Nun. 1 CONSIDER the pen, and all that they write [therewith]! 2
Thou art not, by thy Sustainer's grace, a madman! 3
And, verily, thine shall be a reward neverending -
for, behold, thou keepest indeed to a sublime way of life; 4
and [one day] thou shalt see, and they [who now deride thee] shall see,
which of you was bereft of reason.
Verily, thy Sustainer alone is fully aware as to who has strayed from His path, just as He alone is fully aware of those who have found the right way.
Hence, defer not to [the likes and dislikes of] those who give the lie to the truth:
they would like thee to be soft [with them], so that they might be soft [with thee]. 5
Furthermore, 6 defer not to the contemptible swearer of oaths,
[or to] the slanderer that goes about with defaming tales,
[or] the withholder of good, [or] the sinful aggressor,
[or] one who is cruel, by greed possessed, 7 and, in addition to all this, utterly useless [to his fellow-men]. 8
Is it because he is possessed of worldly goods and children
that, whenever Our messages are conveyed to him, such a one says, "Fables of ancient times"? 9
[For this] We shall brand him with indelible disgrace! 10
[As for such sinners,] behold, We [but] try them 11 as We tried the owners of a certain garden who vowed that they would surely harvest its fruit on the morrow,
and made no allowance [for the will of God]: 12
whereupon a visitation from thy Sustainer came upon that [garden] while they were asleep,
so that by the morrow it became barren and bleak.
Now when they rose at early morn, they called unto one another,
"Go early to your tilth if you want to harvest the fruit!"
Thus they launched forth, whispering unto one another,
"Indeed, no needy person shall enter it today [and come] upon you [unawares]!" 13
- and early they went, strongly bent upon their purpose.
But as soon as they beheld [the garden and could not recognize] it, they exclaimed, "Surely we have lost our way!"
- [and then,] "Nay, but we have been rendered destitute!"
Said the most right-minded among them: "Did I not tell you, 'Will you not extol God's limitless glory?'" 14
They answered: "Limitless in His glory is our Sustainer! Verily, we were doing wrong!"
- and then they turned upon one another with mutual reproaches.
[In the end] they said: "Oh, woe unto us! Verily, we did behave outrageously!
[But] it may be that our Sustainer will grant us something better instead: 15 for, verily, unto our Sustainer do we turn with hope!"
SUCH is the suffering [with which We try some people in this world]; 16 but greater by far will be the suffering [which sinners shall have to bear] in the life to come - if they but knew it!
For, behold, it is the God-conscious [alone] whom gardens of bliss await with their Sustainer:
or should We, perchance, treat those who surrender themselves unto Us 17 as [We would treat] those who remain lost in sin?
What is amiss with you? 18 On what do you base your judgment [of right and wrong]?
Or have you perchance, a [special] divine writ which you study?
and in which you find all that you may wish to find? 19
Or have you received a solemn promise, binding on Us till Resurrection Day, that yours will assuredly be whatever you judge [to be your rightful due]?
Ask them which of them is able to vouch for this!
Or have they, perchance, any sages to support their views? 20 Well, then, if they are sincere in this their claim, let them produce those supporters of theirs
on the Day when man's very being shall be bared to the bone, 21 and when they [who now deny the truth] shall be called upon to prostrate themselves [before God], 22 and shall be unable to do so:
downcast will be their eyes, with ignominy overwhelming them - seeing that they had been called upon [in vain] to prostrate themselves [before Him] while they were yet sound [and alive].
Hence, leave Me alone with such as give the lie to this tiding. 23 We shall bring them low, step by step, without their perceiving how it has come about: 24
for, behold, though I may give them rein for a while, My subtle scheme is exceedingly firm! 25
Or is it that [they fear lest] thou ask them for a reward, [O Prophet,] so that they would be burdened with debt [if they listened to thee]?
Or [do they think] that the hidden reality [of all that exists] is within their grasp, so that [in time] they can write it down? 26
BEAR, THEN, with patience thy Sustainer's will, and be not like him of the great fish, who cried out [in distress] after having given in to anger. 27
[And remember:] had not grace from his Sustainer reached him, 28 he would indeed have been cast forth upon that barren shore in a state of disgrace: 29
but [as it was,] his Sustainer had elected him and placed him among the righteous.
Hence, [be patient,] even though they who are bent on denying the truth would all but kill thee with their eyes whenever they hear this reminder, and [though] they say, "[As for Muhammad,] behold, most surely he is a madman!"
[Be patient:] for this is nought else but reminder [from God] to all mankind.