Quran Chapter 30 [part 1] - The Romans - Promise that Believers Gain Victory, Signs From God, Faith
The Meccan sura opens with a reference to the defeat of the Byzantines at the hands of the Persians (613–14 ce) in Syria, and the subsequent victory of the Byzantines in 624 ce. The sura urges people to reflect on the creation of themselves, the heavens and earth, and all God’s wonders. God’s power to give life to a barren land is repeated as an indication both of His ability to raise the dead and of His mercy to mankind. The disbelievers are warned to believe before it is too late; the Prophet is urged to persevere and to ignore the taunts of the disbelievers.
In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy
Promise for the Believers to Gain Victory
1 Alif Lam Mim
2 The Byzantines have been defeated 3 in a nearby land. They will reverse their defeat with a victory 4 in a few years’ time [a] ––God is in command, first and last. On that day, the believers will rejoice 5 at God’s help. He helps whoever He pleases: He is the Mighty, the Merciful. 6 This is God’s promise: God never breaks His promise, but most people do not know; 7 they only know the outer surface of this present life and are heedless of the life to come. 8 Have they not thought about their own selves? [b] God did not create the heavens and earth and everything between them without a serious purpose and an appointed time, yet many people deny that they will meet their Lord.
9 Have they not travelled through the land and seen how their predecessors met their end? They were mightier than them: they cultivated the earth more and built more upon it. Their own messengers also came to them with clear signs: God did not wrong them; they wronged themselves. 10 Later the evildoers met a terrible end for rejecting and [repeatedly] mocking God’s revelations. 11 God brings creation into being; in the end He will reproduce it and it is to Him you will be recalled.
12 On the Day the Hour arrives, the guilty will despair 13 and they will have no intercessors among those partners they ascribed to God– they will deny these partners. 14 When the Hour arrives, on that Day people will be separated: 15 those who believed and did good deeds will delight in a Garden, 16 while those who disbelieved and denied Our messages and the meeting of the Hereafter will be brought for punishment.
17 So celebrate God’s glory in the evening, in the morning– 18 praise is due to Him in the heavens and the earth– in the late afternoon, and at midday. 19 He brings the living out of the dead and the dead out of the living. He gives life to the earth after death, and you will be brought out in the same way.
Signs From God
20 One of His signs is that He created you from dust and– lo and behold!– you became human and scattered far and wide. 21 Another of His signs is that He created spouses from among yourselves for you to live with in tranquility: He ordained love and kindness between you. There truly are signs in this for those who reflect. 22 Another of His signs is the creation of the heavens and earth, and the diversity of your languages and colors. There truly are signs in this for those who know. 23 Among His signs are your sleep, by night and by day, and your seeking His bounty. There truly are signs in this for those who can hear. 24 Among His signs, too, are that He shows you the lightning that terrifies and inspires hope; that He sends water down from the sky to restore the earth to life after death. There truly are signs in this for those who use their reason. 25 Among His signs, too, is the fact that the heavens and the earth stand firm by His command. In the end, you will all emerge when He calls you from the earth. 26 Everyone in the heavens and earth belongs to Him, and all are obedient to Him. 27 He is the One who originates creation and will do it again– this is even easier for Him. He is above all comparison in the heavens and earth; He is the Almighty, the All Wise.
28 He gives you this example, drawn from your own lives: do you make your slaves full partners with an equal share in what We have given you? Do you fear them as you fear each other? This is how We make Our messages clear to those who use their reason. 29 And still the idolaters follow their own desires without any knowledge. Who can guide those God leaves to stray, who have no one to help them?
Devote Yourselves to Faith
30 So [Prophet] as a man of pure faith, stand firm and true in your devotion to [c] the religion. This is the natural disposition God instilled in mankind– there is no altering God’s creation– and this is the right religion, though most people do not realize it. 31 Turn to Him alone, all of you. Be mindful of Him; keep up the prayer; do not join those who ascribe partners to God, 32 those who divide their religion into sects, with each party rejoicing in their own. 33 When something bad happens to people, they cry to their Lord and turn to Him for help, but no sooner does He let them taste His blessing than– lo and behold!– some of them ascribe partners to their Lord, 34 showing no gratitude for what We have given them. ‘Take your pleasure! You will come to know.’ 35 Did We send them down any authority that sanctions the partners they ascribe to God?
a. When fortunes were reversed and the Byzantines won a victory, this was to please the believers. This was also the year of the Muslim victory at Badr. The earlier defeat of the Byzantines had been viewed by the Meccan pagans as a victory for paganism.
b. Or ‘within’ themselves. See also 41: 53.
c. Literally ‘set your face to’.
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.