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Quran Chapter 23 [part 1] - The Believers - Rewards of the Believers, Prophet’s Call to God’s Path

A Meccan sura which stresses that the believers are the ones who will succeed, whereas the disbelievers will be punished for their arrogance and derision. Several proofs are given of God’s Oneness and His power, and the inevitability of the Resurrection is emphasized.

In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy

Rewards of the Believers

1 [How] prosperous are the believers! 2 Those who pray humbly, 3 who shun idle talk, 4 who pay the prescribed alms, 5 who guard their chastity 6 except with their spouses or their slaves [a] ––with these they are not to blame, 7 but anyone who seeks more than this is exceeding the limits–– 8 who are faithful to their trusts and pledges 9 and who keep up their prayers, 10 will rightly be given 11 Paradise as their own, [b] there to remain.

12 We created man from an essence of clay, 13 then We placed him as a drop of fluid in a safe place, 14 then We made that drop into a clinging form, and We made that form into a lump of flesh, and We made that lump into bones, and We clothed those bones with flesh, and later We made him into other forms [c] ––glory be to God, the best of creators!–– 15 then you will die 16 and then, on the Day of Resurrection, you will be raised up again.

17 We created seven levels [d] above you: We are never unmindful of Our creation. 18 We sent water down from the sky in due measure and lodged it in the earth––We have the power to take it all away if We so wish–– 19 with it We produced for you gardens of date palms and vines, with many fruits there for you to eat, 20 and a tree, growing out of Mount Sinai, that produces oil and seasoning for your food. 21 There is a lesson for you in livestock: We produce milk for you to drink from their bellies. And they have many other benefits: you eat them 22 and you ride on them, as you do in ships.

Prophet’s Call to God’s Path

23 We sent Noah to his people. He said, ‘My people, serve God, for He is your only god. Will you not heed Him?’ 24 But the leading disbelievers among his people said, ‘He is merely a mortal like you, trying to gain some superiority over you. God would have sent down angels if He had wished; besides, we never heard of anything like this from our forefathers. 25 He is just a madman, so let’s wait and see what happens to him.’ 26 Noah said, ‘My Lord, help me! They call me a liar,’ 27 and so We revealed to him: ‘Build the Ark under Our watchful eye and according to Our revelation. When Our command comes and water gushes up out of the earth, [e] take pairs of every species on board, and your family, except for those on whom the sentence has already been passed– do not plead with me for the evildoers: they will be drowned– 28 and when you and your companions are settled on the Ark, say, “Praise be to God, who delivered us from the wicked people,” 29 and say, “My Lord, let me land with Your blessing: it is You who provide the best landings”.’ 30 There are signs in all this: We have always put [people] to the test.

31 Then We raised another generation after them, 32 and sent one of their own as a messenger: ‘Serve God, for He is your only god. Will you not heed Him?’ 33 But the leading disbelievers among his people, who denied the Meeting in the Hereafter, to whom We had granted ease and plenty in this life, said, ‘He is just a mortal like you– he eats what you eat and drinks what you drink– 34 and you will really be losers if you obey a mortal like yourselves. 35 How can he promise you that after you die and become dust and bones you will be brought out alive? 36 What you are promised is very farfetched. 37 There is only the life of this world: we die, we live, [f] but we will never be resurrected. 38 He is just a man making lies up about God. We will never believe in him.’ 39 The prophet said, ‘My Lord, help me! They call me a liar,’ 40 and so God said, ‘Soon they will be filled with regret.’ 41 The blast justly struck them and We swept them away like scum. Away with the evildoers! 42 We raised other generations after them– 43 no community can advance or delay its time– 44 and We sent Our messengers in succession: whenever a messenger came to a community they invariably called him a liar, so We destroyed them one after the other and made them into cautionary tales. Away with the disbelievers!

45 Then We sent Moses and his brother Aaron, with Our signs and clear authority, 46 to Pharaoh and his prominent leaders, but they responded with arrogance: they were a haughty people. 47 They said, ‘Are we to believe in two mortals like us? And their people are our servants?’ 48 and so they called them both liars: they became another ruined people. 49 We gave Moses the Scripture, so that they [g] might be rightly guided. 50 We made the son of Mary and his mother a sign; We gave them shelter on a peaceful hillside with flowing water. [h]

51 Messengers, eat good things and do good deeds: I am well aware of what you do. 52 This community of yours is one– and I am your Lord: be mindful of Me– 53 but they have split their community into sects, each rejoicing in their own. 54 So [Muhammad] leave them for a while steeped [in their ignorance]. 55 Do they reckon that, by giving them wealth and sons, 56 We race to give them good things? They really have no idea! 57 Those who stand in awe of their Lord, 58 who believe in His messages, 59 who do not ascribe partners to Him, 60 who always give with hearts that tremble at the thought that they must return to Him, 61 are the ones who race toward good things, and they will be the first to get them. 62 We do not burden any soul with more than it can bear– We have a Record that tells the truth– they will not be wronged.


a. Cf. 4: 25.

b. Literally ‘will be the heirs to “inherit” Paradise’, but they do not inherit from anyone who dies.

c. Razi quotes Ibn Abbas to explain ‘other forms’ as referring to all the various stages of infancy, childhood, and maturity––cf. 22: 5; 40: 67.

d. Tara'iq: ‘levels (of heaven)’ or ‘highways’ (Razi).

e. Literally ‘the furnace boils over’.

f. Razi interprets this order to mean successive generations.

g. ‘His people’––Moses was given the Scripture later, so ‘they’ only refers to the children of Israel.

h. Where Mary gave birth; see 19: 22–6.

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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