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Quran Chapter 37 [part 1] - Those Ranged in Rows - God is One, Disbelievers, Scenes from the Past

The central point of this Meccan sura is the unity of God (verses 4 and 180–2) and the refutation of the pagan belief that the angels were daughters of God and worthy of worship. The angels themselves are quoted to refute this (verses 164–6). The prophethood of Muhammad, is affirmed, as is the Hereafter. There are two supporting sections: the scenes in the Hereafter (verses 19–68) and the stories of earlier prophets (verses 75–148).


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


God is One


1 By those [angels] ranged in rows [a], 2 who rebuke reproachfully 3 and recite God’s word, 4 truly your God is One, 5 Lord of the heavens and earth and everything between them, Lord of every sunrise. 6 We have adorned the lowest heaven with stars, 7 and made them a safeguard against every rebellious devil: 8 they cannot eavesdrop on the Higher Assembly [b] ––pelted from every side, 9 driven away, they will have perpetual torment–– 10 if any [of them] stealthily snatches away a fragment, [c] he will be pursued by a piercing flame.


The Disbelievers


11 So [Prophet], ask the disbelievers: is it harder to create them than other beings We have created? [d] We created them from sticky clay. 12 You marvel as they scoff, 13 take no heed when they are warned, 14 and resort to ridicule when they see a sign, 15 saying, ‘This is no more than blatant sorcery.’ 16 ‘What! After we have died and become dust and bones, shall we really be raised up again, 17 along with our forefathers?’ 18 Say, ‘Yes indeed, and you will be humiliated.’ 19 Just one blast and––lo and behold!––they will look 20 and say, ‘Woe to us! This is the Day of Judgement.’ 21 [It will be said], ‘This is the Day of Decision, which you used to deny. 22 [Angels], gather together those who did wrong, and others like them, as well as whatever they worshipped 23 beside God, lead them all to the path of Hell, 24 and halt them for questioning: 25 “Why do you not support each other now?” ’–– 26 no indeed! They will be in complete submission on that Day–– 27 and they will turn on one another accusingly.


28 They will say, ‘You came to us from a position of power.’ [e] 29 They will say, ‘No! It was you who would not believe– 30 we had no power over you– and you were already exceeding all limits. 31 Our Lord’s sentence on us is just and we must all taste the punishment. 32 We led you astray as we ourselves were astray.’ 33 On that Day they will all share the torment: 34 this is how We deal with the guilty. 35 Whenever it was said to them, ‘There is no deity but God,’ they became arrogant, 36 and said, ‘Are we to forsake our gods for a mad poet?’ 37 ‘No: he brought the truth and confirmed the earlier messengers; 38 you will taste the painful torment, 39 and be repaid only according to your deeds.’


Paradise or Hell?


40 Not so God’s true servants. 41 They will have familiar provisions [f] –– 42 fruits– and will be honored 43 in gardens of delight; 44 seated on couches, facing one another. 45 A drink will be passed round among them from a flowing spring: 46 white, delicious to those who taste it, 47 causing no headiness or intoxication. 48 With them will be spouses– modest of gaze and beautiful of eye– 49 like protected eggs. [g]


50 They will turn to one another with questions: 51 one will say, ‘I had a close companion on earth 52 who used to ask me, “Do you really believe that 53 after we die and become dust and bone, we shall be brought for judgement?”’ 54 Then he will say, ‘Shall we look for him?’ 55 He will look down and see him in the midst of the Fire, 56 and say to him, ‘By God, you almost brought me to ruin! 57 Had it not been for the grace of my Lord, I too would have been taken to Hell.’ 58 Then he will say [to his blessed companions], ‘Are we never to die again after our earlier death? 59 Shall we never suffer? 60 This truly is the supreme triumph!’ 61 Everyone should strive to attain this. 62 Is this the better welcome, or the tree of Zaqqum, 63 which we have made a test for the evildoers? 64 This tree grows in the heart of the blazing Fire, [h] 65 and its fruits are like devils’ heads. 66 They will fill their bellies eating from it; 67 then drink scalding water on top of it; 68 then return to the blazing Fire. 69 They found their forefathers astray, 70 and rushed to follow in their footsteps– before the disbelievers [of Mecca], 71 most men in the past went astray, 72 even though We sent messengers to warn them. 73 See how those who were warned met their end! 74 Not so the true servants of God.


Footnotes


a. Cf. 37: 165–6; 78: 38.

b. Of angels.

c. Of something he overheard.

d. Cf. 40: 57.

e. The Arabic expression ‘from the right-hand side’ conveys the meaning of being in the right or approaching from the most honorable angle, or with power and influence (see verse 30).

f. See 2: 25.

g. Arabs described beautiful women as being as precious as the ostrich eggs they protected from the dust with feathers.

h. The disbelievers said, scornfully, ‘How can there be a tree in the Fire?’


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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