38 Believers, why, when it is said to you, ‘Go and fight in God’s way,’ do you feel weighed down to the ground? Do you prefer this world to the life to come? How small the enjoyment of this world is, compared with the life to come! 39 If you do not go out and fight, God will punish you severely and put others in your place, but you cannot harm Him in any way: God has power over all things. 40 Even if you do not help the Prophet, God helped him when the disbelievers drove him out: when the two of them [a] were in the cave, he [Muhammad] said to his companion, ‘Do not worry, God is with us,’ and God sent His calm down to him, aided him with forces invisible to you, and brought down the disbelievers’ plan. God’s plan is higher: God is almighty and wise. 41 So go out, no matter whether you are lightly or heavily armed, and struggle in God’s way with your possessions and your persons: this is better for you, if you only knew. 42 They would certainly have followed you [Prophet] if the benefit was within sight and the journey short, but the distance seemed too great for them. They will swear by God, ‘If we could, we certainly would go out [to battle] with you,’ but they ruin themselves, for God knows that they are lying.
43 God forgive you [Prophet]! Why did you give them permission to stay at home before it had become clear to you which of them spoke the truth and which were liars? 44 Those who have faith in God and the Last Day do not ask you for exemption from struggle with their possessions and their persons– God knows exactly who is mindful of Him– 45 only those who do not have faith in God and the Last Day ask your permission to stay at home: they have doubt in their hearts and so they waver. 46 If they had really wanted to go out [to battle] with you, they would have made preparations, but God was loath to let them rise up and made them hold back. It was said, ‘Stay with those who stay behind.’ 47 They would only have given you trouble if they had gone out [to battle] with you: they would have scurried around, trying to sow discord among you, and some of you would willingly have listened to them– God knows exactly who does evil. 48 Indeed, they had tried before that to stir up discord: they devised plots against you [Prophet] until the truth was exposed and God’s will triumphed, much to their disgust. 49 Some of them said, ‘Give me permission to stay at home: do not trouble me.’ They are already in trouble: Hell will engulf the disbelievers. 50 If you [Prophet] have good fortune, it will grieve them, but if misfortune comes your way, they will say to themselves, ‘We took precautions for this,’ and go away rejoicing. 51 Say, ‘Only what God has decreed will happen to us. He is our Master: let the believers put their trust in God.’ 52 Say, ‘Do you expect something other than one of the two best things to happen to us? [b] Well, we expect God to inflict punishment on you, either from Himself or at our hands. So wait; we too are waiting.’ 53 Say, ‘Whether you give willingly or unwillingly, what you give will not be accepted, for you are disobedient people.’ 54 The only thing that prevents what they give from being accepted is the fact that they defy God and His Messenger, perform the prayer only lazily, and give only grudgingly. 55 So [Prophet] do not let their possessions or their children impress you: through these God intends to punish them in this world and for their souls to depart while they disbelieve.
56 They swear by God that they belong with you [believers], but they do not. They are cowardly: 57 if they could find a place of refuge, or a cave, or somewhere to crawl into, they would run there with great haste. 58 Some of them find fault with you [Prophet] regarding the distribution of alms: they are content if they are given a share, but angry if not. 59 If only they would be content with what God and His Messenger have given them, and say, ‘God is enough for us– He will give us some of His bounty and so will His Messenger– to God alone we turn in hope.’ 60 Alms are meant only for the poor, the needy, those who administer them, those whose hearts need winning over, to free slaves and help those in debt, for God’s cause, and for travelers in need. This is ordained by God; God is all knowing and wise.
61 There are others who insult the Prophet by saying, ‘He will listen to anything.’ Say, ‘He listens for your own good: he believes in God, trusts the believers, and is a mercy for those of you who believe.’ An agonizing torment awaits those who insult God’s Messenger. 62 They swear by God in order to please you [believers]: if they were true believers it would be more fitting for them to please God and His Messenger. 63 Do they not know that whoever opposes God and His Messenger will go to the Fire of Hell and stay there? That is the supreme disgrace.
64 The hypocrites fear that a sura will be revealed exposing what is in their hearts– say, ‘Carry on with your jokes: God will bring about what you fear!’– 65 yet if you were to question them, they would be sure to say, ‘We were just chatting, just amusing ourselves.’ Say, ‘Were you making jokes about God, His Revelations, and His Messenger? 66 Do not try to justify yourselves; you have gone from belief to disbelief.’ We may forgive some of you, but We will punish others: they are evildoers. 67 The hypocrites, both men and women, are all the same: they order what is wrong and forbid what is right; they are tight-fisted. They have ignored God, so He has ignored them. [c] The hypocrites are the disobedient ones. 68 God promises the Fire of Hell as a permanent home for the hypocrites, both men and women, and the disbelievers: this is enough for them. God rejects them and a lasting punishment awaits them. 69 ‘You [d] are like those who lived before you: they were even stronger than you, with more wealth and children; they enjoyed their share in this life as you have enjoyed yours; like them, you have indulged in idle talk.’ Their deeds go to waste in this world and the next; it is they who will lose all in the life to come. 70 Have they never heard the stories about their predecessors, the peoples of Noah, Ad, Thamud, Abraham, Midian, and the ruined cities? Their messengers came to them with clear evidence of the truth: God would not deceive them; they deceived themselves.
a. The Prophet and his companion Abu Bakr.
b. Victory or reward in the next world.
c. See note to 7: 51.
d. Another example of iltifat: God turns to address them.
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.