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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

3. The Family of 'Imran (121 – 143)

121[Prophet], remember when you left your home at dawn to assign battle positions to the believers: God hears and knows everything. 122Remember when two groups of you were about to lose heart and God protected them—let the believers put their trust in God— 123God helped you at Badr when you were very weak. Be mindful of God, so that you may be grateful. 124Remember when you said to the believers, ‘Will you be satisfied if your Lord reinforces you by sending down three thousand angels? 125Well, if you are steadfast and mindful of God, your Lord will reinforce you with five thousand swooping angels if the enemy should suddenly attack you!’ and God arranged it so, 126as a message of hope for you [believers] to put your hearts at rest—help comes only from God, the Mighty, the Wise— 127and in order to cut off the flanks of the disbelievers’ army and frustrate them, to make them withdraw in total defeat. 128Whether God relents towards them or punishes them is not for you [Prophet] to decide: they are wrongdoers. 129Everything in the heavens and earth belongs to God. He forgives whoever He will and punishes whoever He will: God is most forgiving and merciful.

130You who believe, do not consume usurious interest, doubled and redoubled. Be mindful of God so that you may prosper— 131beware of the Fire prepared for those who ignore [Him]—132and obey God and the Prophet so that you may be given mercy. 133Hurry towards your Lord's forgiveness and a Garden as wide as the heavens and earth prepared for the righteous, 134who give, both in prosperity and adversity, who restrain their anger and pardon people—God loves those who do good—135those who remember God and implore forgiveness for their sins if they do something shameful or wrong themselves—who forgives sins but God?—and who never knowingly persist in doing wrong. 136The reward for such people is forgiveness from their Lord, and Gardens graced with flowing streams, where they will remain. How excellent is the reward of those who labour!

137God's ways have operated before your time: travel through the land, and see what was the end of those who disbelieved. 138This is a clear lesson to people, and guidance and teaching for those who are mindful of God. 139Do not lose heart or despair—if you are true believers you have the upper hand—140if you have suffered a blow, they too have suffered one like it.a This part of the sura refers to the Battle of Uhud, where the Muslims were defeated, having disobeyed the Prophet's orders. We deal out such days among people in turn, for God to find out who truly believes, for Him to choose martyrsb The noun shahid is much more complex than the term ‘martyr’ chosen to render it in this context. The root sh-h-d conveys ‘to witness, to be present, to attend’, but also ‘to testify’ or ‘to give evidence’. Thus the ‘martyrs’ here are chosen by God to witness Him in heaven, are given the opportunity to give evidence of the depth of their faith by sacrificing their worldly lives, and will testify with the prophets on the Day of Judgement. from among you—God does not love evildoers— 141for Him to cleanse those who believe and for Him to destroy the disbelievers. 142Did you think you would enter the Garden without God first proving which of you would struggle for His cause and remain steadfast? 143Before you encountered death, you were hoping for it. Well, now you have seen it with your own eyes.

Notes:

a This part of the sura refers to the Battle of Uhud, where the Muslims were defeated, having disobeyed the Prophet's orders.

b The noun shahid is much more complex than the term ‘martyr’ chosen to render it in this context. The root sh-h-d conveys ‘to witness, to be present, to attend’, but also ‘to testify’ or ‘to give evidence’. Thus the ‘martyrs’ here are chosen by God to witness Him in heaven, are given the opportunity to give evidence of the depth of their faith by sacrificing their worldly lives, and will testify with the prophets on the Day of Judgement.

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