20120509-Gold Leaf from Quran.jpg
Gold Leaf from Quran
About the same length as the New Testament, the Qur’an is comprised of 114 chapters (“suras” ) made up of 77,934 words, 6,346 verses (“ayat” ) and 6,666 sentences. The chapters vary greatly in length and form. “The Opening” has seven ayat. The longest sura, “The Cow,” has 286 ayat. The shortest sura, 103, 108 and 110, have three ayat each. The Qur’an is relatively short for a religious book. The Bible has almost 800,000 words and thus is more than ten times longer than the Qur’an. Some Buddhist scriptures have dozens of volumes.

With exception of the first sura, the chapters are organized from longest to shortest. The first chapter is a famous short prayer the called the “Fatihah” ; the second is entitled “Sura II — the Cow” . The Qur’an is organized the way it is said because Muhammad's revelations were collected in a haphazard way and thus difficult to arranged in chronological logical order like the Bible. Thus it was decided to place the long chapters at the beginning and short ones at the end. The result is that many of the chronologically early chapters appear towards the end; and the later ones towards the beginning.

Many manuscripts are divided into thirty sections, or juz', of equal length (37.142). In this format, the entire Qur'an can be read over the course of a thirty-day month (usually during the month of Ramadan), with one volume being undertaken each day. Other less common units of division, the manzil and the hizb, divide the text into seven or sixty parts, respectively. The Qur’an is written in Arabic. Arabic has twenty-eight letters of only eighteen distinct forms; dotting above and below these primary forms distinguish between otherwise identical letters. Early Qur'ans often left out these markings (i'jam) as well as short vowels that appear as symbols above and below letters, assuming that the text would be used as a memory aide for recitation by readers who were already familiar with its content. [Source: Maryam Ekhtiar, Julia Cohen, Department of Islamic Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art]

With the exception of the ninth sura which is believed to have once been part of the eighth sura, every chapter begins with “ Bismillah” , an Arabic expression meaning "In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate."

Websites and Resources: Islam ; Islamic City ; Islam 101 ; Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Religious Tolerance ; BBC article ; Patheos Library – Islam ; University of Southern California Compendium of Muslim Texts ; Encyclopædia Britannica article on Islam ; Islam at Project Gutenberg ; Islam from UCB Libraries GovPubs ; Muslims: PBS Frontline documentary frontline ; Discover Islam

folio from an 8th or 9th century Qur'an

Qur’an (Quran, Koran) and Hadith:
Quran translation in English ; Quran in Easy English, Urdu, Arabic and 70 other languages ; ; ; Quranic Arabic Corpus, shows syntax and morphology for each word ; Word for Word English Translation – ; Digitised Qurans in the Cambridge University Digital Library ; ;
Hadith – search by keyword and by narrator

Islamic History: Islamic History Resources ; Internet Islamic History Sourcebook ; Islamic History ; Islamic Civilization ; Muslim Heritage ; Brief history of Islam ; Chronological history of Islam

Islamic Art and Images: Islamic Finder ; Islamology Picture gallery ; Islamic Images ; Islamic Images ; Qur’an Images WikiIslam ; Muslim Women ; Wikipedia article on Islamic Art Wikipedia ; Calligraphy Islamic ; Islamic Art Art History Resources ; Islamic Art Metropolitan Museum of Art ; Islamic Art Louvre Louvre ; Museum without Frontiers ; British Museum

Content of the Qur’an

The Qur’an is not a book of theology. According to religious scholar Geoffrey Parrinder it is a "kind of religious rhetoric to warn, admonish and instruct...The Qur’an consists, not of coherent histories, but of pronouncements addressed to Muhammad or the community at large that respond to problems faced at various times. It lacks unified, exhaustive discussions of laws, beliefs, and so forth: rather it takes u various topic as they arise."

According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art: As the source of Muslim faith and practice, the Qur’an describes the relationship between an almighty and all-knowing God and his creations. The Qur’an also maintains that all individuals are responsible for their actions, for which they will be judged by God, and so it provides guidelines for proper behavior within the framework of a just and equitable society. Because it is through writing that the Qur'an is transmitted, the Arabic script was first transformed and beautified in order that it might be worthy of divine revelation. [Source: Suzan Yalman Department of Education, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Based on original work by Linda Komaroff \^/]

folio from the 7th century Qur'an manuscript

The shorter Meccan suras chapters are towards the end of the Qur’an. They begin with short, staccato oracles in rhymed prose and focus primarily on religious and metaphysical matters like the relationship between man and God, the life of the Prophets, the joys and paradise, the terrors of Hell, God, God’s role in history, Muhammad’s role as Prophet, the Last Judgement and the importance of helping one another.

The longer Medina passages towards the beginning deal are oriented towards the Muslim community and consists of instructions, advise and laws and matters such as marriage, family, legal matters, morality and ethics. There are instructions on how Muslims should conduct their prayers, business affairs, wars and even hygiene, often in great detail. The information is limited and is elaborated in texts like the hadiths that were gathered long after Muhammad’s death.

Language and Order of the Qur’an

The Qur’an is written in a literary form known as “sadj” , or rhymed, unmetered prose. Muslims believe it’s a perfect but partial copy of a book that exists complete in heaven. Passages from Mecca are distinguished from those from Medina in terms of style and contents.

According to the BBC: “There are 114 chapters in the Qur'an, which is written in the old Arabic dialect. All the chapters except one begin with the sentence Bismillahir rahmanir raheem, 'In the name of Allah the most merciful and the most kind'. This is the thought with which Muslims should start every action.The longest chapter of the Qur'an is Surah Baqarah (The Cow) with 286 verses and the shortest is Surah Al-Kawther (abundance) which has 3 verses. [Source: BBC, July 14, 2011 |::|]

“The arrangement of surahs does not correspond to the chronological order in which they were revealed. The Qur'an is sometimes divided into 30 roughly equal parts, known as juz'. These divisions make it easier for Muslims to read the Qur'an during the course of a month and many will read one juz' each day, particularly during the month of Ramadan. |::|

Paul Halsall of Fordham University wrote: “ Although scholars have some idea of the order of the speeches, the standard text is organized in a remarkable way. Divided into chapters, or surahs, after the first - short - surah, each surah is arranged according to length, the longest coming first. Muslims' early education often consists in learning large parts of the Qur'an and so this arrangement presents little difficulty. For new readers it can make the text somwhat confusing. [Source: Internet Islamic History Sourcebook,]

The Qur’an, Torah and Bible

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The Torah
Muslims believe The Old Testament (the Torah to Jews), the Psalms, and the Gospels are perverted fragments of perfect complete book in heaven while the Qur’an is regarded as a segment of the perfect complete book in heaven, with corrections of errors found in the Torah and Bible. According to Sura 3:3: Allah “has reveled the Scripture with truth, confirming what was before it, just as he revealed the Torah and the Gospel.” The Bible, Torah, Psalms, and the Gospel are also sacred to Muslims but not given the same weight and esteem as the Qur’an.

Muhammad reportedly knew of but had not read the Bible or the Torah. Many figures found in the Bible appear in the Qur’an in different form. The Qur’an features the story of Noah and the Ark, Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt and reciting a message from God at Mount Sinai. Jesus is referred to a messiah.

The stories of the Bible and the Qur’an though are often very different. Jesus doesn't die on the cross. He is taken directly to heaven and a phantom takes his place on the cross at Cavalry. The Qur’an, Bible and the Torah all tell the story of the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve but in Qur’an and the Torah their “original sin” is not passed onto mankind and therefore did not need the kind of salvation provided by Jesus’s crucifixion.

The Qur’an describes Abraham building the Kaaba, something not found in the Bible, and almost sacrificed his son Ishmael to God. The Bible says that it was Isaac who was almost sacrificed. In the Qur’an, Mary, Jesus's mother, is identified with Miriam, the sister of Moses, and appears as a goddess who constitutes one person of the Trinity. According to Islam, the whale that swallowed Jonah is one of 10 animals that will go to heaven

Passages from the Qur’an

The Qur’an begins with the “Fatihah:”
“Praise be to God, Lord of the worlds!
The compassionate, the merciful!
King on the Day of reckoning!
Thee only do we worship, and
to thee we cry for help.
Guide Thou us in the straight path.
The path of those to whom Thou
hast been gracious; with
whom thou art not angry,
and who go not astray.”

A quote from sura IV, ayat 135:
“ Oh believers, believe in Allah and His Messenger
and the Book He hath sent down to His Messenger
and the Book He sent down before.
Whose disbelieveth in Allah and His angels and His
Books and His messengers and he day hath
surely gone astray into far error.”

Reverence Shown the Qur’an

The Qur'an is Islam's holiest book. It is considered by Muslims to be the written record of the word of God. Qur'anic revelations are regarded by Muslims as the sacred word of God, intended to correct any errors in previous holy books such as the Old and New Testaments. According to the BBC: "The Qur'an is treated with immense respect by Muslims because it is the sacred word of God. While the Qur'an is recited aloud, Muslims should behave with reverence and refrain from speaking, eating or drinking, or making distracting noise.

Muslims are often called "People of the Book." This is a reference to importance of the Qur’an in Islam and the link that Muslims have with other “People of the Book” — Christians and Jew. “The Book” refers to a heavenly texts from which the Bible and Torah are derived but the Qur’an is the most perfect representation. Muslims believe “The Book” in heaven has existed since the beginning of time on a tablet in the presence of God.

The Qur’an is treated with great reverence and affection by Muslims. Special care is taken never to lay the sacred book on the ground and to make sure it never comes in contact with an impure substance. Muslims often keep it carefully wrapped in a cloth. When they unwrap it they press it to their foreheads before opening it.

Many Muslims carry a tattered copy of the Qur’an with them wherever they go. Some Muslims consider he Qur’an to be too sacred to buy or sell.

Qur’an and Calligraphy

Shahadah: There is no god but God. Muhammad is the messenger of God.
Calligraphy has traditionally been regarded as the noblest and most revered form of artistic expression because most of the Arabic words and expressions that are written come from the Qur’an which is regarded as the word of God and thus should be expressed as beautifully and with as much care as possible. The act of making calligraphy is regarded as an act of worship. Newsweek once reported that what the “human body has been to Western art, the word has been to Islamic art.”

With the use of figures and animals and plant motifs limited by Islamic restrictions, the written word of the Qur’an became an important source and element of Islamic art. Some Arabic calligraphy looks like abstract designs. The Arabic script which can be twisted and shaped into all sorts of elaborate geometric and curvilinear designs. The single word Allah has been transformed into labyrinthine designs with hundreds of lines. One of the most common expressions is the “shahada” , the basic statement of Muslim belief: "There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of God." Another common statement: "God is the light of the heavens and the earth. The likeness of His light is a niche wherein is a lamp."

Islamic calligraphy can be found in all kinds of art forms and objects: manuscripts, vases, plates, silver plates, silk robes, pottery, coins and variety of object de art. Some of the most beautiful calligraphy is on glass and metal vessels. Mosques often fill with huge room-size medallions with calligraphy on them. Some of the most gifted calligraphers made imperial Qur’ans and “tugras” (sultan signatures) for the sultans and architectural inscriptions for great mosques. Their work is sometimes executed with gold on a background of lapis lazuli.

Qur’an, Poetry and Printing

Ottoman Empire Qur’an copied circa 1536
In his book “Introduction to Islam” , Dr. M. Hamidullah writes: "Another art peculiar to Muslims is the recitation of the Qur’an. Not accompanied by instruments of music , and not being even in verse, the Qur’an has been an object for recitation purposes, since the time of the Prophet. The Arabic language lands to its prose a sweetness and melody hardly to be surpassed by rhythm verses of other languages. Those who have listened to the master singer, or “Qari” , reciting the Qur’an [or calling the faithful to prayer] know that these specialties of the Muslims have unequaled charms of their own."

The Qur’an was the first book ever written in Arabic. Because it was considered sacrilegious to use machines to make the Qur’an, the first printed copies of the sacred book we not made until almost 300 years after Gutenberg printed his first Bible. In the 18th century the Turkish sultans allowed books other than the Qur’an to be printed on presses, but even then calligraphers in Istanbul protested this action by parading with their reed pens and ink wells in a coffin. It wasn't until 1874 that sultans allowed the Qur’an to be printing on printing presses, and even then, only in Arabic.μ

The first version of the Qur’an to be printed in Arabic was made in Europe in 1530, but was destroyed by the Christian church. The printed version in current use is derived from one printed in Cairo in 1919 under the patronage of the Egyptian crown.

Qur’an, Arabic, and Translations

Arabic is believed to be "uncreated" like the Qur’an. Adam is said to have inscribed the language on tablets of clay, and today it is the written and spoken language of Islam, whether the faithful are in Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey, Senegal or Yemen. Many non-Arabs who recite Muslim prayers in Arabic have no idea what the prayers mean.

Muslims believe that the Qur’an is Arabic composition in its most perfect form. The Arabic spoken in Yemen mostly closely resembles the Arabic in the Qur’an. Qur’an passages often have red marks that indicate how people should breath when they recite it. Each “aya” , or verse is indicated by a gilded rosette at the end.

Because the Qur’an is regarded as the as the word of God, all translations are regarded as profanation. The Qur’an states quite unequivocally: “We have sent messenger save with the tongue of his people.” The Qur’an is supposed to paraphrased or interpreted. The divines nature of Qur’an scripture is also why calligraphy is so important.

According to the BBC: “Translations of the Qur'an exist in over 40 languages but Muslims are still taught to learn and recite it in Arabic, even if this is not their native language and they cannot converse in it. Translations are regarded by Muslims as new versions of the holy book, rather than as translations in the conventional sense. [Source: BBC]

Translations are viewed not as embodiment of the true Qur’an but rather as guides to study. The first copies of the Qur’an translated into English were called The Meaning of the Glorius Qur'an” . But despite these reservations the Qur’an has been translated: more than 20 English-language translations are available, most of which are a literal as possible. “The Book and the Qur’an” by Muhammad Shahrur, which tried to interpret the Qur’an for readers was widely banned in the Muslim world, despite it pious tone and popularity.

According to the BBC: “It was not until 1734 that a translation was made into English, but was littered with mistakes. Copies of the holy text were issued to British Indian soldiers fighting in the First World War. On 6 October 1930, words from the Qur’an were broadcast on British radio for the first time, in a BBC programme called The Sphinx.”

Learning and Memorizing the Qur’an

The Qur’an is not only the most widely read book in the Muslim world it is also the most recited (“Qur’an” means “Recitation” afterall). “”La allah illa allah; Muhammad rasul allah” ,” are the first words whispered into a newborn child's ear and the last word said to man or woman on his or her deathbed. Children in Muslim schools spend most of their time memorizing Qur’anic passages in Arabic, and in many countries it is not unusual to see people pacing back and forth city parks, reciting verses from the Qur’an out loud for hours at a time.μ According to the BBC: “At the time of the revelation of the Qur'an, books were not readily available and so it was common for people to learn it by heart. Committing the Qur'an to memory acted as a great aid for its preservation and any person who is able to accomplish this is known as a hafiz. |[Source: BBC]

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Reciting the Qur’an is the backbone of Muslim education. The aim of every pious Muslim is to memorize the entire book and recite it during Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting. All over the world children in Muslim schools — most of them boys — are working hard to commit the Qur’an to memory even if the don't understand all the Arabic words. A person who memorizes the Qur’an earns the respected title of "hafiz” (“one who has the entire scripture off by heart”). Hafiz are greatly respected and greeted with the title Hafiz. They often are called up during Ramadan to do the nightly Qur’an readings during the 30-day fast.

One who boy who had memorized the Qur’an between the age of 7 to 10 told the Washington Post, “It’s easy to memorize; it’s very hard to remember. The Qur’an is nobody’s friend. If you forget the Qur’an, the Qur’an will forget you.” The boy, who had been call on to recite the Qur’an during Ramadan because no adult could be found that could do it, said he had to practice everyday, starting after prayers at 4:30 am and practicing at school when he is not required to be paying attention in class, and studying the Qur’an more after school, with breaks for his five daily prayers and school homework.

Some Muslims recite the whole Qur’an from memory once every seven days. Writing out the entire Qur’an by hand is considered an act of great piety. Many Muslims, including caliphs and sultans, have performed this task. Some of the greatest works of Muslim art are hand illuminated and decorated Qur’ans, sometimes created with the smallest of details. In Iran today, anyone who has memorized the Qur’an automatically gets a university degree.

In the West many young Muslims have memorized passages of the Qur’an, or even the whole thing, without knowing what most of the words mean. The act is comparable for a Catholic leaning part of the Bible in Latin without being able to speak Latin. American kids that memorize the Qur’an are sent off to special boarding schools where they take regular academic classes of three hours a day and study the Qur’an for 8½ hours more. Under this regimen it takes about three years to memorize the Qur’an.

Reciting the Qur’an

Reciting Al Quran at Istiqlal Mosque
It is important to remember that "Quran" means "Recitation". Even today schools that specialize in teaching Quranic memorization can trace the teachers back to these first Muslims who had committed the entire Quran to memory. The Economist said “there is no more common sound in the Muslim world than the sound of Qur’anic recitation.” It has been said that there was no Qur’an there would be no Islam. One madrassah teacher told Foreign Policy magazine the Qur’an is “the word of God that defines the Muslim community. It tells Muslim their mission in life.”

A Qur’an reciter who wants his voice to heard on the radio or from a muezzin of a famous mosque has be deemed worthy of the honor by a committee of religious scholars. Reciters are judged on their execution of a complex system of scales used to recite the Qur’an.

There are two types of Qur’an recitation: 1) “tartil” , a simple form of reading; and 2) “tajwid” , a musical form that "involves intricate melodic and cadential formula and ornaments." There are individual styles. Some famous reciters are also famous secular singers.

Great reciters compete in tournaments that can attract audiences in the hundreds of thousands. The Economist called them “the World Cups of the Islamic world.” CDs by winners become instant bestsellers. Non-Arab children learn to intone Arabic letters in order to “read” the Qur’an without understanding it.

Taraweeh: Reciting the Qur'an During Ramadan

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Childhood glory, Happy Ramadan
Many Muslims gather at night, usually at a mosque, for the “Taraweeh” prayers in which portions of the Qur’an are recited using a special technique known as “Qirat” — which stresses clear enunciation, appropriate intonation and the use of pauses. The sound of it has been compared the voice of a mother comforting her baby. American Muslim Jareed Akhter wrote in the Chicago Tribune, “I do not understand much of what is being recited. Nonetheless the experience is inspiring. For those who do not understand the language , the Qur’an conveys a tone of grandeur , dignity and gravity.”

Often the entire Qur’an is recited during the month: 30 sections in 30 days, which works out to about three chapter a day (the Qur’an has 114 chapters but the chapters vary a great deal from relatively long to very short). Hassaball wrote: “The nightly congregational prayers are a wonderful experience, in which we get to hear the entire Qur’an recited ever so beautifully...It warms the heart and soul to worship with hundreds of fellow Muslim every night.”

Sometimes the Qur’an is recited from memory in pairs with each person taking turns and the what who is not reading correcting the other as he reads. In the West the Qur’an is often recited in Arabic by Muslims who don’t known what the Arabic words mean. The reciters are often “hafiz”, people who have memorized the Qur’an.

Sunnah on Reading the Qur'an

The Sunnahs are the practices and examples drawn from the Prophet Muhammad's life. Along with the Hadiths they are the most important texts in Islam after the Qur’an. They must adhere to a strict chain of narration that ensures their authenticity, taking into account factors such as the character of people in the chain and continuity in narration. Reports that fail to meet such criteria are disregarded.

The Sunnah reads: “The state of a Muslim who reads the Qur'an is like the orange fruit, whose smell and taste are pleasant; and that of a Muslim who does not read the Qur'an is like a date which hath no smell, but a sweet taste; and the condition of any hypocrite who does not read the Qur'an is like the colocynth which hath no smell, but a bitter taste; and the hypocrite who reads the Qur'an is like the sweet bazil, whose smell is sweet, but taste bitter. Read the Qur'an constantly; I swear by him in the hands of whose might is my life, verily the Qur'an runneth away faster than a camel which is not tied by the leg. [Source: Charles F. Horne, ed., The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East, (New York: Parke, Austin, & Lipscomb, 1917), Vol. VI: Medieval Arabia, pp. 11-32]

Surah 1


1: 1. In the name of ALLAH, the Gracious, the Merciful.
1: 2. All praise is due to ALLAH alone, Lord of all the worlds.
1: 3. The Gracious, the Merciful.
1: 4. Master of the Day of Judgment.
1: 5. THEE alone do we worship and THEE alone do we implore for help.
1: 6. Guide us in the straight path,
1: 7. The path of those on whom THOU hast bestowed THY favours, those who have not incurred THY displeasure and those who have not gone astray. [Source: translated by Maulvi Sher Ali, edited by Malik Ghulam Farid]

Surah 47

47: 1. In the name of ALLAH, the Gracious, the Merciful.
47: 2. Those who disbelieve and hinder men from the way of ALLAH - HE renders their works vain.
47: 3. But as for those who believe and do righteous deeds and believe in that which has been revealed to Muhammad - and it is the truth from their Lord - HE removes from them their sins and sets right their affairs.
47: 4. That is because those who disbelieve follow falsehood while those who believe follow the truth from their Lord. Thus does ALLAH set forth for men their lessons by similitudes.
47: 5. And when you meet in regular battle those who disbelieve, smite their necks; and, when you have overcome them, by causing great slaughter among them, bind fast the fetters - then afterwards either release them as a favour or by taking ransom - until the war lays down its burdens. That is the ordinance. And if ALLAH had so pleased, HE could have punished them Himself, but HE has willed that HE may try some of you by others. And those who are killed in the way of ALLAH - HE will never render their works vain. [Source: translated by Maulvi Sher Ali, edited by Malik Ghulam Farid]

47: 6. HE will guide them to success and will improve their condition.
47: 7. And will admit them into the Garden which HE has made known to them.
47: 8. O ye who believe ! if you help the cause of ALLAH, HE will help you and will make your steps firm.
47: 9. But those who disbelieve, perdition is their lot; and HE will make their works vain.
47: 10. That is because they hate what ALLAH has revealed; so HE has made their works vain.

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First Surah of Qur’an (fragment)
47: 11. Have they not traveled in the earth and seen what was the end of those who were before them ? ALLAH utterly destroyed them, and for the disbelievers there will be the like thereof.
47: 12. That is because ALLAH is the Protector of those who believe, and the disbelievers have no protector.
47: 13. Verily, ALLAH will cause those who believe and do good works to enter the Gardens underneath which streams flow; While those who disbelieve enjoy themselves and eat even as the cattle eat, and the Fire will be their last resort.
47: 14. And how many a township, mightier than thy town which has driven thee out, have WE destroyed, and they had no helper.
47: 15. Then, is he who takes his stand upon a clear proof from his Lord like those to whom the evil of their deeds is made to look attractive and who follow their low desires ?

47: 16. A description of the Garden promised to the righteous: Therein are streams of water which corrupts not; and streams of milk of which the taste changes not; and streams of wine, a delight to those who drink; and streams of clarified honey. And in it they will have all kinds of fruit, and forgiveness from their Lord. Can those who enjoy such bliss be like those who abide in the Fire and who are given boiling water to drink so that it tears their bowels ?

47: 17. And among them are some who seems to listen to thee till, when they go forth from thy presence, they say to those who have been given knowledge, 'What has he been talking about just now ?' These are they upon whose hearts ALLAH has set a seal, and who follow their own evil desires.
47: 18. But as for those who follow guidance, HE adds to their guidance, and bestows on them righteousness suited to their condition.
47: 19. The disbelievers wait not but for the Hour, that it should come upon them suddenly. The Signs thereof have already come. But of what avail will their admonition be to them when it has actually come upon them.
47: 20. Know, therefore, that there is no god other than ALLAH, and ask protection for thy human frailties, and for believing men and believing women. And ALLAH knows the place where you move about and the place where you stay.

Sura 47

47: 21. And those who believe say, "Why is not a Surah revealed ?' But when a decisive Surah is revealed and fighting is mentioned therein, thou seest those in whose hearts is a disease, looking towards thee like the look of one who is fainting on account of approaching death. So woe to them !
47: 22. Their attitude should have been one of obedience and of calling people to good. And when the matter was determined upon, it was good for them if they were true to ALLAH.
47: 23. Would you not then, if you are placed in authority, create disorder in the land and sever your ties of kinship ?
47: 24. It is these whom ALLAH has cursed, so that HE has made them deaf and has made their eyes blind.
47: 25. Will they not, then, ponder over the Qur'an, or, is it that there are locks on their hearts ?
47: 26. Surely, those who turn their backs after guidance has become manifest to them, Satan has seduced them and holds out false hopes to them.
47: 27. That is because they said to those who hate what ALLAH has revealed, 'We will obey you in some matters, and ALLAH knows their secrets.
47: 28. But how will they fare when the angels will cause them to die, smiting their faces and their backs ?
47: 29. That is because they followed that which displeased ALLAH, and disliked the seeking of HIS pleasure. So HE rendered their works vain.
47: 30. Do those in whose hearts is a disease suppose that ALLAH will not bring to light their malice ?

47: 31. And if WE pleased, WE could show them to thee so that thou shouldst know them by their marks. And thou shalt, surely, recognize them by the tone of their speech. And ALLAH knows your deeds.
47: 32. And WE will, surely, try you, until WE make manifest those among you who strive for the cause of ALLAH and those who are steadfast. And WE will make known the true facts about you.
47: 33. Those, who disbelieve and hinder men from the way of ALLAH and oppose the Messenger after guidance has become manifest to them, shall not harm ALLAH in the least; and HE will make their works fruitless.
47: 34. O ye who believe ! obey ALLAH and obey the Messenger and make not your works vain.
47: 35. Verily, those who disbelieve and hinder people from the way of ALLAH, and then die while they are disbelievers - ALLAH certainly, will not forgive them.
47: 36. So be not slack and sue not for peace, for you will, certainly, have the upper hand. And ALLAH is with you, and HE will not deprive you of the reward of your actions.
47: 37. The life of this world is but a sport and a pastime, and if you believe and be righteous, HE will give you your rewards, and will not ask of you your wealth.
47: 38. Were HE to ask it of you and press you, you would be niggardly, and HE would bring to light your malice.
47: 39. Behold ! You are those who are called upon to spend in the way of ALLAH; but of you there are some who are niggardly. And whoso is niggardly, is niggardly only against his own soul. And ALLAH is Self-Sufficient, and it is you who are needy. And if you turn your backs, HE will bring in your place another people; then they will not be like you.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: Internet Islamic History Sourcebook: “World Religions” edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); “ Arab News, Jeddah; “Islam, a Short History” by Karen Armstrong; “A History of the Arab Peoples” by Albert Hourani (Faber and Faber, 1991); “Encyclopedia of the World Cultures” edited by David Levinson (G.K. Hall & Company, New York, 1994). “Encyclopedia of the World’s Religions” edited by R.C. Zaehner (Barnes & Noble Books, 1959); Metropolitan Museum of Art National Geographic, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian magazine, The Guardian, BBC, Al Jazeera, Times of London, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated September 2018

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