Most Merciful of all who show mercy. 152Those who took to worshipping the calf will be afflicted by their Lord's wrath, and by disgrace in this life.’ This is the way We repay those who invent such falsehoods, 153but your Lord is most forgiving and most merciful towards those who do wrong, then repent afterwards and truly believe.

154When Moses’ anger abated, he picked up the Tablets, on which were inscribed guidance and mercy for those who stood in awe of their Lord. 155Moses chose from his people seventy men for Our appointment, and when they were seized by trembling, he prayed, ‘My Lord, if You had chosen to do so, You could have destroyed them long before this, and me too, so will You now destroy us for what the foolish among us have done? This is only a trial from You— through it, You cause whoever You will to stray and guide whoever You will—and You are our Protector, so forgive us and have mercy on us. You are the best of those who forgive. 156Grant us good things in this world and in the life to come. We turn to You.’ God said, ‘I bring My punishment on whoever I will, but My mercy encompasses all things.

‘I shall ordain My mercy for those who are conscious of God and pay the prescribed alms; who believe in Our Revelations; 157who follow the Messenger—the unlettereda Ummi can mean ‘unlettered’ or ‘gentile’. prophet they find described in the Torah that is with them, and in the Gospel—who commands them to do right and forbids them to do wrong, who makes good things lawful to them and bad things unlawful, and relieves them of their burdens, and the iron collarsb Cf. 6: 146. This reference is said by interpreters to refer to the difficult obligations imposed on the Children of Israel. that were on them. So it is those who believe him, honour and help him, and who follow the light which has been sent down with him, who will succeed.’ 158Say [Muhammad], ‘People, I am the Messenger of God to you all, from Him who has control over the heavens and the earth. There is no God but Him; He gives life and death, so believe in God and His Messenger, the unlettered prophet who believes in God and His words, and follow him so that you may find guidance.’

159There is a group among the people of Moses who guide with truth, and who act justly according to it. 160We divided them into twelve tribes [as distinct] communities, and, when his people asked him for water, inspired Moses to strike the rock with his staff [so that] twelve springs gushed out. Each tribe knew its own drinking place; We gave them the shade of clouds and sent down to them manna and quails [saying], ‘Eat the good things We have provided for you.’ They did not wrong Us; it was themselves they wronged. 161When they were told, ‘Enter this town and eat freely there as you will, but say, “Relieve us!” and enter its gate humbly: then We shall forgive you your sins, and increase the reward of those who do good,’ 162the wrongdoers among them substituted another saying for that which had been given them, so We sent them a punishment from heaven for their wrongdoing.

Notes:

a Ummi can mean ‘unlettered’ or ‘gentile’.

b Cf. 6: 146. This reference is said by interpreters to refer to the difficult obligations imposed on the Children of Israel.

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