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Quran Chapter 4 [part 3] - The Women - Prayer and Those Cursed, Obey God and His Messengers

43 You who believe, do not come anywhere near the prayer if you are intoxicated, [a] not until you know what you are saying; nor if you are in a state of major ritual impurity– though you may pass through the mosque [b] – not until you have bathed; if you are ill, on a journey, have relieved yourselves, or had intercourse, and cannot find any water, then find some clean sand [c] and wipe your faces and hands with it. God is always ready to pardon and forgive.

44 [Prophet], have you not considered how those who were given a share of the Scripture purchase misguidance and want you [believers], too, to lose the right path? 45 God knows your enemies best: God is enough to protect and to help you. 46 Some Jews distort the meaning of [revealed] words: they say, ‘We hear and disobey,’ and ‘Listen,’ [adding the insult] ‘May you not hear,’ and ‘Raina [Look at us],’ [d] twisting it abusively with their tongues so as to disparage religion. If they had said, ‘We hear and obey,’ ‘Listen,’ and ‘Unzurna [Look at us],’ that would have been better and more proper for them. But God has spurned them for their defiance; they believe very little.

47 People of the Book, believe in what We have sent down to confirm what you already have before We wipe out [your sense of ] direction, [e] turning you back, or reject you, as We rejected those who broke the Sabbath: God’s will is always done. 48 God does not forgive the joining of partners with Him: anything less than that He forgives to whoever He will, but anyone who joins partners with God has concocted a tremendous sin. 49 [Prophet], have you considered those who claim purity for themselves? No! God purifies whoever He will: no one will be wronged by as much as the husk of a date stone. 50 See how they invent lies about God, this in itself is a flagrant sin! 51 Do you not see how those given a share of the Scripture, [evidently] now believe in idols and evil powers? They say of the disbelievers, ‘They are more rightly guided than the believers.’ [f] 52 Those are the ones God has rejected: you [Prophet] will not find anyone to help those God has rejected. 53 Do they have any share of what He possesses? If they did they would not give away so much as the groove of a date stone. 54 Do they envy [other] people for the bounty [g] God has granted them? We gave the descendants of Abraham the Scripture and wisdom– and We gave them a great kingdom– 55 but some of them believed in it [h] and some turned away from it. Hell blazes fiercely enough. 56 We shall send those who reject Our revelations to the Fire. When their skins have been burned away, We shall replace them with new ones so that they may continue to feel the pain: God is mighty and wise. 57 As for those who believe and do good deeds, We shall admit them into Gardens graced with flowing streams and there they will remain forever. They will have pure spouses there, and We shall admit them into cool refreshing shade.

Obey God and His Messengers

58 God commands you [people] to return things entrusted to you to their rightful owners, and, if you judge between people, to do so with justice: God’s instructions to you are excellent, for He hears and sees everything. 59 You who believe, obey God and the Messenger, and those in authority among you. If you are in dispute over any matter, refer it to God and the Messenger, if you truly believe in God and the Last Day: that is better and fairer in the end. 60 Do you [Prophet] not see those who claim to believe in what has been sent down to you, and in what was sent down before you, yet still want to turn to unjust tyrants [i] for judgement, although they have been ordered to reject them? Satan wants to lead them far astray. 61 When they are told, ‘Turn to God’s revelations and the Messenger [for judgement],’ you see the hypocrites turn right away from you [Prophet]. 62 If disaster strikes them because of what they themselves have done, then they will come to you, swearing by God, ‘We only wanted to do good and achieve harmony.’ 63 God knows well what is in the hearts of these people, so ignore what they say, instruct them, and speak to them about themselves using penetrating words.

64 All the messengers We sent were meant to be obeyed, by God’s leave. If only [the hypocrites] had come to you [Prophet] when they wronged themselves, and begged God’s forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found that God accepts repentance and is most merciful. 65 By your Lord, they will not be true believers until they let you decide between them in all matters of dispute, and find no resistance in their souls to your decisions, accepting them totally– 66 if We had ordered, ‘Lay down your lives’ or ‘Leave your homes,’ they would not have done so, except for a few– it would have been far better for them and stronger confirmation of their faith, if they had done as they were told, 67 and We would have given them a rich reward of Our own 68 and guided them to a straight path. 69 Whoever obeys God and the Messenger will be among those He has blessed: the messengers, the truthful, those who bear witness to the truth, [j] and the righteous– what excellent companions these are! 70 That is God’s favor. No one knows better than Him.


a. The prohibition of intoxicants was introduced by stages, and they were eventually made completely unlawful. Cf. 2: 219; 5: 90–1.

b. or ‘unless you are on a journey’.

c. The term sa'id means dust or earth or soil or sand.

d. Cf. note to 2: 104.

e. Literally ‘obliterate faces’. Another meaning of wujuh (faces) is ‘directions’ (Razi).

f. This is taken to refer to an actual event in which a group of disbelieving Meccans went to two eminent Jewish figures for counsel on the truth of Muhammad’s teachings and were told that the pagans were more rightly guided than the Muslims.

g. i.e. the Prophethood given to Muhammad.

h. The pronoun hi here refers to either (i) the Scripture or (ii) Abraham.

i. The Arabic taghut is variously interpreted to refer to idols, a specific tyrant, an oracle, or an opponent of the Prophet.

j. Martyrs bear witness to the truth with their lives (Razi).

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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