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Quran Chapter 40 [part 1] - The Forgiver - Signs and Revelations, An Excellent Speech

A Meccan sura with two recurring themes: disputing God’s truth (verses 4, 35, 69) and calling upon Him (verses 14, 49, 50, 60, 65, 73). In the opening verses God is described as the Forgiver, and the Accepter of repentance, yet severe in punishment, and this dual aspect is exemplified in the sura. The central section of the sura deals with the story of Pharaoh and Moses (verses 23–54): the destruction of one and victory of the other are stated in verses 45 and 51. The Prophet is, in his turn, urged to be steadfast and to ignore the taunts of the disbelievers (verses 55 and 77).

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

Signs and Revelations

1 Ha Mim

2 This Scripture is sent down from God, the Almighty, the All Knowing, 3 Forgiver of sins and Accepter of repentance, severe in punishment, infinite in bounty. There is no god but Him; to Him is the ultimate return. 4 It is only the disbelievers who dispute God’s revelations. [Prophet], do not be dazzled by their movements back and forth across the land. [a] 5 Before them the people of Noah rejected the truth and so did those who formed opposition after them: every community schemed to destroy its messenger and strove to refute truth with falsehood; but it was I who destroyed them. How terrible My punishment was! 6 In this way your Lord’s sentence was passed against the disbelievers that they would be the inhabitants of the Fire.

7 Those [angels] who carry the Throne and those who surround it celebrate the praise of their Lord and have faith in Him. They beg forgiveness for the believers: ‘Our Lord, You embrace all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who turn to You and follow Your path. Save them from the pains of Hell 8 and admit them, Lord, to the lasting Gardens You have promised to them, together with their righteous ancestors, [b] spouses, and offspring: You alone are the Almighty, the All Wise. 9 Protect them from all evil deeds: those You protect on that Day from [the punishment for] evil deeds will receive Your mercy– that is the supreme triumph.’ 10 But those who disbelieved will be told, ‘When you were called to the faith and rejected it, God’s disgust with you was even greater then than the self-disgust you feel [today].’ 11 They will say, ‘Our Lord, twice You have caused us to be lifeless [c] and twice You have brought us to life. Now we recognize our sins. Is there any way out?’ 12 [They will be told], ‘This is all because when God alone was invoked you rejected this, yet when others were associated with Him you believed [in them].’ Judgement belongs to God the Most High, the Most Great.

An Excellent Speech

13 It is He who shows you [people] His signs and sends water down from the sky to sustain you, though only those who turn to God will take heed. 14 So call upon God and dedicate your religion to Him alone, however hateful this may be to the disbelievers: 15 He is exalted in rank, the Lord of the Throne. He sends revelations with His teachings to whichever of His servants He will, in order to warn of the Day of Meeting, 16 the Day when they will come out and nothing about them will be concealed from God. ‘Who has control today?’ ‘God, the One, the All Powerful. 17 Today each soul will be rewarded for whatever it has done; today no injustice will be done. God is swift in reckoning.’

18 Warn them [Prophet] of the ever-approaching Day, when hearts are at throats, choking them. The evildoer will have no friends, nor any intercessor to be heeded. 19 God is aware of the most furtive of glances, and of all that hearts conceal: 20 God will judge with truth, while those they invoke besides Him will not judge at all. God is the All Hearing, the All Seeing.

21 Have they not travelled through the land and seen how those who lived before them met their end? They were stronger than them and made a more impressive mark on the land, yet God destroyed them for their sins– they had no one to defend them against Him– 22 because messengers repeatedly came to them with clear signs and still they rejected them. God destroyed them: He is truly full of strength, severe in punishment.

23 We sent Moses with Our signs and clear authority 24 to Pharaoh, Haman, and Korah and they said, ‘Sorcerer! Liar!’ 25 When he brought the truth to them from Us, they said, ‘Kill the sons of those who believe with him; spare only their women’– the scheming of those who reject the truth can only go wrong– 26 and Pharaoh said, ‘Leave me to kill Moses– let him call upon his Lord!– for I fear he may cause you to change your religion, or spread disorder in the land.’ 27 Moses said, ‘I seek refuge with my Lord and yours from every tyrant who refuses to believe in the Day of Reckoning.’

28 A secret believer from Pharaoh’s family said, ‘How can you kill a man just for saying, “My Lord is God”? He has brought you clear signs from your Lord– if he is a liar, on his own head be it– and if he is truthful, then at least some of what he has threatened will happen to you. God does not guide any rebellious, outrageous liar. 29 My people, as masters in the land you have the power today, but who will help us against God’s might if it comes upon us?’ But Pharaoh said, ‘I have told you what I think; I am guiding you along the right path.’

30 The believer said, ‘My people, I fear your fate will be the fate of those others who opposed [their prophets]: 31 the fate of the people of Noah, Ad, Thamud, and those who came after them– God never wills injustice on His creatures. 32 My people, I fear for you on the Day you will cry out to one another, 33 the Day you will turn tail and flee with no one to defend you from God! Whoever God leaves to stray will have no one to guide him. 34 Joseph came to you before with clear signs, but you never ceased to doubt the message he brought you. When he died, you said, “God will not send another messenger.”’

In this way God leaves the doubting rebels to stray– 35 those who dispute God’s messages, with no authority given to them, are doing something that is loathed by God and by those who believe. In this way God seals up the heart of every arrogant tyrant. 36 Pharaoh said, ‘Haman, build me a tall tower so that I may reach the ropes [d] that lead 37 to the heavens to look for this God of Moses. I am convinced that he is lying.’ In this way the evil of Pharaoh’s deed was made alluring to him and he was barred from the right path– his scheming led only to ruin.

38 The believer said, ‘My people, follow me! I will guide you to the right path. 39 My people, the life of this world is only a brief enjoyment; it is the Hereafter that is the lasting home. 40 Whoever does evil will be repaid with its like; whoever does good and believes, be it a man or a woman, will enter Paradise and be provided for without measure. 41 My people, why do I call you to salvation when you call me to the Fire? 42 You call me to disbelieve in God and to associate with Him things of which I have no knowledge; I call you to the Mighty, the Forgiving One. 43 There is no doubt that what you call me to serve is not fit to be invoked either in this world or the Hereafter: our return is to God alone, and it will be the rebels who will inhabit the Fire. 44 [One Day] you will remember what I am saying to you now, so I commit my case to God: God is well aware of His servants.’ 45 So God saved him from the harm they planned.


a. Making wealth by trading.

b. The word aba' includes male and female ancestors. Father and mother are called abawan.

c. Literally ‘dead’, leading some commentators to interpret this as referring to one’s initial death, followed shortly thereafter by a second ‘death’ after questioning in the grave. The more generally accepted view, however, is that earthly life is both preceded and succeeded by a state of lifelessness. The two acts of giving life therefore refer to birth and resurrection.

d. Cf. 22: 15, where sabab has the meaning ‘rope’.

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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