A SURAH [is this] which We have bestowed from on high, and which We have laid down in plain terms; 1 and in it have We bestowed from on high messages which are clear [in themselves], so that you might keep [them] in mind.
AS FOR the adulteress and the adulterer 2 - flog each of them with a hundred stripes, and let not com-passion with them keep you from [carrying out] this law of God, if you [truly] believe in God and the Last Day; and let a group of the believers witness their chastisement 3
[Both are equally guilty:] the adulterer couples with none other than an adulteress - that is, a woman who accords [to her own lust] a place side by side with God; 4 and with the adulteress couples none other than an adulterer-that is, a man who accords [to his own lust] a place side by side with God: and this is forbidden unto the believers. 5
And as for those who accuse chaste women [of adultery], 6 and then are unable to produce four wit-nesses [in support of their accusation], flog them with eiphty stripes; 7 and ever after refuse to accept from them any testimony-since it is they, they that are truly depraved"-
excepting [from this interdict] only those who afterwards repent and made amends: 8 for, behold, God is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace.
And as for those who accuse their own wives [of adultery], but have no witnesses except them-selves, let each of these [accusers] call God four times to witness 9 that he is indeed telling the truth,
and the fifth time, that God's curse be upon him if he is telling a lie.
But [as for the wife, all] chastisement shall be averted from her by her calling God four times to witness that he is indeed telling a lie,
and the fifth [time], that God's curse be upon her if he is telling the truth. 10
AND WERE it not for God's favour upon you, [O man,] and His grace, and that God is a wise acceptor of repentance . . . ! 11
Verily, numerous among you are those who would falsely accuse others of unchastity: 12 [but, O you who are thus wronged,] deem it not a bad thing for you: nay, it is good for you! 13 [As for the slanderers,] unto every one of them [will be accounted] all that he has earned by [thus] sinning; and awesome suffering awaits any of them who takes it upon himself to enhance this [sin]! 14
Why do not the believing men and women, whenever such [a rumour] is heard, 15 think the best of one another and say, "This is an obvious falsehood"?
Why do they not [demand of the accusers 16 that they] produce four witnesses to prove their allegation? 17 - for, if they do not produce such wit-nesses, it is those [accusers] who, in the sight of God, are liars indeed!
And were it not for God's favour upon you, [O men,] and His grace in this world and in the life to come, awesome suffering would indeed have afflicted you 18 in result of all [the calumny] in which you indulge
when you take it up with your tongues, uttering with your mouths something of which you have no knowledge, and deeming it a light matter whereas in the sight of God it is an awful thing!
And [once again]: Why do you not say, whenever you hear such [a rumour], "It does not behove us to speak of this, O Thou who art limitless in Thy glory: this is an awesome calumny"? 19
God admonishes you [hereby] lest you ever revert to the like of this Isinl. if you are [truly] believers;
for God makes [His] messages clear unto you-and God is all knowing, wise!
Verily, as for those who like [to hear] foul slander 20 spreadagainst [any of] those who have attained to faith-grievous suffering awaits them in this world 21 and in the life to come: for God knows [the full truth], whereas you know [it] not. 22
And were it not for God's favour upon you and His grace, and that God is compasionate, a dispenser of grace...! 23
O YOU who have attained to faith! Follow not Satan's footsteps: for he who follows Satan's footsteps [will find that], behold, he enjoins but deeds of abomination and all that runs counter to reason. 24 And were it not for God's favour upon you and His grace, not one of you would ever have remained pure. For [thus it is:] it is God who causes whomever He wills to grow in purity: for God is all-hearing, all-knowing.
Hence, [even if they have been wronged by slander,] let not those of you who have been graced with [God's] favour and ease of life ever become remiss in helping 25 [the erring ones among] their near of kin, and the needy, and those who have forsaken the domain of evil for the sake of God, 26 but let them pardon and forbear. [For,] do you not desire that God should forgive you your sins, seeing that God is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace? 27
[But,] verily, those who [falsely, and without repentance, 28 ] accuse chaste women who may have been unthinkingly careless but have remained true to their faith, 29 shall be rejected [from God's grace] in this world as well as in the life to come: and awesome suffering awaits them
on the Day when their own tongues and hands and feet will bear witness against them by [recalling] all that they did!
On that day will God pay them in full their just due, and they will come to know that God alone is the Ultimate Truth, manifest, and manifesting [the true nature of all that has ever been done]. 30
[In the nature of things,] corrupt women are for corrupt men, and corrupt men, for corrupt women - just as good women are for good men, and good men, for good women. [Since God is aware that] these are innocent of all that evil tongues may impute to them, 31 forgiveness of sins shall be theirs, and a mr`~t excellent cilstenance! 32
O YOU who have attained to faith! Do not enter houses other than your own unless you have obtained permission and greeted their inmates. This is [enjoyed by you] for your own good, so that you might bear [your mutual rights] in mind. 33
Hence, [even] if you find no one within [the house], do not enter it until you are given leave; 34 and if you are told, "Turn back," then turn back. This will be most conducive to your purity; and God has full knowledge of all that you do.
[On the other hand,] you will incur no sin if you [freely] enter houses not intended for living in but serving a purpose useful to you: 35 but [always remember that] God knows all that you do openly, and all that you would conceal.
TELL the believing men to lower their gaze and to be mindful of their chastity: 36 this will be most con-ducive to their purity- [and,] verily, God is aware of all that they do.
And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and to be mindful of their chastity, and not to display their charms [in public] beyond what may [decently] be apparent thereof; 37 hence, let them draw their head-coverings over their bosoms. 38 And let them not display [more of] their charms to any but their husbands, or their fathers, or their husbands' fathers, or their sons, or their husbands' sons, or their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their womenfolk, or those whom they rightfully possess, or such male attendants as are beyond all sexual desire, 39 or children that are as yet unaware of women's nakedness; and let them not swing their legs [in walking] so as to draw attention to their hidden charms. 40 And [always], O you believers-all of you-turn unto God in repentance, so that you might attainto a happy state! 41
AND [you ought to] marry the single from among you 42 as well as such of your male and female slaves as are fit [for marriage]. 43 If they [whom you intend to marry] are poor, [let this not deter you;] God will grant them sufficiency out of His bounty - for God is infinite [in His mercy], all-knowing.
And as for those who are unable to marry, 44 let them live in continence until God grants them sufficiency out of his bounty. And ay of one those whom you rightfully possess 45 desire [to obtain] a deed of freedom, write it out for them if you are awareof any good in them: 46 and give them [their share] of the wealth of God which He has given you. 47 And do not, in order to gain 48 some of the fleeting pleasures of this worldly life, coerce your [slave] maidens into whoredom if they happen to be desirous of marriage; 49 and if anyone should coerce them, then, verily, after they have been compelled [to submit in their helplessness], God will be much-forgiving. a dispenser of grace!
AND, INDEED, from on high have We bestowed upon you messages clearly showing the truth, and [many] a lesson from [the stories of] those who have passed away before you, and [many] an admonition to the God conscious
God is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His light is, as it were, 50 that of a niche containing a lamp; the lamp is [enclosed] in glass, the glass [shining] like a radiant star: 51 [a lamp] lit from a blessed tree -an olive-tree that is neither of the east nor of the west 52 - the oil whereof [is so bright that it] would well-nigh give light [of itself] even though fire had not touched it: light upon light! 53 God guides unto His light him that wills [to be guided]; 54 and [to this end] God propounds parables unto men, since God [alone] has full knowledge of all things. 55
IN THE HOUSES [of worship] which God has allowed to be raised so that His name be remembered in them, 56 there [are such as] extol His limitless glory at morn and evening-
people whom neither [worldly] commerce nor striving after gain 57 can divert from the remembrance of God, and from con-stancy in prayer, and from charity: 58 [people] who are filled with fear [at the thought] of the Day on which all hearts and eyes will be convulsed,
[and who only hope] that God may reward them in accordance with the best that they ever did, and give them, out of His bounty, more [than they deserve]: for, God grants sustenance unto whom He wills, beyond all reckon-ing.
But as for those who are bent on denying the truth, their [good] deeds are like a mirage in the desert, which the thirsty supposes to be water - until, when he approaches it, he finds that it was nothing: 59 instead, he finds [that] God [has always been present] with him, and [that] He will pay him his account in full-for God is swift in reckoning!
Or [else, their deeds 60 are] like the depths of darkness upon an abysmal sea, made yet more dark by wave billowing over wave, with [black] clouds above it all: depths of darkness, layer upon layer 61 [so that] when one holds up his hand, he can hardly see it: for he to whom God gives no light, no light whatever has he!
ART THOU NOT aware that it is God whose limit-less glory all [creatures] that are in the heavens and on earth extol, even the birds as they spread out their wings? 62 Each [of them] knows indeed how to pray unto Him and to glorify Him; and God has full knowledge of all that they do:
for, God's is the dominion over the heavens and the earth, and with God is all journeys' end.
Art thou not aware that it is God who causes the clouds to move onward, then joins them together, then piles them up in masses, until thou canst see rain come forth from their midst? And He it is who sends down from the skies, by degrees, mountainous masses [of clouds] charged with hail, striking therewith whomever He wills and averting it from whomever He wills, [the while] the flash of His lightning well-nigh deprives [men of their] sight!
It is God who causes night and day to alter-nate: in this [too], behold, there is surely a lesson for all who have eyes to see!
And it is God who has created all animals out of water; 63 and [He has willed that] among them are such as crawl on their bellies, and such as walk on two legs, and such as walk on four. God creates what He wills: for, verily, God has the power to will anything.
INDEED. from on high have We bestowed messages clearly showing the truth; but God guides onto a straight way [only] him that wills [to be guided]. 64
For, [many are] they [who] say, "We believe in God and in the Apostle, and we pay heed!" - but then, some of them turn away after this [assertion]: and these are by no means [true] believers.
And [so it is that] whenever they are summoned unto God and His Apostle in order that [the divine writ] might judge between them, 65 lo! some of them turn away;
but if the truth happens to be to their liking, they are quite willing to accept it! 66
Is there disease in their hearts? Or have they begun to doubt [that this is a divine writ]? Or do they fear that God and His Apostle might deal unjustly with them? 67 Nay, it is [but] they, they who are doing wrong [to themselves]!
The only response of believers, whenever they are summoned unto God and His Apostle in order that [the divine writ] might judge between them, can be no other than, 68 "We have heard, and we pay heed!" - and it is they, they who shall attain to a happy state:
for, they who pay heed unto God and His Apostle, and stand in awe of God and are conscious of Him, it is they, they who shall triumph [in the end]!
Now [as for those half-hearted ones,] they do swear by God with their most solemn oaths that if thou [O Apostle] shouldst ever bid them to do so, they would most certainly go forth [and sacrifice themselves]. 69 Say: "Swear not! Reasonable compliance [with God's message is all that is required of you]. 70 Verily, God is aware of all that you do!"
Say: "Pay heed unto God, and pay heed unto the Apostle." And if you turn away [from the Apostle, know that] he will have to answer only for whatever he has been charged with, and you, for what you have been charged with; but if you pay heed unto him, you will be on the right way. Withal, the Apostle is not bound to do more than clearly deliver the message [entrust-ed to him].
God has promised those of you who have attained to faith and do righteous deeds that, of a certainty, He will cause them to accede to power on earth, 71 even as He caused [some of] those who lived before them to accede to it; and that, of a certainty, He will firmly establish for them the religion which He has been pleased to bestow on them; 72 and that, of a certainty, He will cause their erstwhile state of fear to be replaced bv a sense of security 73 - [Iseeine that] they worship Me [alone], not ascribing divine powers to aught beside Me. 74 But all who, after [having understood] this, choose to deny the truth - it is they, they who are truly iniquitous!
Hence, [O believers,] be constant in prayer, and render the purifying dues, 75 and pay heed unto the Apostle, so that you might be graced with God's mercy.
[And] think not that those who are bent on denying the truth can elude [their final reckoning even if they remain unscathed] on earth: 76 the fire is their goal [in the life to comel - and vile indeed is such a iournev's end!
O YOU who have attained to faith! 77 At three times [of day], let [even] those whom you rightfully possess, 78 as well as those from among you who have not yet attained to puberty, 79 ask leave of you [before intruding upon your privacy]: before the prayer of daybreak, and whenever you lay aside your garments in the middle of the day, and after the prayer of nightfall: 80 the three occasions on which your naked-ness is likely to be bared. 81 Beyond these [occasions], neither you nor they will incur any sin if they move [freely] about you, attending to [the needs of] one another. In this way God makes clear unto you His mes-sages: for God is all-knowing, wise!
Yet when the children among you attain to puberty, let them ask leave of you [at all times], even as those [who have reached maturity] before them have been enjoined to ask it. 82
AND 83 [know that] women advanced in years, who no longer feel any sexual desire, 84 incur no sin if they discard their [outer] garments, provided they do not aim at a showy display of [their] charms. But [even so,] it is better for them to abstain [from this]: and God is all-hearing, all-knowing.
[ALL OF YOU, O believers, are brethren: 85 hence,] no blame attaches to the blind, nor does blame attach to the lame, nor does blame attach to the sick [for accepting charity from the hale], and neither to your-selves for eating [whatever is offered to you by others, whether it be food obtained] from your [chil-dren's] houses, 86 or your fathers' houses, or your mothers' houses, or your brothers' houses, or your sisters' houses, or your paternal uncles' houses, or your paternal aunts' houses, or your maternal uncles' houses, or your maternal aunts' houses, or [houses] the keys whereof are in your charge, 87 or [the house] of any of your friends; nor will you incur any sin by eating in company or separately. But whenever you enter [any of these] houses, greet one another with a blessed, goodly greeting, as enjoined by God. In this way God makes clear unto you His messages, so that you might [learn to] use your reason.
[TRUE] BELIEVERS are only they who have attained to faith in God and His Apostle, and who, whenever they are [engaged] with him upon a matter of concern to the whole community, 88 do not depart [from whatever has been decided upon] unless they have sought [and obtained] his leave. 89 Verily, those who [do not abstain from the agreed-upon action unless they] ask leave of thee - it is [only] they who [truly] believe in God and His Apostle! Hence, when they ask leave of thee for some [valid] reason of their own, grant thou this leave to whomsoever of them thou choose [to grant it], 90 and ask God to forgive them: for, behold, God is much -forgiving a dispenser of grace! 91
DO NOT regard the Apostle's summons to you 92 [in the same light] as a summons of one of you to another: God is indeed aware of those of you who would withdraw surreptitiously: so let those who would go against His bidding beware, lest a [bitter] trial befall them [in this world] or grievous suffering befall them [in the life to come].
Oh, verily, unto God belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth: well does He know where you stand and at what you aim! 93 And one Day, all [who have ever lived] will be brought back unto Him, and then He will make them [truly] understand all that they were doing [in life]: for, God has full knowledge of everything.