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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

4. Women (97 – 126)

97When the angels take the souls of those who have wronged themselves,a By living in a place where they are unable to practise their religion. they ask them, ‘What circumstances were you in?’ They reply, ‘We were oppressed in this land,’ and the angels say, ‘But was God's earth not spacious enough for you to migrate to some other place?’ These people will have Hell as their refuge, an evil destination, 98but not so the truly helpless men, women, and children who have no means in their power nor any way to leave— 99God may well pardon these, for He is most pardoning and most forgiving. Anyone who migrates for God's cause will find many a refuge and great plenty in the earth, 100and if anyone leaves home as a migrant towards God and His Messenger and is then overtaken by death, his reward from God is sure. God is most forgiving and most merciful.

101When you [believers] are travelling in the land, you will not be blamed for shortening your prayers, if you fear the disbelievers may harm you: they are your sworn enemies. 102When you [Prophet] are with the believers, leading them in prayer, let a group of them stand up in prayer with you, taking their weapons with them, and when they have finished their prostration, let them take up their positions at the back. Then let the other group, who have not yet prayed, pray with you, also on their guard and armed with their weapons: the disbelievers would dearly like you to be heedless of your weapons and baggage, in order for them to take you in a single assault. You will not be blamed if you lay aside your arms when you are overtaken by heavy rain or illness, but be on your guard. Indeed, God has prepared a humiliating punishment for the disbelievers. 103After performing the ritual prayer, continue to remember God—standing, sitting, and lying on your sides—and once you are safe, keep up regular prayer, for prayer is obligatory for the believers at prescribed times. 104Do not be faint-hearted in pursuing the enemy: if you are suffering hardship, so are they, but you hope to receive something from God for which they cannot hope. God is all knowing and wise.

105We have sent down the Scripture to you [Prophet] with the truth so that you can judge between people in accordance with what God has shown you. Do not be an advocate for those who betray trust.a A man from Medina stole a suit of armour and accused a Jew of doing it. He brought his family to ask the Prophet to rule against the Jew and he was about to do this when these verses were revealed (Razi). 106Ask God for forgiveness: He is most forgiving and merciful. 107Do not argue for those who betray their own souls: God does not love anyone given to treachery and sin. 108They try to hide themselves from people, but they cannot hide from God. He is with them when they plot at night, saying things that do not please Him: He is fully aware of everything they do. 109There you [believers] are, arguing on their behalf in this life, but who will argue on their behalf with God on the Day of Resurrection? Who will be their defender? 110Yet anyone who does evil or wrongs his own soul and then asks God for forgiveness will find Him most forgiving and merciful. 111He who commits sin does so against his own soul—God is all knowing and wise—112and anyone who commits an offence or a sin, and then throws the blame on to some innocent person, has burdened himself with deceit as well as flagrant sin.

113If it were not for the grace of God and His mercy to you [Prophet], a party of them would have tried to lead you astray; they only lead themselves astray, and cannot harm you in any way, since God has sent down the Scripture and Wisdom to you, and taught you what you did not know. God's bounty to you is great indeed. 114There is no good in most of their secret talk, only in commanding charity, or good, or reconciliation between people. To anyone who does these things, seeking to please God, We shall give a rich reward; 115if anyone opposes the Messenger, after guidance has been made clear to him, and follows a path other than that of the believers, We shall leave him on his chosen path—We shall burn him in Hell, an evil destination.

116God does not forgive the worship of others beside Him— though He does forgive whoever He will for lesser sins—for who ever does this has gone far, far astray. 117In His place the idolaters invoke only females,a See also 53: 19–20. and Satan, the rebel 118God rejected, who said, ‘I will certainly take my due share of Your servants; 119I will mislead them and incite vain desires in them; I will command them to slit the ears of cattle;b An example of pagan superstitious practices: they used to dedicate cattle to their gods by slitting their ears. I will command them to tamper with God's creation.’ Whoever chooses Satan as a patron instead of God is utterly ruined: 120he makes them promises and raises false hopes, but Satan's promises are nothing but delusion. 121Such people will have Hell for their home and will find no escape from it, 122but We shall admit those who believe and do good deeds into Gardens graced with flowing streams, there to remain for ever—a true promise from God. Who speaks more truly than God? 123It will not be according to your hopes or those of the People of the Book: anyone who does wrong will be requited for it and will find no one to protect or help him against God; 124anyone, male or female, who does good deeds and is a believer, will enter Paradise and will not be wronged by as much as the dip in a date stone. 125Who could be better in religion than those who direct themselves wholly to God, do good, and follow the religion of Abraham, who was true in faith? God took Abraham as a friend. 126It is to God that everything in the heavens and earth belongs: God is fully aware of all things.

Notes:

a By living in a place where they are unable to practise their religion.

a A man from Medina stole a suit of armour and accused a Jew of doing it. He brought his family to ask the Prophet to rule against the Jew and he was about to do this when these verses were revealed (Razi).

a See also 53: 19–20.

b An example of pagan superstitious practices: they used to dedicate cattle to their gods by slitting their ears.

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