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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 Koran Interpreted Translation by A.J. Arberry

13 THUNDER (9 – 32)

The Qurʾan Translation by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem

13. Thunder (8 – 31)

God knows what every female bears, and the wombs’ shrinking and swelling; everything with Him has its measure— 10the Knower of the unseen and the visible, the All-great, the All-exalted. Alike of you is he who conceals his saying, and he who proclaims it, he who hides himself in the night, and he who sallies by day; he has attendant angels, before him and behind him, watching over him by God's command. God changes not what is in a people, until they change what is in themselves. Whensoever God desires evil for a people, there is no turning it back; apart from Him, they have no protector.

It is He who shows you the lightning, for fear and hope, and produces the heavy clouds; the thunder proclaims His praise, and the angels, in awe of Him. He looses the thunderbolts, and smites with them whomsoever He will; yet they dispute about God, who is mighty in power. To Him is the call of truth; and those upon whom they call, apart from Him, answer them nothing, but it is as a man who stretches out his hands to water that it may reach his mouth, and it reaches it not. The prayer of the unbelievers goes only astray. 15To God bow all who are in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly, as do their shadows also in the mornings and the evenings.

Say: ‘Who is the Lord of the heavens and of the earth?’ Say: ‘God.’ Say: ‘Then have you taken unto you others beside Him to be your protectors, even such as have no power to profit or hurt themselves?’ Say: ‘Are the blind and the seeing man equal, or are the shadows and the light equal? Or have they ascribed to God associates who created as He created, so that creation is all alike to them?’ Say: ‘God is the Creator of everything, and He is the One, the Omnipotent.’

He sends down out of heaven water, and the wadis flow each in its measure, and the torrent carries a swelling scum; and out of that over which they kindle fire, being desirous of ornament or ware, out of that rises a scum the like of it. So God strikes both the true and the false. As for the scum, it vanishes as jetsam, and what profits men abides in the earth. Even so God strikes His similitudes. For those who answer their Lord, the reward most fair; and those who answer Him not— if they possessed all that is in the earth, and the like of it with it, they would offer it for their ransom. Those— theirs shall be the evil reckoning, and their refuge shall be Gehenna— an evil cradling!

What, is he who knows what is sent down to thee from thy Lord is the truth, like him who is blind? Only men possessed of minds remember; 20who fulfil God's covenant, and break not the compact, who join what God has commanded shall be joined, and fear their Lord, and dread the evil reckoning, patient men, desirous of the Face of their Lord, who perform the prayer, and expend of that We have provided them, secretly and in public, and who avert evil with good—theirs shall be the Ultimate Abode, Gardens of Eden which they shall enter; 25and those who were righteous of their fathers, and their wives, and their seed, shall enter them, and the angels shall enter unto them from every gate: ‘Peace be upon you, for that you were patient.’ Fair is the Ultimate Abode. And those who break the covenant of God after His compact, and who snap what God has commanded to be joined, and who work corruption in the earth—theirs shall be the curse, and theirs the Evil Abode. God outspreads and straitens His provision unto whomsoever He will. They rejoice in this present life; and this present life, beside the world to come, is naught but passing enjoyment.

The unbelievers say, ‘Why has a sign not been sent down upon him from his Lord?’ Say: ‘God leads astray whomsoever He will, and He guides to Him all who are penitent.’ Those who believe, their hearts being at rest in God's remembrance—in God's remembrance are at rest the hearts of those who believe and do righteous deeds; theirs is blessedness and a fair resort.

Thus We have sent thee among a nation before which other nations have passed away, to recite to them that We have revealed to thee; and yet they disbelieve in the All-merciful. Say: ‘He is my Lord— there is no god but He. In Him I have put my trust, and to Him I turn.’ 30If only a Koran whereby the mountains were set in motion, or the earth were cleft, or the dead were spoken to—nay, but God's is the affair altogether. Did not the believers know that, if God had willed, He would have guided men all together? And still the unbelievers are smitten by a shattering for what they wrought, or it alights nigh their habitation, until God's promise comes; and God will not fail the tryst. Messengers indeed were scoffed at before thee, and I respited the unbelievers; then I seized them—and how was my retribution?

8God knows what every female bears and how much their wombs shrink or swell—everything has its measure with Him; 9He knows what is not seen as well as what is seen; He is the Great, the Most High. 10It makes no difference whether any of you speak secretly or aloud, whether you are hiding under cover of night or walking about in the day: 11each person has guardian angels before him and behind, watching over him by God's command. God does not change the condition of a people [for the worse]a Cf. 8: 53; 16: 112. unless they change what is in themselves, but if He wills harm on a people, no one can ward it off— apart from Him, they have no protector.

12It is He who shows you the lightning, inspiring fear and hope; He builds up the clouds heavy with rain; 13the thunder sounds His praises, as do the angels in awe of Him; He sends thunderbolts to strike whoever He will. Yet still they dispute about God—He has mighty plans. 14The only true prayer is to Him: those they pray to besides Him give them no answer any more than water reaches the mouth of someone who simply stretches out his hands for it—it cannot do so: the prayers of the disbelievers are all in vain. 15All that are in heaven and earth submitb Or ‘prostrate’: shadows submit to God's laws in nature and also stretch out on the ground as if prostrating. Sajada has both meanings. to God alone, willingly or unwillingly, as do their shadows in the mornings and in the evenings.

16Say [Prophet], ‘Who is Lord of the heavens and the earth?’ Say, ‘God.’ Say, ‘Why do you take protectors other than Him, who can neither benefit nor harm even themselves?’ Say, ‘Are the blind equal to those who can see? And are the depths of darkness equal to the light?’ Have the partners they assign to God created anything like His creation so that their creation is indistinguishable from His? Say, ‘God is the Creator of all things: He is the One, the All Compelling.’ 17He sends water from the sky that fills riverbeds to overflowing, each according to its measure. The stream carries on its surface a growing layer of froth, like the froth that appears when people melt metals in the fire to make ornaments and tools: in this way God illustrates truth and falsehood—the froth disappears, but what is of benefit to man stays behind—this is how God makes illustrations. 18There will be the best of rewards for those who respond to their Lord; those who do not respond would willingly give away the earth's contents twice over, if they had it, in order to ransom themselves, so terrible will be their reckoning. Hell will be their home, and their bed wretched.

19Can someone who knows that the revelation from your Lord is the Truth be equal to someone who is blind? Only those with understanding will take it to heart; 20those who fulfil the agreements they make in God's name and do not break their pledges; 21who join together what God commands to be joined; who are in awe of their Lord and fear the harshness of the Reckoning; 22who remain steadfast through their desire for the face of their Lord; who keep up the prayer; who give secretly and openly from what We have provided for them; who repel evil with good. These will have the reward of the [true] home: 23they will enter perpetual Gardens, along with their righteous ancestors, spouses, and descendants; the angels will go in to them from every gate, 24’Peace be with you, because you have remained steadfast. What an excellent reward is this home of yours!’ 25But there will be rejection for those who break their confirmed agreements made in God's name, who break apart what God has commanded to be joined and who spread corruption on earth: theirs is the dreadful home—26God gives abundantly to whoever He will, and sparingly to whoever He will—and though they may revel in the life of this world, it is but a fleeting comfort compared with the Life to come.

27The disbelievers say, ‘Why has no miracle been sent down to him from his Lord?’ [Prophet], say, ‘God leaves whoever He will to stray, and guides to Himself those who turn towards Him, 28those who have faith and whose hearts find peace in the remembrance of God—truly it is in the remembrance of God that hearts find peace—29those who believe and do righteous deeds: joy awaits these, and their final homecoming will be excellent.’ 30So We have sent you [Prophet] to a community—other communities passed away long before them—to recite to them what We reveal to you. Yet they disbelieve in the Lord of Mercy. Say, ‘He is my Lord: there is no god but Him. I put my trust in Him and to Him is my return.’ 31If there were ever to be a Qurʾan with which mountains could be moved, the earth shattered, or the dead made to speak [it would have been this one],a Or ‘[they still would not believe]’. but everything is truly in God's hands. Do the believers not realize that if God had so willed, He could have guided all mankind? As for the disbelievers, because of their misdeeds, disaster will not cease to afflict them or fall close to their homes until God's promise is fulfilled: God never fails to keep His promise.

Notes:

a Cf. 8: 53; 16: 112.

b Or ‘prostrate’: shadows submit to God's laws in nature and also stretch out on the ground as if prostrating. Sajada has both meanings.

a Or ‘[they still would not believe]’.

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