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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

34. Sheba (15 – 39)

15There was a sign for the people of Sheba, too, in their dwelling place: two gardens, one on the right, one on the left: ‘Eat from what your Lord has provided for you and give Him thanks, for your land is good, and your Lord most forgiving.’ 16But they paid no heed, so We let loose on them a flood from the dam and replaced their two gardens with others that yielded bitter fruit, tamarisk bushes, and a few lote trees.b Lote tree: a thorny tree, also known as Christ-thorn, with edible fruit. 17In this way We punished them for their ingratitude— would We punish anyone but the ungrateful? 18Also, We had placed, between them and the towns We had blessed, other towns within sight of one another to which they could travel easily—‘Travel safely in this land by night and by day’—19but [still] they complained, ‘Our Lord has made the distance between our staging posts so long!’c For this reading see A. H. Omar and A. S. Makram, Mu’jam al-Qira’at al-Qurʾaniyya (Tehran, 1999), under this verse reference. This seems to make better sense than the other reading ‘Lord, make our journeys further apart’. They wronged themselves and, in the end, We made their fate a byword, and scattered them in countless fragments. There truly are signs in this for every patient, thankful person. 20Satan was proved right in his opinion of them, for they all followed him—except for a group of believers—21even though he had no authority over them. But [We aim] to distinguish those who believe in the life to come from those who doubt it: [Prophet], your Lord observes everything.

22Say, ‘Pray to your so-called gods besides God: they do not control even the weight of a speck of dust in heaven or earth, nor do they have any share in them, nor are any of them any help to God.23Intercession will not work with Him, except by those to whom He gives permission.’ They will be asked, after the terror is lifted from their hearts [on the Day of Judgement], ‘What did your Lord speak?’ and they will answer, ‘The Truth. He is the Most High, the Most Great.’ 24Say [Prophet], ‘Who gives you sustenance from the heavens and earth?’ Say, ‘God does,’ and ‘[One party of us] must be rightly guided and the other clearly astray.’ 25Say, ‘You will not be questioned about our sins, nor will we be questioned about what you do.’ 26Say, ‘Our Lord will gather us together, then He will judge justly between us; He alone is the All Knowing Judge.’ 27Say, ‘Show me those you joined to Him as partners. No indeed! He alone is God, the Almighty, the All Wise.’ 28We have sent you [Prophet] only to bring good news and warning to all people, but most of them do not understand. 29And they say, ‘If what you say is true, when will this promise be fulfilled?’ 30Say, ‘You have an appointment for a Day which you cannot put off nor bring forward, even by a single moment.’a Not ‘an hour’ (al-Mu’jam al-Wasit).

31The disbelievers say, ‘We will believe neither this Qurʾan nor the Scriptures that came before it.’ If only you could see [Prophet] how the wrongdoers will be made to stand before their Lord, hurling reproaches at one another. Those who were oppressed will say to the oppressors, ‘If it were not for you, we would have been believers.’ 32The oppressors will say to them, ‘Was it we who prevented you from following right guidance after it had reached you? No! You yourselves were sinners.’ 33The oppressed will say to them, ‘No, it was your scheming, night and day, ordering us to disbelieve in God and set up rivals to Him.’ When they see the punishment, they will fall silent with regret, and We shall put iron collars on the disbelievers’ necks. Why should they be rewarded for anything other than what they have done? 34Never have We sent a warner to a community without those among them who were corrupted by wealth saying, ‘We do not believe in the message you have been sent with.’35They would say, ‘We have greater wealth and more children than you, and we shall not be punished.’ 36Say [Prophet], ‘My Lord gives in abundance to whoever He will and sparingly to whoever He will, though most people do not understand. 37Neither wealth nor children will bring you nearer to Us, but those who believe and do good deeds will have multiple rewards for what they have done, and will live safely in the lofty dwellings of Paradise,38whereas those who work against Our messages, seeking to undermine them, will be summoned to punishment.’ 39Say, ‘My Lord gives in abundance to whichever of His servants He will, and sparingly to whichever He will; He will replace whatever you give in alms; He is the best of providers.’

Notes:

b Lote tree: a thorny tree, also known as Christ-thorn, with edible fruit.

c For this reading see A. H. Omar and A. S. Makram, Mu’jam al-Qira’at al-Qurʾaniyya (Tehran, 1999), under this verse reference. This seems to make better sense than the other reading ‘Lord, make our journeys further apart’.

a Not ‘an hour’ (al-Mu’jam al-Wasit).

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