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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

33. The Joint Forces (36 – 58)

36When God and His Messenger have decided on a matter that concerns them, it is not fitting for any believing man or woman to claim freedom of choice in that matter: whoever disobeys God and His Messenger is far astray. 37When you [Prophet] said to the man who had been favoured by God and by you, ‘Keep your wife and be mindful of God,’ you hid in your heart what God would later reveal: you were afraid of people, but it is more fitting that you fear God. When Zayd no longer wanted her,a The Prophet married Zayd, his adopted son, to Zaynab, his own cousin. Zayd later divorced her and the Prophet took her as his own wife. This sura shows the marriage to be lawful since adoption does not create blood relations that preclude marriage. We gave her to you in marriage so that there might be no fault in believers marrying the wives of their adopted sons after they no longer wanted them. God's command must be carried out: 38the Prophet is not at fault for what God has ordained for him. This was God's practice with those who went before—God's command must be fulfilled—39[and with all] those who deliver God's messages and fear only Him and no other: God's reckoning is enough. 40Muhammad is not the father of any one of you men; he is God's Messenger and the seal of the prophets: God knows everything. 41Believers, remember God often 42and glorify Him morning and evening: 43it is He who blesses you, as do His angels, in order to lead you out of the depths of darkness into the light. He is ever merciful towards the believers—44when they meet Him they will be greeted with ‘Peace’—and He has prepared a generous reward for them.

45Prophet, We have sent you as a witness, as a bearer of good news and warning, 46as one who calls people to God by His leave, as a light-giving lamp. 47Give the believers the good news that great bounty awaits them from God. 48Do not give in to the disbelievers and the hypocrites: ignore the harm they cause you and put your trust in God. God is enough to trust.

49Believers, you have no right to expect a waiting period when you marry believing women and then divorce them before you have touched them: make provision for them and release them in an honourable way. 50Prophet, We have made lawful for you the wives whose bride gift you have paid, and any slaves God has assigned to you through war, and the daughters of your uncles and aunts on your father's and mother's sides, who migrated with you. Also any believing woman who has offered herself to the Prophet and whom the Prophet wishes to wed—this is only for you [Prophet] and not the rest of the believers: We know exactly what We have made obligatory for them concerning their wives and slave-girls—so you should not be blamed: God is most forgiving, most merciful. 51You may make any of [your women] wait and receive any of them as you wish, but you will not be at fault if you invite one whose turn you have previously set aside: this way it is more likely that they will be satisfied and will not be distressed and will all be content with what you have given them. God knows what is in your hearts: God is all knowing, forbearing. 52You [Prophet] are not permitted to take any further wives, nor to exchange the wives you have for others, even if these attract you with their beauty. But this does not apply to your slave-girls: God is watchful over all.

53Believers, do not enter the Prophet's apartments for a meal unless you are given permission to do so; do not linger until [a meal] is ready. When you are invited, go in; then, when you have taken your meal, leave. Do not stay on and talk, for that would offend the Prophet, though he would shrink from asking you to leave. God does not shrink from the truth. When you ask his wives for something, do so from behind a screen: this is purer both for your hearts and for theirs. It is not right for you to offend God's Messenger, just as you should never marry his wives after him: that would be grievous in God's eyes. 54God has full knowledge of all things, whether you reveal them or not. 55The Prophet's wives are not to blame [if they are seen by] their fathers, their sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, or their slaves. [Wives of the Prophet], be mindful of God. God observes everything. 56God and His angels bless the Prophet—so, you who believe, bless him too and give him greetings of peace. 57Those who insult God and His Messenger will be rejected by God in this world and the next—He has prepared a humiliating torment for them—58and those who undeservedly insult believing men and women will bear the guilt of slander and flagrant sin.

Notes:

a The Prophet married Zayd, his adopted son, to Zaynab, his own cousin. Zayd later divorced her and the Prophet took her as his own wife. This sura shows the marriage to be lawful since adoption does not create blood relations that preclude marriage.

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