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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

2. The Cow (104 – 126)

104Believers, do not say [to the Prophet], ‘Ra‘ina,’ but say, ‘Unzurna,’a The word ra‘ina can be used politely as an expression for ‘look at us’. However, a group of Jews in Medina hostile to Muhammad subtly changed its pronunciation to imply ‘you are foolish’ or ‘you herd our sheep’ in order to abuse the Prophet. So the believers are advised to avoid the word and use unzurna, also meaning ‘look at us’, instead. See 4: 46. and listen [to him]: an agonizing torment awaits those who ignore [God's words]. 105Neither those People of the Book who disbelieve nor the idolaters would like anything good to be sent down to you from your Lord, but God chooses for His grace whoever He will: His bounty has no limits. 106Any revelation We cause to be superseded or forgotten, We replace with something better or similar. Do you [Prophet] not know that God has power over everything? 107Do you not know that control of the heavens and the earth belongs to Him? You [believers] have no protector or helper but God. 108Do you wish to demand of your messenger something similar to what was demanded of Moses?b See 2: 55 and 4: 153. Whoever exchanges faith for disbelief has strayed far from the right path. 109Even after the truth has become clear to them, many of the People of the Book wish they could turn you back to disbelief after you have believed, out of their selfish envy. Forgive and forbear until God gives his command: He has power over all things. 110Keep up the prayer and pay the prescribed alms. Whatever good you store up for yourselves, you will find it with God: He sees everything you do.

111They also say, ‘No one will enter Paradise unless he is a Jew or a Christian.’ This is their own wishful thinking. [Prophet], say, ‘Produce your evidence, if you are telling the truth.’ 112In fact, any who direct themselvesc Literally ‘their faces’. One meaning of wajh (face) is ‘direction’ and the basic meaning of aslama is ‘devote’. See note to 2: 128. wholly to God and do good will have their reward with their Lord: no fear for them, nor will they grieve. 113The Jews say, ‘The Christians have no ground whatsoever to stand on,’ and the Christians say, ‘The Jews have no ground whatsoever to stand on,’ though they both read the Scripture, and those who have no knowledge say the same; God will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning their differences.

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.’

Notes:

a The word ra‘ina can be used politely as an expression for ‘look at us’. However, a group of Jews in Medina hostile to Muhammad subtly changed its pronunciation to imply ‘you are foolish’ or ‘you herd our sheep’ in order to abuse the Prophet. So the believers are advised to avoid the word and use unzurna, also meaning ‘look at us’, instead. See 4: 46.

b See 2: 55 and 4: 153.

c Literally ‘their faces’. One meaning of wajh (face) is ‘direction’ and the basic meaning of aslama is ‘devote’. See note to 2: 128.

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.

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