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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

54. The Moon (1 – 22)

A Meccan sura dealing mainly with the punishment dealt out to previous generations of disbelievers. These are presented as a warning to the disbelievers of Mecca, with the refrain ‘Will anyone take heed?’ running throughout the sura. Finally the treatment of the disbelievers on the Day of Judgement is contrasted to the everlasting bliss the believers will enjoy. The title is taken from verse 1 and is a reference to the Day of Resurrection.

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

1The Hour draws near; the moon is split in two.a One of the signs of the Day of Judgement. The Arabic uses the past tense, as if that Day were already here, to help the reader/listener imagine how it will be. Some traditional commentators hold the view that this describes an actual event at the time of the Prophet, but it clearly refers to the end of the world: cf. the same expression with reference to the sky, 55: 37; 84: 1.

2Whenever the disbelievers see a sign, they turn away and say, ‘Same old sorcery!’ 3They reject the truth and follow their own desires —everything is recordedb Literally ‘fixed’ in the divine records.4although warning tales that should have restrained them have come down to them —5far-reaching wisdom —but these warnings do not help: 6so [Prophet] turn away from them. On the Day the Summoner will summon them to a horrific event, 7eyes downcast, they will come out of their graves like swarming locusts 8rushing towards the Summoner. The disbelievers will cry, ‘This is a stern day!’

9The people of Noah rejected the truth before them: they rejected Our servant, saying, ‘He is mad!’ Noah was rebuked, 10and so he called upon his Lord, ‘I am defeated: help me!’ 11So We opened the gates of the sky with torrential water, 12burst the earth with gushing springs: the waters met for a preordained purpose.13We carried him along on a vessel of planks and nails 14that floated under Our watchful eye, a reward for the one who had been rejected. 15We have left thisc ‘This tale’ or ‘this ship’. as a sign: will anyone take heed? 16How [terrible] was My punishment and [the fulfilment of] My warnings! 17 We have made it easy to learn lessons from the Qurʾan: will anyone take heed? 18The people of ‘Ad also rejected the truth. How [terrible] was My punishment and [the fulfilment of] My warnings! 19We released a howling wind against them on a day of terrible disaster; 20it swept people away like uprooted palm trunks. 21How [terrible] was My punishment and [the fulfilment of] My warnings!22We have made it easy to learn lessons from the Qurʾan: will anyone take heed?

Notes:

a One of the signs of the Day of Judgement. The Arabic uses the past tense, as if that Day were already here, to help the reader/listener imagine how it will be. Some traditional commentators hold the view that this describes an actual event at the time of the Prophet, but it clearly refers to the end of the world: cf. the same expression with reference to the sky, 55: 37; 84: 1.

b Literally ‘fixed’ in the divine records.

c ‘This tale’ or ‘this ship’.

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