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WHEN THE SKY is split asunder,1
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obeying its Sustainer, as in truth it must;
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and when the earth is levelled,2
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and casts forth whatever is in it, and becomes utterly void,3
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obeying its Sustainer, as in truth it must -:
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[then,] O man - thou [that] hast, verily, been toiling towards thy Sustainer in painful toil4 - then shalt thou meet Him!
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And as for him whose record shall be placed in his right hand,5
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he will in time be called to account with an easy accounting,
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and will [be able to] turn joyfully to those of his own kind.6
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But as for him whose record shall be given to him behind his back,7
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he will in time pray for utter destruction:
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but he will enter the blazing flame.
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Behold, [in his earthly life] he lived joyfully among people of his own kind8 -
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for, behold, he never thought that he would have to return [to God].
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Yea indeed! His Sustainer did see all that was in him!
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BUT NAY! I call to witness the sunset's [fleeting] afterglow,
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and the night, and what it [step by step] unfolds,
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and the moon, as it grows to its fullness:9
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[even thus, O men,] are you bound to move onward from stage to stage.10
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What, then, is amiss with them that they will not believe [in a life to come]?11 -
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and [that], when the Qur'an is read unto them, they do not fall down in prostration?12
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Nay, but they who are bent on denying the truth give the lie [to this divine writ]!
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Yet God has full knowledge of what they conceal [in their hearts].13
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Hence, give them the tiding of grievous suffering [in the life to come] -
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unless it be such [of them] as [repent, and] attain to faith, and do good works: for theirs shall be a reward unending!