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Quran Chapter 18 [part 3] - The Cave - Dhul Qarnayn, Worship is for God Alone

83 [Prophet], they ask you about Dhu ’l-Qarnayn. [a] Say, ‘I will tell you something about him.’ 84 We established his power in the land, and gave him the means to achieve everything. 85 He travelled on a certain road; 86 then, when he came to the setting of the sun, he found it [seemed to be] setting into a muddy spring. Nearby he found some people and We said, ‘Dhu ’l-Qarnayn, you may choose [which of them] to punish or show kindness to.’ 87 He answered, ‘We shall punish those who have done evil, and when they are returned to their Lord He will punish them [even more] severely, 88 while those who believed and did good deeds will have the best of rewards: we shall command them to do what is easy for them.’ 89 He travelled on; 90 then, when he came to the rising of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom We had provided no shelter from it. 91 And so it was: We knew all about him.

92 He travelled on; 93 then, when he reached a place between two mountain barriers, he found beside them a people who could barely understand him. 94 They said, ‘Dhu ’l-Qarnayn, Gog and Magog are ruining this land. Will you build a barrier between them and us if we pay you a tribute?’ 95 He answered, ‘The power my Lord has given me is better than any tribute, but if you lend me your strength, I will put up a fortification between you and them: 96 bring me lumps of iron!’ and then, when he had filled the gap between the two mountainsides [he said], ‘Work your bellows!’ and then, when he had made it glow like fire, he said, ‘Bring me molten metal to pour over it!’ 97 Their enemies could not scale the barrier, nor could they pierce it, 98 and he said, ‘This is a mercy from my Lord. But when my Lord’s promise is fulfilled, He will raze this barrier to the ground: my Lord’s promise always comes true.’ 99 On that Day, We shall let them surge against each other like waves and then the Trumpet will be blown and We shall gather them all together. 100 We shall show Hell to the disbelievers, 101 those whose eyes were blind to My signs, those who were unable to hear. 102 Did they think that they could take My servants as masters instead of Me? We have prepared Hell as the disbelievers’ resting place.

Worship is for God Alone

103 Say [Prophet], ‘Shall we [b] tell you who has the most to lose by their actions, 104 whose efforts in this world are misguided, even when they think they are doing good work? 105 It is those who disbelieve in their Lord’s messages and deny that they will meet Him.’ Their deeds come to nothing: on the Day of Resurrection We shall give them no weight. 106 Their recompense for having disbelieved and made fun of My messages and My messengers will be Hell. 107 But those who believe and do good deeds will be given the Gardens of Paradise. 108 There they will remain, never wishing to leave.

109 Say [Prophet], ‘If the whole ocean [c] were ink for writing the words of my Lord, it would run dry before those words were exhausted’– even if We were to add another ocean to it. 110 Say, ‘I am only a human being, like you, to whom it has been revealed that your God is One. Anyone who fears [d] to meet his Lord should do good deeds and give no one a share in the worship due to his Lord.


a. Literally ‘the two-horned one’, said by some to be Alexander the Great.

b. This ‘we’ presumably refers to the Prophet and his community of believers.

c. The term bahr refers to all wide expanses of water.

d. See note to 10: 7.

The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics)

The Qur'an / a new translation by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem, copyright © 2004 Oxford World's Classics (Oxford University Press). Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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