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Quran Chapter 5 [part 3] - The Feast - Obligation to Judge by What God has Revealed

41 Messenger, do not be grieved by those who race to surpass one another in disbelief– those who say with their mouths, ‘We believe,’ but have no faith in their hearts, and the Jews who listen eagerly to lies and to those who have not even met you, who distort the meanings of [revealed] words and say [to each other], ‘If you are given this ruling, accept it, but if you are not, then beware!’ [a] ––if God intends some people to be so misguided, you will be powerless against God on their behalf. These are the ones whose hearts God does not intend to cleanse– a disgrace for them in this world, and then a heavy punishment in the Hereafter– 42 they listen eagerly to lies and consume what is unlawful. If they come to you [Prophet] for judgement, you can either judge between them, or decline– if you decline, they will not harm you in any way, but if you do judge between them, judge justly: God loves the just– 43 but why do they come to you for judgement when they have the Torah with God’s judgement, and even then still turn away? These are not believers. 44 We revealed the Torah with guidance and light, and the prophets, who had submitted to God, judged according to it for the Jews. So did the rabbis and the scholars in accordance with that part of God’s Scripture which they were entrusted to preserve, and to which they were witnesses. So [rabbis and scholars] do not fear people, fear Me; do not barter away My messages for a small price; those who do not judge according to what God has sent down are rejecting [God’s teachings]. 45 In the Torah We prescribed for them a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, an equal wound for a wound: if anyone forgoes this out of charity, it will serve as atonement for his bad deeds. Those who do not judge according to what God has revealed are doing grave wrong.

46 We sent Jesus, son of Mary, in their footsteps, to confirm the Torah that had been sent before him: We gave him the Gospel with guidance, light, and confirmation of the Torah already revealed– a guide and lesson for those who take heed of God. 47 So let the followers of the Gospel judge according to what God has sent down in it. Those who do not judge according to what God has revealed are lawbreakers.

48 We sent to you [Muhammad] the Scripture with the truth, confirming the Scriptures that came before it, and with final authority over them: so judge between them according to what God has sent down. Do not follow their whims, which deviate from the truth that has come to you. We have assigned a law and a path to each of you. If God had so willed, He would have made you one community, but He wanted to test you through that which He has given you, so race to do good: you will all return to God and He will make clear to you the matters you differed about. 49 So [Prophet] judge between them according to what God has sent down. Do not follow their whims, and take good care that they do not tempt you away from any of what God has sent down to you. If they turn away, remember that God intends to punish them for some of the sins they have committed: a great many people are lawbreakers. 50 Do they want judgement according to the time of pagan ignorance? Is there any better judge than God for those of firm faith?


a. According to most interpreters, this refers to a case where an eminent Jewish man and woman committed adultery. The Jewish community did not want to apply the biblical penalty of stoning, so they sent representatives to the Prophet to ask for a ruling, saying, ‘If he orders you to apply lashing accept it, but if he orders stoning, do not accept it’ (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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