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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

24. Light (32 – 54)

32Marry offb There is another reading that translates as ‘marry’. the single among you and those of your male and female slaves who are fit [for marriage].c Or ‘righteous’. If they are poor, God will provide for them from His bounty: God's bounty is infinite and He is all knowing. 33Those who are unable to marry should keep chaste until God gives them enough out of His bounty. If any of your slaves wish to pay for their freedom, make a contract with them accordingly, if you know they have good in them, and give them some of the wealth God has given you. Do not force your slave-girls into prostitution, when they themselves wish to remain honourable, in your quest for the short-term gains of this world, although, if they are forced, God will be forgiving and merciful to them.

34We have sent verses down to you [people] clarifying the rightpath, examples of those who passed away before you, and advice for those who are mindful of God.

35God is the Light of the heavens and earth. His Light is like this: there is a niche, and in it a lamp, the lamp inside a glass, a glass like a glittering star, fuelled from a blessed olive tree from neither east nor west, whose oil almost gives light even when no fire touches it— light upon light —God guides whoever He will to his Light; God draws such comparisons for people; God has full knowledge of everything —36shining out in houses of worship. God has ordained that they be raised high and that His name be remembered in them, with men in them celebrating His glory morning and evening: 37men who are not distracted,a Cf. 62: 11, which makes reference to worshippers who are distracted by trade. either by commerce or profit, from remembering God, keeping up the prayer, and paying the prescribed alms, fearing a day when hearts and eyes will turn over. 38God will reward such people according to the best of their actions, and He will give them more of His bounty: God provides limitlessly for anyone He will.

39But the deeds of those who disbelieve are like a mirage in a desert: the thirsty person thinks there will be water but, when he gets there, he finds only God, who pays him his account in full— God is swift in reckoning.40Or like shadows in a deep sea covered by wave upon wave, with clouds above— layer upon layer of darkness— if he holds out his hand, he is scarcely able to see it. The one to whom God gives no light has no light at all.

41[Prophet], do you not see that all those who are in the heavens and earth praise God, as do the birds with wings outstretched? Each knows its [own way] of prayer and glorification: God has full knowledge of what they do. 42Control of the heavens and earth belongs to God: and to God is the final return. 43Do you not see that God drives the clouds, then gathers them together and piles them up until you see rain pour from their midst? He sends hail down from [such] mountains in the sky, pouring it on whoever He wishes and diverting it from whoever He wishes— the flash of its lightning almost snatches sight away. 44God alternates night and day —there truly is a lesson in [all] this for those who have eyes to see— 45and God created each animal out of [its own] fluid:a This ma is not ‘water’, which would have the generic al- (cf. 21: 30), but is for each animal a special, essential fluid, and so each creature is different, as is clear from what follows. some of them crawl on their bellies, some walk on two legs, and some on four. God creates whatever He will; God has power over everything.

46We have sent verses that clarify the right path: God guides whoever He will to a straight path. 47They say, ‘We believe in God and the Messenger; we obey,’ but then some of them turn away: these people are not true believers 48and when they are summoned to God and His Messenger in order for him to judge between them, some of them turn away. 49If they were claiming their right, they would come willingly [to the Prophet]. 50Do they have sickness in their hearts? Are they full of doubts? Do they fear that God and His Messenger might deal with them unjustly? No, it is they who are the unjust ones. 51When the true believers are summoned to God and His Messenger in order for him to judge between them, they say, ‘We hear and we obey.’ These are the ones who will prosper: 52whoever obeys God and His Messenger, stands in awe of God, and keeps his duty to Him will be triumphant. 53[The others] solemnly swear by God that if you [Prophet] commanded them, they would march out. Tell them, ‘Do not swear: it is reasonable obedience that is required, and God is aware of everything you do.’ 54Say, ‘Obey God; obey the Messenger. If you turn away, [know that] he is responsible for the duty placed upon him, and you are responsible for the duty placed upon you. If you obey him, you will be rightly guided, but the Messenger's duty is only to deliver the message clearly.’

Notes:

b There is another reading that translates as ‘marry’.

c Or ‘righteous’.

a Cf. 62: 11, which makes reference to worshippers who are distracted by trade.

a This ma is not ‘water’, which would have the generic al- (cf. 21: 30), but is for each animal a special, essential fluid, and so each creature is different, as is clear from what follows.

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