A Medinan sura encouraging the believers to stick together in support of God’s cause (hence the title of the sura, cf. verse 4). It criticizes those who broke their word (verse 3) and those who argued against the faith (verses 7–8). Moses and Jesus are cited as examples of prophets whose communities were divided: the rebellious were left to stray and the faithful granted success (verses 5–6, 14). The rewards of those who strive in God’s cause are described in some detail (verses 11–13).
In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy
God Does Not Guide Rebellious People
1 Everything in the heavens and earth glorifies God––He is the Almighty, the Wise. 2 You who believe, why do you say things and then do not do them? [a] 3 It is most hateful to God that you say things and then do not do them; 4 God truly loves those who fight in solid lines for His cause, like a well-compacted wall.
5 Moses said to his people, ‘My people, why do you hurt me when you know that I am sent to you by God?’ When they went astray, God left their hearts to stray: God does not guide rebellious people. 6 Jesus, son of Mary, said, ‘Children of Israel, I am sent to you by God, confirming the Torah that came before me and bringing good news of a messenger to follow me whose name will be Ahmad.’ [b] Yet when he came to them with clear signs, they said, ‘This is obviously sorcery.’
7 Who could be more wrong than someone who invents lies against God when called to submit to Him? God does not guide the wrongdoers: 8 they wish to put His light out with their mouths. But He will perfect His light, even though the disbelievers hate it; 9 it is He who sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth to show that it is above all [other] religions, even though the idolaters hate it.
Believers Are God's Helpers
10 You who believe, shall I show you a bargain [c] that will save you from painful torment? 11 Have faith in God and His Messenger and struggle for His cause with your possessions and your persons––that is better for you, if only you knew– 12 and He will forgive your sins, admit you into Gardens graced with flowing streams, into pleasant dwellings in the Gardens of Eternity. That is the supreme triumph. 13 And He will give you something else that will really please you: His help and an imminent breakthrough. [Prophet], give the faithful the good news. 14 You who believe, be God’s helpers. As Jesus, son of Mary, said to the disciples, ‘Who will come with me to help God?’ The disciples said, ‘We shall be God’s helpers.’ Some of the Children of Israel believed and some disbelieved: We supported the believers against their enemy and they were the ones who came out on top.
a. Some asked to fight, but when God ordained fighting they failed to do so.
b. Ahmad, like Muhammad, means ‘praised’ (for his good character).
c. Literally ‘a trade’.
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.