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The Holy Quran, tr. by Yusuf Ali, [1934], at

p. 790

Sūra XX.

Ṭā-Hā. (Mystic Letters, Ṭ. H.)

In the name of God, Most Gracious,
Most Merciful.

1. Ṭā-Hā.

2. We have not sent down
The Qur-ān to thee to be
(An occasion) for thy distress,

3. But only as an admonition
To those who fear (God),—

4. A revelation from Him
Who created the earth
And the heavens on high.

5. (God) Most Gracious
Is firmly established
On the throne (of authority).

6. To Him belongs what is
In the heavens and on earth,
And all between them,
And all beneath the soil.

7. If thou pronounce the word
Aloud, (it is no matter):

p. 791

For verily He knoweth
What is secret and what
Is yet more hidden.

8. God! there is no god
But He! To Him belong
The Most Beautiful Names.

9. Has the story of Moses
Reached thee?

10. Behold, he saw a fire:
So he said to his family,

p. 792

"Tarry ye; I perceive
A fire; perhaps I can
Bring you some burning brand
Therefrom, or find some guidance
At the fire."

11. But when he came
To the fire, a voice
Was heard: "O Moses!

12. "Verily I am thy Lord!
Therefore (in My presence)
Put off thy shoes: thou art
In the sacred valley Ṭuwā

13. "I have chosen thee:
Listen, then, to the inspiration
(Sent to thee).

14. "Verily, I am God:
There is no god but I:
So serve thou Me (only),
And establish regular prayer
For celebrating My praise.

15. "Verily the Hour is coming—
My design is to keep it

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Hidden—for every soul
To receive its reward
By the measure of
Its Endeavour.

16. "Therefore let not such as
Believe not therein
But follow their own
Lusts, divert thee therefrom,
Lest thou perish!"…

17. "And what is that
In thy right hand,
O Moses?"

18. He said, "It is
My rod: on it
I lean; with it
I beat down fodder
For my flocks; and
In it I find
Other uses."

19. (God) said, "Throw it,
O Moses!"

20. He threw it, and behold!
It was a snake,
Active in motion.

p. 794

21. (God) said, "Seize it,
And fear not: We
Shall return it at once
To its former condition"…

22. "Now draw thy hand
Close to thy side:
It shall come forth white
(And shining), without harm
(Or stain),—as another Sign,—

23. "In order that We
May show thee
(Two) of our Greater Signs.

24. "Go thou to Pharaoh,
For he has indeed
Transgressed all bounds."


25. (Moses) said: "O my Lord!
Expand me my breast;

26. "Ease my task for me;

27. "And remove the impediment
From my speech,

28. "So they may understand
What I say:

p. 795

29. "And give me a Minister
From my family,

30. "Aaron, my brother;

31. "Add to my strength
Through him,

32. "And make him share
My task:

33. "That we may celebrate
Thy praise without stint,

34. "And remember Thee
Without stint:

35. "For Thou art He
That (ever) regardeth us."

36. (God) said: "Granted
Is thy prayer, O Moses!"

p. 796

37. "And indeed We conferred
A favour on thee
Another time (before).

38. "Behold! We sent
To thy mother, by inspiration,
The message:

39. "Throw (the child)
Into the chest, and throw
(The chest) into the river:
The river will cast him
Up on the bank, and he
Will be taken up by one
Who is an enemy to Me
And an enemy to him
But I cast (the garment
Of) love over thee from Me
And (this) in order that
Thou mayest be reared
Under Mine eye.

40. "Behold! thy sister goeth forth
And saith, "Shall I show you

p. 797

One who will nurse
And rear the (child)?
So We brought thee back
To thy mother, that her eye
Might be cooled and she
Should not grieve.
Then thou didst slay
A man, but We saved thee
From trouble, and We tried
Thee in various ways.
Then didst thou tarry
A number of years
With the people of Midian.
Then didst thou come hither
As ordained, O Moses!

41. "And I have prepared thee
For Myself (for service)"…

42. "Go, thou and thy brother,
With My Signs,

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And slacken not,
Either of you, in keeping
Me in remembrance.

43. "Go, both of you, to Pharaoh,
For he has indeed
Transgressed all bounds;

44. "But speak to him mildly;
Perchance he may take
Warning or fear (God)."

45. They (Moses and Aaron) said:
"Our Lord! We fear lest
He hasten with insolence
Against us, or lest he
Transgress all bounds."

46. He said: "Fear not:
For I am with you:
I hear and see (everything).

47. "So go ye both to him,
And say, "Verily we are
Apostles sent by thy Lord:
Send forth, therefore, the Children
Of Israel with us, and
Afflict them not:
With a Sign, indeed,
Have we come from thy Lord!

p. 799

And Peace to all
Who follow guidance!

48. "Verily it has been revealed
To us that the Penalty
(Awaits) those who reject
And turn away."

49. (When this message was delivered),
(Pharaoh) said: "Who, then,
O Moses, is the Lord
Of you two?"

50. He said: "Our Lord is
He Who gave to each
(Created) thing its form
And nature, and further,
Gave (it) guidance."

51. (Pharaoh) said: "What then
Is the condition
Of previous generations?"

p. 800

52. He replied: "The knowledge
Of that is with my Lord,
Duly recorded: my Lord
Never errs, nor forgets,—

53. "He Who has made for you
The earth like a carpet
Spread out; has enabled you
To go about therein by roads
(And channels); and has sent
Down water from the sky."
With it have We produced
Divers pairs of plants
Each separate front the others.

54. Eat (for yourselves) and pasture
Your cattle: verily, in this
Are Signs for men
Endued with understanding.


55. From the (earth) did We
Create you, and into it
Shall We return you,
And from it shall We
Bring you out once again"

56. And We showed Pharaoh
All Our Signs, but he
Did reject and refuse.

p. 80l

57. He said: "Hast thou come
To drive us out
Of our land with thy magic,
O Moses?

58. "But we can surely produce
Magic to match thine!
So make a tryst
Between us and thee,
Which we shall not fail
To keep—neither we nor thou—
In a place where both
Shall have even chances."

59. Moses said: "Your tryst
Is the Day of the Festival,
And let the people be assembled
When the sun is well up."

60. So Pharaoh withdrew:
He concerted his plan,
And then came (back).

61. Moses said to him:
Woe to you! Forge not
Ye a lie against God,
Lest He destroy you (at once)

p. 802

Utterly by chastisement:
The forger must suffer

62. So they disputed, one with
Another, over their affair,
But they kept their talk secret.

63. They said: "These two
Are certainly (expert) magicians:
Their object is to drive you
Out from your land
With their magic, and
To do away with your
Most cherished institutions.

64. "Therefore concert your plan,
And then assemble
In (serried) ranks:
He wins (all along) to-day
Who gains the upper hand"

65. They said: "O Moses!
Whether wilt thou
That thou throw (first)
Or that we be the first
To throw?"

66. He said, "Nay, throw ye
First!" Then behold

p. 803

Their ropes and their rods—
So it seemed to him
On account of their magic—
Began to be in lively motion!

67. So Moses conceived
In his mind
A (sort of) fear.

68. We said: "Fear not!
For thou hast indeed
The upper hand:

69. "Throw that which is
In thy right hand:
Quickly will it swallow up
That which they have faked
What they have faked
Is but a magician's trick:
And the magician thrives not,
(No matter) where he goes."

70. So the magicians were
Thrown down to prostration:
They said, "We believe
In the Lord of Aaron and Moses".

71. (Pharaoh) said: "Believe ye
In Him before I give
You permission? Surely
This must be your leader,
Who has taught you magic!
Be sure I will cut off

p. 804

Your hands and feet
On opposite sides, and I
Will have you crucified
On trunks of palm-trees:
So shall ye know for certain,
Which of us can give
The more severe and the more
Lasting Punishment!"

72. They said: "Never shall we
Regard thee as more than
The Clear Signs that have
Come to us; or than
Him Who created us!
So decree whatever thou
Desirest to decree: for thou
Canst only decree (touching)
The life of this world.

73. "For us, we have believed
In our Lord: may He
Forgive us our faults,
And the magic to which
Thou didst compel us:
For God is Best
And Most Abiding."

74. Verily he who comes
To his Lord as a sinner
(At Judgment),—for him
Is Hell: therein shall he
Neither die nor live.

p. 805

75. But such as come
To Him as Believers
Who have worked righteous deeds,—
For them are ranks exalted,—

76. Gardens of Eternity,
Beneath which flow rivers:
They will dwell therein
For aye: such is the reward
Of those who purify
Themselves (from evil).


77. We sent an inspiration
To Moses: "Travel by night
With My servants, and strike
A dry path for them
Through the sea, without fear
Of being overtaken (by Pharaoh)
And without (any other) fear."

78. Then Pharaoh pursued them
With his forces, but
The waters completely overwhelmed
Them and covered them up.

79. Pharaoh led his people astray
Instead of leading them aright.

p. 806

80. O ye Children of Israel!
We delivered you from
Your enemy, and We
Made a Covenant with you
On the right side of
Mount (Sinai), and We sent
Down to you Manna
And quails:

81. (Saying): "Eat of the good
Things We have provided
For your sustenance, but
Commit no excess therein,
Lest My Wrath should justly
Descend on you: and those
On whom descends My Wrath
Do perish indeed!

82. "But, without doubt, I am
(Also) He that forgives
Again and again, to those
Who repent, believe,
And do right,—who,
In fine, are ready to receive
True guidance."

83. (When Moses was up on the Mount,
God said:) "What made thee
Hasten in advance of thy people,
O Moses?"

84. He replied: "Behold, they are
Close on my footsteps:

p. 807

I hastened to Thee.
O my Lord,
To please Thee."

85. (God) said: "We have tested
Thy people in thy absence:
The Sāmirī has led them

86. So Moses returned to his people
In a state of indignation
And sorrow. He said:
"O my people! did not
Your Lord make a handsome
Promise to you? Did then
The promise seem to you
Long (in coming)? Or did ye
Desire that Wrath should
Descend from your Lord on you,
And so ye broke your promise
To me?"

87. They said: "We broke not
The promise to thee, as far
As lay in our power:
But we were made to carry
The weight of the ornaments
Of the (whole) people, and we

p. 808

Threw them (into the fire),
And that was what
The Sāmirī suggested.

88. "Then he brought out
(Of the fire) before the (people)
The image of a calf:
It seemed to low:
So they said, "This is
Your god, and the god
Of Moses, but (Moses)
Has forgotten!"

89. Could they not see that
It could not return them
A word (for answer), and that
It had no power either
To harm them or
To do them good?


90. Aaron had already, before this
Said to them: ."O my people!
Ye are being tested in this:
For verily your Lord is (God)
Most Gracious: so follow me
And obey my command."

p. 809

91. They had said: "We will not
Abandon this cult, but we
Will devote ourselves to it
Until Moses returns to us.

92. (Moses) said: "O Aaron!
What kept thee back, when
Thou sawest them going wrong,

93. "From following me? Didst thou
Then disobey my order?"

94. (Aaron) replied: "O son
Of my mother! Seize (me) not
By my beard nor by
(The hair of) my head!
Truly I feared lest thou
Shouldst say, "Thou hast caused
A division among the Children
Of Israel, and thou didst not
Respect my word!"

95. (Moses) said: "What then
Is thy case, O Sāmarī?"

96. He replied: "I saw what
They saw not: so I took

p. 810

A handful (of dust) from
The footprint of the Apostle,
And threw it (into the calf):
Thus did my soul suggest
To me."

97. (Moses) said: "Get thee gone!
But thy (punishment) in this life
Will be that thou wilt say,
'Touch me not'; and moreover
(For a future penalty) thou hast
A promise that will not fail:
Now look at thy god,
Of whom thou hast become
A devoted worshipper:
We will certainly (melt) it
In a blazing fire and scatter
It broadcast in the sea!"

p. 811

98. But the God of you all
Is the One God: there is
No god but He: all things
He comprehends in His knowledge.

99. Thus do We relate to thee
Some stories of what happened
Before: for We have sent
Thee a Message from
Our own Presence,

100. If any do turn away
Therefrom, verily they will
Bear a burden
On the Day of Judgment;

101. They will abide in this (state):
And grievous will the burden
Be to them on that Day,—

102. The Day when the Trumpet
Will be sounded: that Day,
We shall gather the sinful,
Blear-eyed (with terror).

103. In whispers will they consult
Each other: "Ye tarried not
Longer than ten (Days);"

104. We know best what they
Will say, when their leader

p. 812

Most eminent in Conduct
Will say: "Ye tarried not
Longer than a day!"


105. They ask thee concerning
The Mountains: say, "My Lord
Will uproot them and scatter
Them as dust;

106. "He will leave them as plains
Smooth and level;

107. "Nothing crooked or curved
Wilt thou see in their place."

108. On that Day will they follow
The Caller (straight): no crookedness

p. 813

(Can they show) him: all sounds
Shall humble themselves in
The Presence of (God) Most Gracious:
Nothing shalt thou hear
But the tramp of their feet
(As they march).

109. On that Day shall no
Intercession avail
Except for those for whom
Permission has been granted
By (God) Most Gracious
And whose word is
Acceptable to Him.

110. He knows what (appears
To His creatures as) before
Or after or behind them:
But they shall not compass it
With their knowledge.

111. (All) faces shall be humbled
Before (Him)—the Living,
The Self-Subsisting, Eternal:
Hopeless indeed will be
The man that carries
Iniquity (on his back).

p. 814

112. But he who works deeds
Of righteousness, and has faith,
Will have no fear of harm
Nor of any curtailment
(Of what is his due).

113. Thus have We sent this
Down—an Arabic Qur-ān—
And explained therein in detail
Some of the warnings,
In order that they may
Fear God, or that it may
Cause their remembrance (of Him).

114. High above all is God,
The King, the Truth!
Be not in haste
With the Qur-ān before
Its revelation to thee
Is completed, but say,
"O my Lord! advance me
In knowledge."

115. We had already, beforehand,
Taken the covenant of Adam,

p. 815

But he forgot: and We found
On his part no firm resolve.


116. When We said to the angels,
"Prostrate yourselves to Adam",
They prostrated themselves, but not
Iblīs: he refused.

117. Then We said: "O Adam!
Verily, this is an enemy
To thee and thy wife:
So let him not get you
Both out of the Garden,
So that thou art landed
In misery.''

118. "There is therein (enough provision)
For thee not to go hungry
Nor to go naked,

119. "Nor to suffer from thirst,
Nor from the sun's heat."

120. But Satan whispered evil
To him: he said, "O Adam!
Shall I lead thee to
The Tree of Eternity
And to a kingdom
That never decays?"

p. 816

121. In the result, they both
Ate of the tree, and so
Their nakedness appeared
To them: they began to sew
Together, for their covering,
Leaves from the Garden:
Thus did Adam disobey
His Lord, and allow himself
To be seduced.

122. But his Lord chose him
(For His Grace): He turned
To him, and gave him guidance.

123. He said: "Get ye down,
Both of you,—all together,
From the Garden, with enmity
One to another: but if,
As is sure, there comes to you
Guidance from Me, whosoever
Follows My guidance, will not
Lose his way, nor fall
Into misery.

124. "But whosoever turns away
From My Message, verily
For him is a life narrowed
Down, and We shall raise

p. 817

Him up blind on the Day
Of Judgment."

125. He will say: "O my Lord!
Why hast thou raised me
Up blind, while I had
Sight (before)?"

126. (God) will say: "Thus
Didst thou, when Our Signs
Came unto thee, disregard
Them: so wilt thou,
This day, be disregarded."

127. And thus do We recompense
Him who transgresses beyond bounds
And believes not in the Signs
Of his Lord: and the Penalty
Of the Hereafter is far more
Grievous and more enduring.

128. Is it not a warning to such
Men (to call to mind)
How many generations before them
We destroyed, in whose haunts
They (now) move? Verily,
In this are Signs for men
Endued with understanding.

p. 818


129. Had it not been
For a Word that went forth
Before from thy Lord,
(Their punishment) must necessarily
Have come; but there is
A term appointed (for respite).

130. Therefore be patient with what
They say, and celebrate (constantly)
The praises of thy Lord,
Before the rising of the sun,
And before its setting;
Yea, celebrate them
For part of the hours
Of the night, and at the sides
Of the day: that thou
Mayest have (spiritual) joy.

131. Nor strain thine eyes in longing
For the things We have given
For enjoyment to parties ,
Of them, the splendour

p. 819

Of the life of this world,
Through which We test them:
But the provision of thy Lord
Is better and more enduring.

132. Enjoin prayer on thy people,
And be constant therein.
We ask thee not to provide
Sustenance: We provide it
For thee. But the (fruit of)
The Hereafter is for Righteousness.

133. ''They say: "Why does he not
Bring us a Sign from
His Lord?" Has not
A Clear Sign come to them
Of all that was
In the former Books
Of revelation?

134. And if We had inflicted
On them a penalty before this,
They would have said:
"Our Lord! If only Thou
Hadst sent us an apostle,
We should certainly have followed

p. 820

Thy Signs before we were
Humbled and put to shame."

135. Say: "Each one (of us)
Is waiting: wait ye, therefore,
And soon shall ye know
Who it is that is
On the straight and even
Way, and who it is
That has received guidance."

p. 821

Next: Sūra XXI. Anbiyāa, or The Prophets