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CONSIDER these [messages] ranged in serried ranks,1
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and restraining [from evil] by a call to restraint,
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and conveying [to all the world] a reminder:
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Verily, most surely, your God is One
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the Sustainer of the heavens and the earth and of all that is between them, and the Sustainer of all the points of sunrise! 2
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Behold, We have adorned the skies nearest to the earth with the beauty of stars,
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and have made them secure against every rebellious, satanic force,3
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[so that] they [who seek to learn the unknowable] should not be able to overhear the host on high,4 but shall be repelled from all sides,
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cast out [from all grace], with lasting suffering in store for them [in the life to come];
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but if anyone5 does succeed in snatching a glimpse [of such knowledge], he is [henceforth! Dursued bv a piercing flame.6
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AND NOW ask those [who deny the truth] to enlight-en thee: Were they more difficult to create than all those [untold marvels] that We have created?-for, behold, them have We created out of [mere] clay commingled with water!7
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Nay, but whereas thou cost marvel,8 they [only] scoff;
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and when they are reminded [of the truth], they refuse to take it to heart;
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and when they become aware of a [divine] message, they turn it to ridicule
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and say: "This is clearly nothing but [a mortal's] spellbinding eloquence!
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Why-after we have died and become mere dust and bones, shall we, forsooth, be raised from the dead? -
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and perhaps also our forebears of old?"
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Say: "Yea, indeed-and most abject will you then be!" -
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for that [resurrection which they deride] will be [upon them of a sudden, as if it were] but a single accusing cry - and then, lo! they will begin to see [the truth]
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and will say: "Oh, woe unto us! This is the Day of Judgment!"
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[And they will be told:] "This is the Day of Distinction [between the true and the false9 the Day] which you were wont to call a lie!"
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[And God will thus command:] "Assemble all those who were bent on evildoing, together with others of their ilk10 and [with] all that they were wont to worship
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instead of God, and lead them all onto the way to the blazing fire,
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and halt them [there]!" [And then,] behold, they shall be asked,
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"How is it that [now] you cannot succour one another?"
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Nay, but on that Day they would willingly surrender [to God];
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but [since it will be too late,] they will turn upon one another, demanding of each other [to relieve them of the burden of their past sins].11
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Some [of them] will say: "Behold; you were wont to approach us [deceptively] from the right!"12
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[To which] the others will reply: "Nay, you yourselves were bereft of all faith!
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Moreover, we had no power at all over you: nay, you were people filled with overweening arrogance!
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But now our Sustainer's word has come true against us [as well]: verily, we are bound to taste [the fruit of our sins].
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So then, [if it be true that] we have caused you to err grievously - behold, we ourselves had been lost in grievous error!"13
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And, verily, on that Day they all will share in their common suffering.
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Verily, thus shall We deal with all who were lost in sin:
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for, behold, whenever they were told, "There is no deity save God," they would glory in their arrogance
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and would say, "Shall we, then, give up our deities at the bidding of a mad poet?"14
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Nay, but he [whom you call a mad poet] has brought the truth; and he confirms the truth of [what the earlier of God's] message-bearers [have taught.15
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Behold, you will indeed taste grievous suffering [in the life to come],
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although you shall not be requited for aught but what you were wont to do.
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Not so, however, God's true servants:16
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[in the hereafter,] theirs shall be a sustenance which they will recognize17
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as the fruits [of their life on earth]; and honoured shall they be
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in gardens of bliss.
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facing one another lin love] upon thrones of happiness.18
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A cup will be passed round among them [with a drink] from unsullied springs,
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clear, delightful to those who drink it:
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no headiness will be in it, and they will not get drunk thereon.
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And with them will be mates of modest gaze,19 most beautiful of eye,
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[as free of faults] as if they were hidden [ostrich] eggs.20
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And they will all turn to one another, asking each other [about their past lives].21
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One of them speaks thus: "Behold, I had [on earth] a close companion
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who was wont to ask [me], 'Why - art thou really one of those who believe it to be true
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[that] after we have died and become mere dust and bones we shall, forsooth, be brought to judgment?'"
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[And] he adds: "Would you like to look [and see him]?"
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and then he looks and sees that [companion of his] in the midst of the blazing fire,
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and says: "By God! Verily, thou hast almost destroyed me [too, O my erstwhile companion] -
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for had it not been for my Sustainer's favour, I would surely be [now] among those who are given over [to suffering]!
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But then, [O my friends in paradise,] is it [really] so that we are not to die
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[again,] beyond our previous death, and that we shall never lanainl be made to suffer?
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Verily, this - this indeed-is the triumph supreme!"
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For the like of this, then, let them labour, those who labour [in God's way]!
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Is such [a paradise] the better welcome - or the [hellish] tree of deadly fruit?22
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Verily, We have caused it to be a trial for evildoers:23
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for, behold, it is a tree that grows in the very heart of the blazing fire [of hell],
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its fruit [as repulsive] as satans' heads;24
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and they [who are lost in evil] are indeed bound to eat thereof, and to fill their bellies therewith.
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And, behold, above all this they will be confounded with burning des-pair!25
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And once again:26 Verily, the blazing fire is their ultimate goal -
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for, behold, they found their forebears on a wrong way,
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and [now] they make haste to follow in their footsteps!27
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Thus, indeed, most of the people of old went astray before them,
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although, verily, We had sent warners unto them:
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and behold what happened in the end to those that had been warned [to no avail]!
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EXCEPT for God's true servants, [most people are apt to go astray].28
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And, indeed, [it was for this reason that] Noah cried unto Us - and how excellent was Our response:
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for We saved him and his household from that awesome calamity,29
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and caused his offspring to endure [on earth];
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and We left him thus to be remembered30 among later generations:
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Peace be upon Noah throughout all the worlds!"
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Verily, thus do We reward the doers of good-
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for he was truly one of our believing servants:
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[and so We saved him and those who followed him] and then We caused the others to drown.
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AND, BEHOLD, of his persuasion was Abraham, too,
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when he turned to his Sustainer with a heart free of evil,
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and [thus] spoke to his father and his people: "What is it that you worship?
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Do you want [to bow down before] a lie - [before] deities other than God?
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What, then, do you think of the Sustainer of all the worlds?"31
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Then he cast a glance at the stars,32
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and said, "Verily, I am sick [at heart]!" 33
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and at that they turned their backs on him and went away.
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Thereupon he approached their gods stealthily and said, "What! You do not eat [of the offerings placed before you]?
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What is amiss with you that you do not speak?"
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And then he fell upon them, smiting them with his right hand.34
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[But] then the others came towards him hur-riedly [and accused him of his deed].
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He answered: "Do you worship something that you [yourselves] have carved,
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the while it is God who has created you and all your handiwork?"
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They exclaimed: "Build a pyre35 for him, and cast him into the blazing fire!"
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But whereas they sought to do evil unto him, We [frustrated their designs, and thus] brought them low 36
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And [Abraham] said: "Verily, I shall [leave this land and] go wherever my Sustainer will guide me!"37
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[And he prayed:] "O my Sustainer! Bestow upon me the gift of [a son who shall be] one of the righteous!"-
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whereupon We gave him the glad tiding of a boy-child gentle [like himself].38
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And [one day,] when [the child] had become old enough to share in his [father's] endeavours39 the latter said: "O my dear son! I have seen in a dream that I should sacrifice thee: consider, then, what would be thy view!" [Ishmael] answered: "O my father! Do as thou art bidden: thou wilt find me, if God so wills, among those who are patient in adversity!"
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But as soon as the two had surrendered themselves to [what they thought to be] the will of God,40 and [Abraham] had laid him down on his face,
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We called out to him: "O Abraham,
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thou hast already fulfilled [the purpose of] that dream-vision!"41 Thus, verily, do We reward the doers of good:
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for, behold, all this was indeed a trial, clear in it ,elf.42
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And We ransomed him with a tremendous sacrifice,43
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and left him thus to be remembered among later generations:44
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"Peace be upon Abraham!"
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Thus do We reward the doers of good-
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for he was truly one of our believing servants.
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And [in time] We gave him the glad tiding of Isaac, [who, too, would be] a prophet, one of the righteous;
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and We blessed him and Isaac: but among the offspring of these two there were [des-tined] to be both doers of good and such as would glaringly sin against themselves.45
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THUS, INDEED, did We bestow Our favour upon Moses and Aaron;46
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and We saved them and their people from the awesome calamity [of bondage],
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and succoured them, so that [in the end] it was they who achieved victory.
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And We gave them the divine writ that made [right and wrong] distinct,47
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and guided them the straight way,
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and left them thus to be remem-bered among later generations:
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"Peace be upon Moses and Aaron!"
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Thus do We reward the doers of good-
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for those two were truly among Our believing ser-vants.
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AND, BEHOLD, Elijah [too] was indeed one of Our message-bearers48
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when he spoke [thus] to his people: "Will you not remain conscious of God?
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Will you invoke Baal and forsake [God,] the best of artisans49 -
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God, your Sustainer and the Sustainer of your forebears of old?"
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But they gave him the lie: and therefore they will most surely be arraigned [on Judgment Day],
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excepting only [those who were] God's true servants;
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and him We left thus to be remem-bered among later generations:
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"Peace be upon Elijah and his followers!"50
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Verily, thus do We reward the doers of good
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for he was truly one of Our believing servants!
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AND, BEHOLD, Lot was indeed one of Our mes-sage-bearers;
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[and so,] when [We decreed the doom of his sinful town,51 ] We saved him; and his household,
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except an old woman who was among those that stayed behind;52
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and then We utterly destroyed the others:
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and, verily, [tO this day] you pass by the remnants of their dwellings53 at morning-time
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and by night. Will you not, then, use your reason?
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AND, BEHOLD, Jonah was indeed one of Our mes-sage-bearers
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when he fled like a runaway slave onto a laden ship.54
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And then they cast lots, and he was the one who lost;55
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[and they cast him into the sea,] whereupon the great fish swallowed him, for he had been blameworthy.56
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And had he not been of' those who [even in the deep darkness of their distress are able to] extol God's limitless glory,57
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he would indeed have remained in its belly till the Day when all shall be raised from the dead:
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but We caused him to be cast forth on a desert shore, sick [at heart] as he was,
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and caused a creeping plant to grow over him [out of the barren soil].58
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And [then] We sent him [once again] to [his people,] a hundred thousand [souls] or more:
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and [this time] they believed [in him]59 -and so We allowed them to enjoy their life during the time allotted to them.60
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AND NOW ask them61 to enlighten thee: Has thy Sustainer daughters, whereas they would have [only] sons?62
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- or is it that We have created the angels female, and they [who believe them to be divine] have witnessed [that act of creation]?
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Oh, verily, it is out of their own [inclination to] falsehood that some people63 assert,
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"God has begotten [a son]"; and, verily, they are Iying [too, when they say],
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"He has chosen daughters in preference to sons"!64
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What is amiss with you and your judgment?65
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Will you not, then, bethink yourselves?
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Or have you, perchance, a clear evidence [for your assertions]?
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Produce, then, that divine writ of yours, if you are speaking the truth!
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And some people66 have invented a kinship between Him and all manner of invisible forces67 -although [even] these invisible forces know well that, verily, they [who thus blaspheme against God] shall indeed be arraigned [before Him on Judgment Day:68 for]
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limitless is God in His glory, above anything that men may devise by way of definition!69
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Not thus, however, [behave] God's true ser-vants:
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for, verily, neither you [blasphemers] nor the objects of your worship
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can cause anyone to fall prey to your temptation
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unless it be such as rushes towards the blazing fire [of his own accord]!70
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[All forces of nature praise God and say:71 ] "Among us, too, there is none but has a place assigned to it [by Him];
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and, verily, we too are ranged [before Him in worship];
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and, verily, we too extol His limitless elory!"
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AND, INDEED, they [who deny the truth] have always been wont to say,
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"If only we had a tradition Ito this effectl from our forebears,72
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we would certainly be true servants of God."
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And yet, [now that this divine writ has been placed before them,] they refuse to acknowledge it as true! In time, however, they will come to know [what it was that they had rejected]:
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for, long ago has Our word gone forth unto Our servants, the message-bearers,
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that, verily, they-they indeed-would be succoured,
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and that, verily, Our hosts - they indeed-would [in the end] be victorious!
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Hence, turn thou aside for a while from those [who deny the truth],
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and see them [for what they are];73 and in time they [too] will come to see [what they do not see now].74
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Do they, then, [really] wish that Our chas-tisement be hastened on?75
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But then, once it alights upon them, hapless will be the awakening of those who were warned [to no avail]!76
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Hence, turn thou aside for a while from them,
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and see [them for what they are]; and in time they [too] will come to see [what they do not see now].
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LIMITLESS in His glory is thy Sustainer, the Lord of almightiness, [exalted] above anything that men may devise by way of definition!
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And peace be upon all His message-bearers!
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And all praise is due to God alone, the Sustainer of all the worlds!