All praise is for Allah Who has revealed the Book to His servant,1 allowing no crookedness in it,
˹making it˺ perfectly upright, to warn ˹the disbelievers˺ of a severe torment from Him; to give good news to the believers—who do good—that they will have a fine reward,
in which they will remain forever;
and to warn those who claim, “Allah has offspring.”1
They have no knowledge of this, nor did their forefathers. What a terrible claim that comes out of their mouths! They say nothing but lies.
Now, perhaps you ˹O Prophet˺ will grieve yourself to death over their denial, if they ˹continue to˺ disbelieve in this message.
We have indeed made whatever is on earth as an adornment for it, in order to test which of them is best in deeds.
And We will certainly reduce whatever is on it to barren ground.
Have you ˹O Prophet˺ thought that the people of the cave and the plaque1 were ˹the only˺ wonders of Our signs?
˹Remember˺ when those youths took refuge in the cave, and said, “Our Lord! Grant us mercy from Yourself and guide us rightly through our ordeal.”
So We caused them to fall into a dead sleep1 in the cave for many years,
then We raised them so We may show which of the two groups would make a better estimation of the length of their stay.1
We relate to you ˹O Prophet˺ their story in truth. They were youths who truly believed in their Lord, and We increased them in guidance.
And We strengthened their hearts when they stood up and declared, “Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth. We will never call upon any god besides Him, or we would truly be uttering an outrageous lie.”
˹Then they said to one another,˺ “These people of ours have taken gods besides Him. Why do they not produce a clear proof of them? Who then does more wrong than those who fabricate lies against Allah?
Since you have distanced yourselves from them and what they worship besides Allah, take refuge in the cave. Your Lord will extend His mercy to you and accommodate you in your ordeal.”
And you would have seen the sun, as it rose, inclining away from their cave to the right, and as it set, declining away from them to the left, while they lay in its open space.1 That is one of the signs of Allah. Whoever Allah guides is truly guided. But whoever He leaves to stray, you will never find for them a guiding mentor.
And you would have thought they were awake,1 though they were asleep. We turned them over, to the right and left, while their dog stretched his forelegs at the entrance. Had you looked at them, you would have certainly fled away from them, filled with horror.
And so We awakened them so that they might question one another. One of them exclaimed, “How long have you remained ˹asleep˺?” Some replied, “Perhaps a day, or part of a day.” They said ˹to one another˺, “Your Lord knows best how long you have remained. So send one of you with these silver coins of yours to the city, and let him find which food is the purest, and then bring you provisions from it. Let him be ˹exceptionally˺ cautious, and do not let him give you away.
For, indeed, if they find out about you, they will stone you ˹to death˺, or force you back into their faith, and then you will never succeed.”
That is how We caused them to be discovered so that their people might know that Allah’s promise ˹of resurrection˺ is true and that there is no doubt about the Hour.1 When the people disputed with each other about the case of the youth ˹after their death˺,2 some proposed, “Build a structure around them. Their Lord knows best about them.” Those who prevailed in the matter said, “We will surely build a place of worship over them.”
Some will say, “They were three, their dog was the fourth,” while others will say, “They were five, their dog was the sixth,” ˹only˺ guessing blindly. And others will say, “They were seven and their dog was the eighth.” Say, ˹O Prophet,˺ “My Lord knows best their ˹exact˺ number. Only a few people know as well.” So do not argue about them except with sure knowledge,1 nor consult any of those ˹who debate˺ about them.
And never say of anything, “I will definitely do this tomorrow,”
without adding, “if Allah so wills!” But if you forget, then remember your Lord, and say, “I trust my Lord will guide me to what is more right than this.”
They had remained in their cave for three hundred years, adding nine.1
Say, ˹O Prophet,˺ “Allah knows best how long they stayed. With Him ˹alone˺ is ˹the knowledge of˺ the unseen of the heavens and the earth. How perfectly He hears and sees! They have no guardian besides Him, and He shares His command with none.”
Recite what has been revealed to you from the Book of your Lord. None can change His Words, nor can you find any refuge besides Him.
And patiently stick with those who call upon their Lord morning and evening, seeking His pleasure.1 Do not let your eyes look beyond them, desiring the luxuries of this worldly life. And do not obey those whose hearts We have made heedless of Our remembrance, who follow ˹only˺ their desires and whose state is ˹total˺ loss.
And say, ˹O Prophet,˺ “˹This is˺ the truth from your Lord. Whoever wills let them believe, and whoever wills let them disbelieve.” Surely We have prepared for the wrongdoers a Fire whose walls will ˹completely˺ surround them. When they cry for aid, they will be aided with water like molten metal, which will burn ˹their˺ faces. What a horrible drink! And what a terrible place to rest!
As for those who believe and do good, We certainly never deny the reward of those who are best in deeds.
It is they who will have the Gardens of Eternity, with rivers flowing under their feet. There they will be adorned with bracelets of gold, and wear green garments of fine silk and rich brocade, reclining there on ˹canopied˺ couches. What a marvellous reward! And what a fabulous place to rest!
Give them ˹O Prophet˺ an example of two men. To ˹the disbelieving˺ one We gave two gardens of grapevines, which We surrounded with palm trees and placed ˹various˺ crops in between.
Each garden yielded ˹all˺ its produce, never falling short. And We caused a river to flow between them.
And he had other resources1 ˹as well˺. So he boasted to a ˹poor˺ companion of his, while conversing with him, “I am greater than you in wealth and superior in manpower.”
And he entered his property, while wronging his soul, saying, “I do not think this will ever perish,
nor do I think the Hour will ˹ever˺ come. And if in fact I am returned to my Lord, I will definitely get a far better outcome than ˹all˺ this.”
His ˹believing˺ companion replied, while conversing with him, “Do you disbelieve in the One Who created you from dust,1 then ˹developed you˺ from a sperm-drop, then formed you into a man?
But as for me: He is Allah, my Lord, and I will never associate anyone with my Lord ˹in worship˺.
If only you had said, upon entering your property, ‘This is what Allah has willed! There is no power except with Allah!’ Even though you see me inferior to you in wealth and offspring,
perhaps my Lord will grant me ˹something˺ better than your garden, and send down upon your garden a thunderbolt from the sky, turning it into a barren waste.
Or its water may sink ˹into the earth˺, and then you will never be able to seek it out.”
And so all his produce was ˹totally˺ ruined, so he started to wring his hands for all he had spent on it, while it had collapsed on its trellises. He cried, “Alas! I wish I had never associated anyone with my Lord ˹in worship˺!”
And he had no manpower to help him against Allah, nor could he ˹even˺ help himself.
At this time, support comes ˹only˺ from Allah—the True ˹Lord˺. He is best in reward and best in outcome.
And give them a parable of this worldly life. ˹It is˺ like the plants of the earth, thriving when sustained by the rain We send down from the sky. Then they ˹soon˺ turn into chaff scattered by the wind. And Allah is fully capable of ˹doing˺ all things.
Wealth and children are the adornment of this worldly life, but the everlasting good deeds are far better with your Lord in reward and in hope.1
˹Beware of˺ the Day We will blow the mountains away, and you will see the earth laid bare. And We will gather all ˹humankind˺, leaving none behind.
They will be presented before your Lord in rows, ˹and the deniers will be told,˺ “You have surely returned to Us ˹all alone˺ as We created you the first time, although you ˹always˺ claimed that We would never appoint a time for your return.”
And the record ˹of deeds˺ will be laid ˹open˺, and you will see the wicked in fear of what is ˹written˺ in it. They will cry, “Woe to us! What kind of record is this that does not leave any sin, small or large, unlisted?” They will find whatever they did present ˹before them˺. And your Lord will never wrong anyone.
And ˹remember˺ when We said to the angels, “Prostrate before Adam,” so they all did—but not Iblîs,1 who was one of the jinn, but he rebelled against the command of his Lord. Would you then take him and his descendants as patrons instead of Me, although they are your enemy? What an evil alternative for the wrongdoers ˹to choose˺!
I never called them to witness the creation of the heavens and the earth or ˹even˺ their own creation, nor would I take the misleaders as helpers.
And ˹beware of˺ the Day He will say, “Call upon those you claimed were My associate-gods.” So they will call them, but will receive no response. And We will make them ˹all˺ share in the same doom.
The wicked will see the Fire and realize that they are bound to fall into it, and will find no way to avoid it.
We have surely set forth in this Quran every ˹kind of˺ lesson for people, but humankind is the most argumentative of all beings.
And nothing prevents people from believing when guidance comes to them and from seeking their Lord’s forgiveness except ˹their demand˺ to meet the same fate of earlier deniers or that the torment would confront them face to face.
We do not send the messengers except as deliverers of good news and warners. But the disbelievers argue in falsehood, ˹hoping˺ to discredit the truth with it, and make a mockery of My revelations and warnings.
And who does more wrong than those who, when reminded of their Lord’s revelations, turn away from them and forget what their own hands have done? We have certainly cast veils over their hearts—leaving them unable to comprehend this ˹Quran˺—and deafness in their ears. And if you ˹O Prophet˺ invite them to ˹true˺ guidance, they will never be ˹rightly˺ guided.
Your Lord is the All-Forgiving, Full of Mercy. If He were to seize them ˹immediately˺ for what they commit, He would have certainly hastened their punishment. But they have an appointed time, from which they will find no refuge.
Those ˹are the˺ societies We destroyed when they persisted in wrong,1 and We had set a time for their destruction.
And ˹remember˺ when Moses said to his young assistant, “I will never give up until I reach the junction of the two seas, even if I travel for ages.”1
But when they ˹finally˺ reached the point where the seas met, they forgot their ˹salted˺ fish, and it made its way into the sea, slipping away ˹wondrously˺.
When they had passed further, he said to his assistant, “Bring us our meal! We have certainly been exhausted by today’s journey.”
He replied, “Do you remember when we rested by the rock? ˹That is when˺ I forgot the fish. None made me forget to mention this except Satan. And the fish made its way into the sea miraculously.”1
Moses responded, “That is ˹exactly˺ what we were looking for.”1 So they returned, retracing their footsteps.
There they found a servant of Ours, to whom We had granted mercy from Us and enlightened with knowledge of Our Own.
Moses said to him, “May I follow you, provided that you teach me some of the right guidance you have been taught?”
He said, “You certainly cannot be patient ˹enough˺ with me.
And how can you be patient with what is beyond your ˹realm of˺ knowledge?”
Moses assured ˹him˺, “You will find me patient, Allah willing, and I will not disobey any of your orders.”
He responded, “Then if you follow me, do not question me about anything until I ˹myself˺ clarify it for you.”
So they set out, but after they had boarded a ship, the man made a hole in it. Moses protested, “Have you done this to drown its people? You have certainly done a terrible thing!”
He replied, “Did I not say that you cannot have patience with me?”
Moses pleaded, “Excuse me for forgetting, and do not be hard on me.”
So they proceeded until they came across a boy, and the man killed him. Moses protested, “Have you killed an innocent soul, who killed no one? You have certainly done a horrible thing.”
He answered, “Did I not tell you that you cannot have patience with me?”
Moses replied, “If I ever question you about anything after this, then do not keep me in your company, for by then I would have given you enough of an excuse.”
So they moved on until they came to the people of a town. They asked them for food, but the people refused to give them hospitality. There they found a wall ready to collapse, so the man set it right. Moses protested, “If you wanted, you could have demanded a fee for this.”
He replied, “This is the parting of our ways. I will explain to you what you could not bear patiently.
“As for the ship, it belonged to some poor people, working at sea. So I intended to damage it, for there was a ˹tyrant˺ king ahead of them who seizes every ˹good˺ ship by force.
“And as for the boy, his parents were ˹true˺ believers, and we1 feared that he would pressure them into defiance and disbelief.
So we hoped that their Lord would give them another, more virtuous and caring in his place.
“And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and under the wall was a treasure that belonged to them, and their father had been a righteous man. So your Lord willed that these children should come of age and retrieve their treasure, as a mercy from your Lord. I did not do it ˹all˺ on my own. This is the explanation of what you could not bear patiently.”1
They ask you ˹O Prophet˺ about Ⱬul-Qarnain. Say, “I will relate to you something of his narrative.”1
Surely We established him in the land, and gave him the means to all things.
So he travelled a course,
until he reached the setting ˹point˺ of the sun, which appeared to him to be setting in a spring of murky water, where he found some people. We said, “O Ⱬul-Qarnain! Either punish them or treat them kindly.”
He responded, “Whoever does wrong will be punished by us, then will be returned to their Lord, Who will punish them with a horrible torment.
As for those who believe and do good, they will have the finest reward, and we will assign them easy commands.”
Then he travelled a ˹different˺ course
until he reached the rising ˹point˺ of the sun. He found it rising on a people for whom We had provided no shelter from it.1
So it was. And We truly had full knowledge of him.
Then he travelled a ˹third˺ course
until he reached ˹a pass˺ between two mountains. He found in front of them a people who could hardly understand ˹his˺ language.
They pleaded, “O Ⱬul-Qarnain! Surely Gog and Magog1 are spreading corruption throughout the land. Should we pay you tribute, provided that you build a wall between us and them?”
He responded, “What my Lord has provided for me is far better. But assist me with resources, and I will build a barrier between you and them.
Bring me blocks of iron!” Then, when he had filled up ˹the gap˺ between the two mountains, he ordered, “Blow!” When the iron became red hot, he said, “Bring me molten copper to pour over it.”
And so the enemies could neither scale nor tunnel through it.
He declared, “This is a mercy from my Lord. But when the promise of my Lord comes to pass, He will level it to the ground. And my Lord’s promise is ever true.”
On that Day, We will let them1 surge ˹like waves˺ over one another. Later, the Trumpet will be blown,2 and We will gather all ˹people˺ together.
On that Day We will display Hell clearly for the disbelievers,
those who turned a blind eye to My Reminder1 and could not stand listening ˹to it˺.
Do the disbelievers think they can ˹simply˺ take My servants1 as lords instead of Me? We have surely prepared Hell as an accommodation for the disbelievers.
Say, ˹O Prophet,˺ “Shall we inform you of who will lose the most deeds?
˹They are˺ those whose efforts are in vain in this worldly life, while they think they are doing good!”
It is they who reject the signs of their Lord and their meeting with Him, rendering their deeds void, so We will not give their deeds any weight on Judgment Day.
That is their reward: Hell, for their disbelief and mockery of My signs and messengers.
Indeed, those who believe and do good will have the Gardens of Paradise1 as an accommodation,
where they will be forever, never desiring anywhere else.
Say, ˹O Prophet,˺ “If the ocean were ink for ˹writing˺ the Words of my Lord, it would certainly run out before the Words of my Lord were finished, even if We refilled it with its equal.”
Say, ˹O Prophet,˺ “I am only a man like you, ˹but˺ it has been revealed to me that your God is only One God. So whoever hopes for the meeting with their Lord, let them do good deeds and associate none in the worship of their Lord.”
i.e., Jesus in Christianity and the angels in Arab pagan tradition.
Ar-Raqîm is the plaque that was placed at the entrance of the cave with the names and story of the People of the Cave. This is the story of a group of Christian youths who hid inside a cave outside the city of Ephesus around 250 C.E., to escape persecution at the hands of pagans during the reign of the Roman emperor Decius. The Quran does not give an exact number of the youths, although many scholars believe there were seven in addition to a dog. The youths slept for 300 years, plus nine (300 solar years equal 309 lunar years).
lit., We cast a cover of ˹deep˺ sleep over their ears.
The People of the Cave themselves disagreed on how long they had slept in the cave. See 18:19.
While they slept in the open space of the cave, fresh air blew through the cave, but they were protected from the heat of the sun.
This is because, during their long sleep, their eyes were open, their hair grew long, and their bodies rolled over to the right and left to prevent bedsores.
Their antique silver coins gave them away. People rushed to the cave to greet the youths, who finally passed away and were buried in the cave. The King decided to build a place of worship at the cave to commemorate their story.
Some pagans suggested that a wall should be built to seal off the cave, whereas the believers decided to build a place of worship at the cave to honour those youths.
Based on what has been revealed in the Quran.
Three hundred years in the Gregorian calendar equal three hundred and nine years in the Islamic lunar calendar.
lit., seeking His Face.
The word “thamar” can mean fruits, gold and silver, etc.
Created your father, Adam, from dust.
This refers to good deeds that will benefit the believer in the Hereafter such as prayers or praises of Allah such as saying: ‘Subḥâna-Allâh’ (Glory be to Allah), ‘Alḥamdulillâh’ (Praise be to Allah), ‘Lâ ilâha illa-Allâh’ (There is no god ˹worthy of worship˺ except Allah), and ‘Allâhu akbar’ (Allah is the Greatest).
See footnote for 2:34.
i.e., the peoples of ’Ȃd and Thamûd.
It is reported in an authentic narration collected by Bukhâri that a man approached Moses after he gave a talk and asked him, “Who is the most knowledgeable person on earth?” Moses responded, “That would be me!” So Allah revealed to Moses that he should not have said this and there was in fact someone who was more knowledgeable than him. Moses was commanded to travel to meet this man, named Al-Khaḍir, at the junction of the two seas (which could be the northern part of Sinai between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, or the Southern part of Sinai where the Rea Sea splits into the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba).
Another possible translation: “The ˹salted˺ fish must have made its way into the sea. How strange!”
Moses was given a sign: when he and his assistant Joshua (or Yûsha’ ibn Nûn) lost their food (a salted fish), this would be the place where they would find the man of knowledge.
This is the royal ‘we’.
The Prophet (ﷺ) commented on the story, “I wish Moses had been more patient so we can learn more from that wise man.”
This is the story of a righteous king who travelled far and wide. He is titled Ⱬul-Qarnain (lit., the man of the two horns) because of his journeys to the far east and far west (or the two horns/points of sunrise and sunset). Some believe Ⱬul-Qarnain was Alexander the Great, but this is not sound since Alexander the Great was a polytheist. Many scholars believe it was Abu Kuraib Al-Ḥamiri, a righteous king from Yemen.
They either had no clothes or homes to protect them from the sun.
Gog and Magog are two wild peoples who were sealed off by a barrier built by Ⱬul-Qarnain to stop them from raiding their peaceful neighbours. There are many speculations as to their location, but none is supported by reliable sources. Their coming out is mentioned in 21:96-97 as one of the major signs of the final Hour.
Gog and Magog.
On the Day of Judgment, the Trumpet will be blown by an angel—causing all to die. When it is blown a second time, everyone will be raised from the dead to be assembled for the Judgment (see 39:68).
i.e., the Quran.
i.e., Jesus, Ezra, and the angels.
Al-Firdaws, the highest place in Paradise.