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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 (163 – 186)

163Your God is the one God: there is no god except Him, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy. 164In the creation of the heavens and earth; in the alternation of night and day; in the ships that sail the seas with goods for people; in the water which God sends down from the sky to give life to the earth when it has been barren, scattering all kinds of creatures over it; in the changing of the winds and clouds that run their appointed courses between the sky and earth: there are signs in all these for those who use their minds. 165Even so, there are some who choose to worship others besides God as rivals to Him, loving them with the love due to God, but the believers have greater love for God. If only the idolaters could see—as they will see when they face the torment—that all power belongs to God, and that God punishes severely. 166When those who have been followed disown their followers, when they all see the suffering, when all bonds between them are severed,167the followers will say, ‘If only we had one last chance, we would disown them as they now disown us.’ In this way, God will make them see their deeds as a source of bitter regret: they shall not leave the Fire.

168People, eat what is good and lawful from the earth, and do not follow Satan's footsteps, for he is your sworn enemy. 169He always commands you to do what is evil and indecent, and to say things about God that you do not really know.a See 6: 138, 145. 170But when it is said to them, ‘Follow the message that God has sent down,’ they answer, ‘We follow the ways of our fathers.’ What! Even though their fathers understood nothing and were not guided? 171Calling to disbelieversb It is also possible to interpret this as referring to the disbelievers calling on their idols, who cannot respond. is like a herdsman calling to things that hear nothing but a shout and a cry: they are deaf, dumb, and blind, and they understand nothing. 172You who believe, eat the good things We have provided for you and be grateful to God, if it is Him that you worship. 173He has only forbidden you carrion, blood, pig's meat, and animals over which any name other than God's has been invoked. But if anyone is forced to eat such things by hunger, rather than desire or excess, he commits no sin: God is most merciful and forgiving.

174As for those who conceal the Scripture that God sent down and sell it for a small price, they only fill their bellies with Fire. God will not speak to them on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He purify them: an agonizing torment awaits them. 175These are the ones who exchange guidance for error, and forgiveness for torment. What can make them patient in the face of the Fire? 176This is because God has sent the Scripture with the Truth; those who pursue differences in the Scripture are deeply entrenched in opposition.

177Goodness does not consist in turning your face towards East or West. The truly good are those who believe in God and the Last Day, in the angels, the Scripture, and the prophets; who give away some of their wealth, however much they cherish it, to their relatives, to orphans, the needy, travellers and beggars, and to liberate those in bondage; those who keep up the prayer and pay the prescribed alms; who keep pledges whenever they make them; who are steadfast in misfortune, adversity, and times of danger. These are the ones who are true, and it is they who are aware of God.

178You who believe, fair retributiona qisas etymologically means ‘to track down’. is prescribed for you in cases of murder: the free man for the free man, the slave for the slave, the female for the female.b Before Islam, the Arabs did not observe equality in retribution, but a stronger tribe would demand more, e.g. a man for a woman, a free man for a slave, or several men for one man, likewise for financial compensation. The intention of this verse is to insist on equality. But if the culprit is pardoned by his aggrieved brother, this shall be adhered to fairly, and the culprit shall pay what is due in a good way. This is an alleviation from your Lord and an act of mercy. If anyone then exceeds these limits, grievous suffering awaits him. 179Fair retribution saves life for you, people of understanding, so that you may guard yourselves against what is wrong.

When death approaches one of you who leaves wealth, 180it is prescribed that he should make a proper bequest to parents and close relatives—a duty incumbent on those who are mindful of God. 181If anyone alters the bequest after hearing it, the guilt of the alteration will fall on them: God is all hearing and all knowing. 182But if anyone knows c One meaning of khafa is ‘to know’ (al-Mu‘jam al-Wasit). that the testator has made a mistake, or done wrong, and so puts things right between the parties, he will incur no sin: God is most forgiving and merciful.

183You who believe, fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may be mindful of God. 184Fast for a specific number of days, but if one of you is ill, or on a journey, on other days later. For those who can fast only with extreme difficulty, there is a way to compensate—feed a needy person. But if anyone does good of his own accord, it is better for him, and fasting is better for you, if only you knew. 185It was in the month of Ramadan that the Qurʾan was revealed as guidance for mankind, clear messages giving guidance and distinguishing between right and wrong. So any one of you who is present that month should fast, and anyone who is ill or on a journey should make up for the lost days by fasting on other days later. God wants ease for you, not hardship. He wants you to complete the prescribed period and to glorify Him for having guided you, so that you may be thankful. 186[Prophet], if My servants ask you about Me, I am near. I respond to those who call Me, so let them respond to Me, and believe in Me, so that they may be guided.

Notes:

a See 6: 138, 145.

b It is also possible to interpret this as referring to the disbelievers calling on their idols, who cannot respond.

a qisas etymologically means ‘to track down’.

b Before Islam, the Arabs did not observe equality in retribution, but a stronger tribe would demand more, e.g. a man for a woman, a free man for a slave, or several men for one man, likewise for financial compensation. The intention of this verse is to insist on equality.

c One meaning of khafa is ‘to know’ (al-Mu‘jam al-Wasit).

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