All praise and gratitude are for God, Who has sent down on His servant the Book and has put no crookedness in it (so that it is free from contradiction and inconsistency, and anything offensive to truth and righteousness).
(He has made it) unerringly straight, to warn of a stern punishment from Him and give the believers who do good, righteous deeds the glad tidings that for them is an excellent reward (Paradise),
Abiding therein forever,
And to warn those who say: "God has taken to Him a child."
Of that they have no knowledge (on which to base such an assertion), nor did their forefathers. Dreadful as a word is (that assertion) coming out of their mouths. Indeed they speak nothing but falsehood.
Yet it may be that you (O Muhammad) will torment yourself to death with grief, following after them, if they do not believe in this Message.
We have surely made whatever is on the earth as an ornament for it (appealing to humanity), so that We may try them (by demonstrating it to themselves) which of them is best in conduct.
Yet We surely reduce whatever is on it to a barren dust-heap, (and will do so when the term of trial ends).
Or do you reckon the People of the Cave and the Inscription as something strange among Our signs (manifesting the truth, and too extraordinary to believe)?
(Events came to the point) when the young men took refuge in the cave and said: "Our Lord! Grant us mercy from Your Presence and arrange for us in our affair what is right and good!"
Then We drew a veil over their ears (causing them to go into a deep sleep) in the cave for a number of years.
Then We raised them up, (and dividing into two groups, they discussed how long they had remained in that state). We willed to make known which of the two groups were (more consciousness of time with the events in it, and therefore) better in computing for what period they had remained (in this state).
It is We who relate to you their exemplary story with truth. They were young men who believed in their Lord, and We increased them in guidance (so they adhered to the truth more faithfully).
And We strengthened their hearts, (and a time came) when they rose up (against association of partners with God and other injustices in the society), and they proclaimed: "Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, and we never invoke any deity apart from Him; if we did so, we would certainly have uttered an enormity (a monstrous unbelief).
"These people of ours have adopted deities other than Him: although they cannot bring any clear authority for them. And who is more in the wrong than he who fabricates falsehood against God?"
(Events developed to the point that they had to leave their society. They discussed what they should do and concluded:) "And now that you have withdrawn yourselves from them and all that they worship instead of God, then seek refuge in the Cave. Your Lord will lay out for you of His mercy, and He will arrange for you in your affair a comfort and support."
(They entered the Cave and fell into a deep sleep.) You would have seen the sun, when it rose, moving away from their Cave to the right, and when it set, turning away from them to the left, while they lay in a spacious hollow in the Cave. That was one of God’s signs. Whoever God guides, he alone is rightly guided; and whoever He leads astray, you will never be able to find for him any guardian to guide him to the right way.
You would have thought them awake though they were asleep. We caused them to turn over to the right and the left, and their dog lay outstretching its two forelegs on the threshold. Had you come upon them unprepared, you would certainly have turned away from them in flight, and would certainly have been filled with awe of them.
Such being their state, We raised them up so they began to ask one another. One who spoke said: "How long have you stayed?" They (some among them) answered: "We have stayed a day, or part of a day." The others said: "Your Lord knows better how long you have stayed. Now (we must deal with our hunger. So) send one of you to the city with this coin of yours: let him see what food is most pure there (and so lawful), and bring a supply from it. But let him behave with utmost care and guarded courtesy and by no means make anyone aware of you.
"Indeed, if they should find you out, they will stone you to death or turn you back to their way of belief and life by force, then you will never attain prosperity ever hereafter."
And in this way We disclosed them to the people so that they might know that the promise of God is true, and that there can be no doubt about (the coming of) the Last Hour. When they (the people) disputed about their affair, they said: "Build a structure over them (to hide them and leave them to their rest). Their Lord knows best about them." Those who prevailed (in the long-disputed matter) said: "We will most certainly build a place of worship over them."
(Instead of reflecting on the lesson to be learnt from the People of the Cave, people concentrate their interest on the details of the event.) Some will say they were three, the dog being the fourth among them; and some will say they were five, the dog being the sixth – all guessing at random at (something related to) the Unseen. Still others will say: "They were seven, the dog being the eighth." Say (O Messenger): "My Lord knows their number better; it is but few that know (the truth about) them." So do not argue about them, being content with what is obvious (to you through Revelation), nor ask any of them (who argue even among themselves) to give you an opinion about them.
And do not say about anything (you intend), "I will do it tomorrow,"
Without (adding) "If God wills." And remember and mention Him (straightaway) should you forget (to do so when expressing an intention for the future). And say: "I hope that my Lord will guide me to what is nearer to right conduct than this (forgetfulness of mine)."
And they stayed in their Cave three hundred (solar) years, and added nine (for lunar years).
Say: "God knows better how long they stayed. To Him belongs (absolute dominion and full knowledge of) the unseen of the heavens and the earth. How perfect His seeing and how perfect His hearing! And they have apart from Him no guardian, and He allots to no one a share in His absolute authority.
Recite (and teach) that which has been revealed to you from the Book of your Lord. There is none who can change His words (whatever the unbelievers may say or desire), and you will never find, apart from Him, any refuge.
And keep yourself patient, along with those who invoke their Lord morning and evening, seeking His "Face" (His eternal, good pleasure and the meeting with Him in the Hereafter); and do not let your eyes pass beyond them, desiring the beauties of the life of this world (by the participation of those of leading positions among people in your assemblies). And pay no heed to (the desires of) him whose heart We have made unmindful of Our remembrance, who follows his lusts and fancies, and whose affair exceeds all bounds (of right and decency).
And say: "The truth from your Lord (has come in this Qur’an)." Then, whoever wills (to believe), let him believe; and whoever wills (to disbelieve), let him disbelieve. Surely, We have prepared for the wrongdoers a Fire, its billowing folds encompassing them. If they beg for water they will be given water like molten metal that scalds their faces. How dreadful a drink, and how evil a couch to rest on!
Surely, for those who believe and do good, righteous deeds – We do not leave to waste the reward of any who do good deeds, aware that God is seeing them.
Those are they for whom are Gardens of perpetual bliss through which rivers flow; adorned therein with armbands of gold and they will dress in green garments of fine silk and rich brocade; they recline there upon thrones. How excellent a reward, how lovely a couch to rest on!
Set forth to them the parable of two men: for one of them We had made two vineyards and surrounded both with date-palms, and placed between them a field of grain.
Each of the two vineyards yielded its produce, without failing in anything. We had also caused a stream to gush forth between the two.
So the man had fruit (in abundance), and one day he said to his companion, while he was conversing with him: "I am more than you in wealth, and mightier in manpower (children and those working for me)."
He went into his vineyard while wronging himself (in his vain conceit). He said: "I do not think that this will ever perish.
"Nor do I think that the Last Hour will ever come. Even if (it should come, and) I am brought back to my Lord, I will surely find something even better than this as a resort."
His companion said to him, while he was arguing with him: "Do you (expressing such ingratitude) disbelieve in Him Who created you from earth, then out of a mere drop of seminal fluid, then fashioned you into a perfect man?
"But (for my part I believe that) He is God, my Lord, and I do not associate with my Lord any partner.
"If only you had said, on entering your vineyard, ‘Whatever God wills (surely has and surely will come to pass); there is no strength (to achieve anything) save with God.’ Though you see me with less wealth and offspring than you (I have no complaint at all, for it is God Who does as He wills, and He is All-Compassionate toward His servants).
"It may well be that my Lord will give me something better than your vineyard, and send on it (your vineyard) a calamity from heaven so that it becomes a barren waste.
"Or its water comes to sink (so deep) into the ground, that you will never be able to seek it out."
And (as it happened) his produce was encompassed by ruin, and he set to wringing his hands with grief over all that he had spent on it, when it was now all ruined on its trellises, and he was saying: "Oh, would that I had never associated anyone with my Lord as partner!"
And he had, apart from God, none, no troop of men, to help Him, nor could he be of any help to himself.
For thus it is: all power to protect belongs to God, the True. He is the best for reward, and the best for the outcome.
And strike to them a parable of the present, worldly life: (it is) like water that We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it (flourishing abundantly). Then it turns into dry stubble which the winds scatter about. God is absolutely able to do all things.
Wealth and children are an adornment of the present, worldly life, but the good, righteous deeds (based on faith and) which endure are better in the sight of your Lord in bringing reward and better to aspire for.
(Bear in mind) the Day when We set the mountains in motion, and you see the earth denuded, and We raise to life and gather them together (all those who are content with themselves, deluded by the charms of the world), leaving out none of them.
They are arrayed before your Lord (Whom they disregarded in the world), all lined up (without discrimination of wealth or status as in the world, and they are told): "Now, indeed, you have come to Us (divested of all worldly things) as We created you in the first instance – though you used to suppose that We had not appointed for you a meeting with Us."
And the Record (of everyone’s deeds) is set in place; and you will see the disbelieving criminals filled with dread because of what is in it, and they will say: "Alas, woe is ours! What is this Record? It leaves out nothing, be it small or great, but it is accounted!" They have found all that they did confronting them (in the forms thereof particular to the Hereafter). And Your Lord wrongs no one.
And (recall) when We said to the angels, "Prostrate before Adam!" and they all prostrated, but Iblis did not; he was of the jinn (created before humankind, from smokeless, scorching fire), and transgressed against his Lord’s command. Will you, then, take him and his offspring for guardians (to rely on and refer your affairs to) rather than Me, when they are an enemy to you? How evil an exchange for the wrongdoers!
I did not make them (Iblis and his offspring) witnesses to the creation of the heavens and the earth, nor of the creation of their own selves, nor did I (being absolutely beyond need) ever take as helpers those that lead (humankind) astray.
The Day (will come when) He will say, "Now call upon all those whom you alleged to be My partners." Thereupon they will invoke them, but they will not respond to them, and We will place between them an unbridgeable gulf.
And the disbelieving criminals will see the Fire and know certainly that they are bound to fall into it, and they will find no way of escape from it.
Assuredly We have set out in diverse ways for humankind in this Qur’an all kinds of parables and comparisons (to help them understand the truth); but human is, above all else, given to contention.
What is there to keep people from believing when guidance has come to them, and from imploring their Lord for forgiveness – unless it be that they follow the way of the (sinful) people of olden times (as if wishing for their fate to come upon them) or the punishment (which they did not believe in but asked their Prophet, in derision, to bring down upon them) come and confront them? (Then indeed they would have no opportunity to implore forgiveness and hope for relief.)
We send the Messengers (not as bearers of punishment) but as bearers of glad tidings (of prosperity in return for faith and righteousness) and warners (against the evil consequences of misguidance). Whereas those who disbelieve contend on the basis of falsehood in order to refute the truth thereby; and they take My Revelations and that (the punishment) of which they are warned in mockery.
Who is greater in doing wrong than he who has been reminded of his Lord’s Revelations and signs, yet turns away from them and forgets all that his hands have forwarded (to the reckoning in the future life). Surely over their hearts We have laid veils (made up of their ill-intention, wrongdoing, and arrogance, which caused them to lose the ability to believe,) so that they do not grasp (the Qur’an with faith and understanding), and in their ears a heaviness (so they do not hear the Qur’an). And if you call them to guidance, they will never even then accept guidance.
Your Lord is the All-Forgiving, having infinite Mercy. If He were to take them immediately to task for what they have earned, surely He would hasten on the punishment for them; but for them is an appointed time-limit, beyond which they will never find an escape (from God’s punishment).
And (that was the case with) all those townships that We destroyed when they were given to wrong. We had surely appointed a time fixed for their destruction.
(Now relate to them, O Messenger, the experience of Moses): When Moses said to his (young) attendant: "I will not give up (journeying) until I reach the junction of the two seas, though I may march on for ages."
When they reached the junction of the two (seas), they forgot their fish, and it took its way amazingly through the sea as in an underground channel.
So when they had passed further on, Moses said to his attendant: "Bring us our morning meal; assuredly we have endured much fatigue in this journey of ours."
He (the servant) said: "Would you believe it? When we betook ourselves to that rock for a rest, I forgot about (our cooked) fish – and none but Satan caused me to forget to mention it (to you) – and it took its way into the sea in an amazing way."
He (Moses) said: "That is what we have been seeking!" So they retraced their footsteps.
And they found (there) one of Our servants to whom We had granted a mercy as a grace from Us and taught a special knowledge from Our Presence.
Moses said to him: "May I follow you so that you may teach me something of the knowledge of guidance which you have been taught?"
He said: "You will never be able to have patience with being in my company.
"How could you be patient about something that you have never encompassed in your knowledge?"
He (Moses) said: "You will find me patient, if God so wills and allows me to, and I will not disobey you in anything."
(Al-Khadr) explained: "Well, if you go with me, do not ask me concerning anything (that I may do) until I myself make mention of it to you."
So they set forth until, when they embarked on the boat, he (al-Khadr) made a hole in it. He (Moses) said: "Have you made a hole in it in order to drown its people (who would be using it)? You have certainly done an awful thing!"
He said: "Did I not tell you that you would never be able to bear patiently with my company?"
He (Moses) said: "Do not take me to task because I forgot, and do not overburden me in my affair (in what you ask of me)."
So they went on until, when they met a young boy, he (al-Khadr) killed him. (Moses) said: "Have you killed an innocent soul (not in lawful retaliation but) without his having killed anyone? Assuredly you have done a horrible thing!"
He said: "Did I not tell you that you would never be able to have patience with being in my company?"
(Moses) said: "If I should ever question you about anything after this, keep me no more in your company. You have already received (full) excuse from me."
So they went on until when they came upon the people of a township, they asked its people for food, but they refused them hospitality. They found there a wall which was on the verge of tumbling down, and he (al-Khadr) restored it. (Moses) said: "If you had wished, you could have taken payment for it."
He (al-Khadr) said: "This is the parting of ways between me and you. I will tell you the meaning of what you were unable to bear patiently.
"As for the boat, it belonged to some destitute people who worked on the sea – and I wished to damage it, for there was a king after them who was seizing every boat by force.
"And as for the young boy, his parents were believers, and we feared lest he should oppress them with rebellion and unbelief.
"So we wished that their Lord would grant them in his place one better than him in purity and nearer in affection (to his parents).
"And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and beneath it was a treasure belonging to them. Their father had been a righteous man. So your Lord willed that they should come of age and bring forth their treasure as a mercy from your Lord. I did not do this (any of the actions that you witnessed) of my own accord. This is the meaning of all (those events) with which you were unable to have patience."
And they ask you (O Messenger) about Dhu’l-Qarnayn. Say: "I will recite to you a mention of him (quoting the Almighty)."
We surely established him with power in the land, and for everything (that he rightly purposed) We granted him a way (the just means appropriate to just ends).
One such way he followed,
Until, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he saw it setting in a spring of hot and black muddy water, and nearby he found a people. We said: "O Dhu’l-Qarnayn! You can either punish them or you can treat them with kindness. (Which way will you choose?)"
He said: "As for him who does wrong (by disbelieving in Him or associating partners with Him and oppressing others) we will punish him and then he is brought back to his Lord, and He punishes him in an indescribable manner.
"But as for him who believes and does good, righteous deeds, for him the recompense of the best is due, and we will speak to him an easy word of Our command (we will charge him with easy tasks)."
Then he followed another way,
Until, when he reached the rising-place of the sun and found it rising on a people for whom We had provided no shelter against it.
So it was (such was their state and the extent of Dhu’l-Qarnayn’s power). We assuredly encompassed all concerning him in Our Knowledge.
Then he followed another way,
Until, when he reached (a place) between two mountain-barriers, he found before them a people who scarcely understood a word.
They said: "O Dhu’l-Qarnayn! Gog and Magog are causing disorder in this land. May we pay you a tribute so that you set a barrier between us and them?"
He said: "What my Lord has established me in (the power that He has granted me on this earth) is better (than what you offer). So help me with strength (manpower) and I will set a strong rampart between you and them.
"Bring me blocks of iron." Then, after he had filled up (the space between) the two steep mountain-sides, he said: "(Light a fire and) work your bellows!" At length, when he had made it (glow red like) fire, he said: "Bring me molten copper that I may pour upon it."
And they (Gog and Magog) were no longer able to surmount, nor were they able to dig their way through (the barrier).
Dhu’l-Qarnayn said: "This is a mercy from my Lord. Yet when the time of my Lord’s promise comes, He will level it down to the ground; and my Lord’s promise is ever true."
On that day We will leave people to surge like waves on one another; and the Trumpet will be blown, then We will gather them all together.
And on that Day We will place Hell before the unbelievers, plain to view,
Those whose eyes are veiled from My Book and any remembrance of Me, and who cannot bear to hear (them).
Do they who disbelieve reckon that they can (rightly and justifiably) take any of My servants as guardians (to own and protect them) besides Me? Assuredly, We have prepared Hell to welcome the unbelievers.
Say: "Shall We inform you who are the greatest losers in respect of their deeds?
"Those whose endeavor has been wasted in this world (because it is directed only to this-worldly ends, and so it is bound to be wasted hereafter also) but who themselves reckon that they are doing good."
They are those who disbelieve in the signs and Revelations of their Lord, and in the meeting with Him. Hence, their deeds have come to nothing, and on the Day of Resurrection We will not accord to them any weight.
That will be their recompense – Hell – because they have disbelieved and taken My signs and Revelations and My Messengers in mockery.
Surely for those who believe and do good, righteous deeds, their welcome is Gardens of the highest level of Paradise.
Therein will they abide, without desiring any change therefrom.
Say: "If all the sea were ink to write my Lord’s words (the acts, decrees, and manifestations of all His Names and Attributes), the sea would indeed be exhausted before my Lord’s words are exhausted, even if We were to bring the like of it in addition to it."
Say: "I am but a mortal like you, but it is revealed to me that your God is the One and Only God. So, whoever is looking forward to meeting his Lord, let him do good, righteous deeds, and let him not associate any partner in the worship of His Lord."