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

p. 822

Sūra XXI.

Anbiyāa, or The Prophets

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

1. Closer and closer to mankind
Comes their Reckoning: yet they
Heed not and they turn away.

2. Never comes (aught) to them
Of a renewed Message
From their Lord, but they
Listen to it as in jest,—

3. Their hearts toying as with
Trifles. The wrong-doers conceal
Their private counsels, (saying),
"Is this (one) more than
A man like yourselves?
Will ye go to witchcraft
With your eyes open?"

4. Say: "My Lord
Knoweth (every) word (spoken)
In the heavens and on earth:
He is the One that heareth
And knoweth (all things)."

p. 823

5. "Nay," they say, "(these are)
Medleys of dreams!—Nay,
He forged it!—Nay,
He is (but) a poet!
Let him then bring us
A Sign like the ones
That were sent to
(Prophets) of old!"

6. (As to those) before them,
Not one of the populations
Which We destroyed believed:
Will these believe?

7. Before thee, also, the apostles
We sent were but men,
To whom We granted inspiration:
If ye realise this not, ask
Of those who possess the Message.

8. Nor did We give them
Bodies that ate no food,
Nor were they exempt from death.

9. In the end We fulfilled
To them Our promise,
And We saved them
And those whom We pleased,

p. 824

But We destroyed those
Who transgressed beyond bounds.

10. We have revealed for you
(O men!) a book in which
Is a Message for you:
Will ye not then understand?


11. How many were the populations
We utterly destroyed because
Of their iniquities, setting up
In their places other peoples?

12. Yet, when they felt
Our Punishment (coming),
Behold, they (tried to) flee
From it.

13. Flee not, but return to
The good things of this life
Which were given you,
And to your homes,
In order that ye may
Be called to account

14. They said: "Ah! woe to us!
We were indeed wrong-doers!"

15. And that cry of theirs
Ceased not, till we made

p. 825

Them as a field
That is mown, as ashes
Silent and quenched.

16. Not for (idle) sport did We
Create the heavens and the earth
And all that is between!

17. If it had been Our wish
To take (just) a pastime,
We should surely have taken
It from the things nearest
To Us, if We would
Do (such a thing)!

18. Nay, We hurl the Truth
Against falsehood, and it knocks
Out its brain, and behold,
Falsehood doth perish!
Ah! woe be to you
For the (false) things
Ye ascribe (to Us).

19. To Him belong all (creatures)
In the heavens and on earth:
Even those who are in His
(Very) Presence are not
Too proud to serve Him,
Nor are they (ever) weary
(Of His service):

20. They celebrate His praises
Night and day, nor do they
Ever flag or intermit.

p. 826

21. Or have they taken
(For worship) gods from the earth
Who can raise (the dead)?

22. If there were, in the heavens
And the earth, other gods
Besides God, there would
Have been confusion in both!
But glory to God,
The Lord of the Throne:
(High is He) above
What they attribute to Him!

23. He cannot be questioned
For His acts, but they
Will be questioned (for theirs).

24. Or have they taken
For worship (other) gods
Besides him? Say, "Bring
Your convincing proof: this
Is the Message of those
With me and the Message
Of those before me."
But most of them know not
The Truth, and so turn away.

p. 827

25. Not an apostle did We
Send before thee without
This inspiration sent by Us
To him: that there is
No god but I; therefore
Worship and serve Me.

26. And they say: "(God)
Most Gracious has begotten
Offspring." Glory to Him!
They are (but) servants raised
To honour.

27. They speak not before
He speaks, and they act
(In all things) by His command.

28. He knows what is before them,
And what is behind them,
And they offer no intercession
Except for those who are
Acceptable, and they stand
In awe and reverence
Of His (glory).

29. If any of them should say,
"I am a god besides Him",
Such a one We should
Reward with Hell: thus
Do We reward those
Who do wrong.

p. 828


30. Do not the Unbelievers see
That the heavens and the earth
Were joined together (as one
Unit of Creation), before
We clove them asunder?
We made from water
Every living thing. Will they
Not then believe?

31. And We have set on the earth
Mountains standing firm,

p. 829

Lest it should shake with them,
And We have made therein
Broad highways
(between mountains)
For them to pass through:
That they may receive guidance.

32. And We have made
The heavens as a canopy
Well guarded: yet do they
Turn away from the Signs
Which these things (point to)!

33. It is He Who created
The Night and the Day,
And the sun and the moon:
All (the celestial bodies)
Swim along, each in its
Rounded course.

34. We granted not to any man
Before thee permanent life
(Here): If then thou shouldst die,
Would they live permanently?

35. Every soul shall have
A taste of death:
And We test you
By evil and by good

p. 830

By way of trial.
To Us must ye return.

36. When the Unbelievers see thee,
They treat thee not except
With ridicule. "Is this,"
(They say), "the one who talks
Of your gods?" And they
Blaspheme at the mention
Of (God) Most Gracious!

37. Man is a creature of haste:
Soon (enough) will I show
You My Signs; then
Ye will not ask Me
To hasten them!

38. They say: "When will this
Promise come to pass,
If ye are telling the truth?"

39. If only the Unbelievers
Knew (the time) when they
Will not be able
To ward off the Fire
From their faces, nor yet
From their backs, and (when)
No help can reach them!

40. Nay, it may come to them
All of a sudden and confound
Them: no power will they
Have then to avert it,
Nor will they (then)
Get respite.

p. 831

41. Mocked were (many)
Apostles before thee;
But their scoffers
Were hemmed in
By the thing that they mocked.


42. Say, "Who can keep
You safe by night and by day
From (the Wrath of) (God)
Most Gracious?" Yet they
Turn away from the mention
Of their Lord.

43. Or have they gods that
Can guard them from Us?
They have no power to aid
Themselves, nor can they
Be defended from Us.

44. Nay, We gave the good things
Of this life to these men
And their fathers until
The period grew long for them;
See they not that We
Gradually reduce the land
(In their control) from
Its outlying borders? Is it
Then they who will win?

p. 832

45. Say, "I do but warn you
According to revelation":
But the deaf will not hear
The call, (even) when
They are warned!

46. If but a breath of the Wrath
Of thy Lord do touch them,
They will then say, "Woe
To us! we did wrong indeed!"

47. We shall set up scales
Of justice for the day
Of Judgment, so that
Not a soul will be dealt with
Unjustly in the least.
And if there be
(No more than) the weight
Of a mustard seed,
We will bring it (to account):
And enough are We
To take account.

48. In the past We granted
To Moses and Aaron

p. 833

The Criterion (for judgment),
And a Light and a Message
For those who would do right,—

49. Those who fear their Lord
In their most secret thoughts,
And who hold the Hour
(Of Judgment) in awe.

50. And this is a blessed
Message which We have
Sent down: will ye then
Reject it?

p. 834

51. We bestowed aforetime
On Abraham his rectitude
Of conduct, and well were we
Acquainted with him.

52. Behold! he said
To his father and his people
"What are these images,
To which ye are
(So assiduously) devoted?"

53. They said, "We found
Our fathers worshipping them."

54. He said, "Indeed ye
Have been made in manifest
Error—ye and your fathers."

55. They said, "Have you
Brought us the Truth,
Or are you one
Of those who jest?"

56. He said, "Nay, your Lord
Is the Lord of the heavens
And the earth, He Who
Created them (from nothing):
And I am a witness
To this (truth).

p. 835

57. "And by god, I have
A plan for your idols—
After ye go away
And turn your backs"…

58. So he broke them to pieces,
(All) but the biggest of them,
That they might turn
(And address themselves) to it.

59. They said, "Who has
Done this to our gods?
He must indeed be
Some man of impiety!"

60. They said, "We heard
A youth talk of them:
He is called Abraham."

61. They said, "Then bring him
Before the eyes of the people,
That they may bear witness:"

62. They said, "Art thou
The one that did this
With our gods, O Abraham?"

p. 836

63. He said: "Nay, this
Was done by —
This is their biggest one!
Ask them, if they
Can speak intelligently!"

64. So they turned to themselves
And said, "Surely ye
Are the ones in the wrong!

65. Then were they confounded
With shame: (they said),
"Thou knowest full well that
These (idols) do not speak!"

66. (Abraham) said, "Do ye then
Worship, besides God,
Things that can neither
Be of any good to you
Nor do you harm?

67. "Fie upon you, and upon
The things that ye worship
Besides God! Have ye
No sense?"…

68. They said, "Burn him
And protect your gods,
If ye do (anything at all)!"

p. 837

69. We said, "O Fire!
Be thou cool,
And (a means of) safety
For Abraham!"

70. Then they sought a stratagem
Against him: but We
Made them the ones
That lost most!

71. But We delivered him
And (his nephew) Lūt
(And directed them) to the land
Which We have blessed
For the nations.

72. And We bestowed on him Isaac

p. 838

And, as an additional gift,
(A grandson), Jacob, and We
Made righteous men of every one
(Of them).

73. And We made them
Leaders, guiding (men) by
Our Command, and We
Sent them inspiration
To do good deeds,
To establish regular prayers,
And to practise regular charity;
And they constantly served
Us (and Us only).

74. And to Lūt, too,
We gave Judgment and Knowledge,
And We saved him
From the town which practised
Abominations: truly they were
A people given to Evil,
A rebellious people.

75. And We admitted him
To Our Mercy: for he
Was one of the Righteous.


76. (Remember) Noah, when
He cried (to Us) aforetime:
We listened to his (prayer)
And delivered him and his
Family from great distress.

p. 839

77. We helped him against
People who rejected Our Signs:
Truly they were a people
Given to Evil: so We
Drowned them (in the Flood)
All together.

78. And remember David
And Solomon, when they
Gave judgment in the matter
Of the field into which
The sheep of certain people
Had strayed by night:
We did witness their judgment.

79. To Solomon We inspired
The (right) understanding
Of the matter: to each
(Of them) We gave Judgment
And Knowledge; it was
Our power that made
The hills and the birds
Celebrate Our praises,
With David: it was We
Who did (all these things).

80. It was We Who taught him
The making of coats of mail

p. 840

For your benefit, to guard
You from each other's violence:
Will ye then be grateful?

81. (It was Our power that
Made) the violent (unruly)
Wind flow (tamely) for Solomon,
To his order, to the land
Which We had blessed:
For We do know all things.

82. And of the evil ones,
Were some who dived
For him, and did other work
Besides; and it was We
Who guarded them.

83. And (remember) Job, when
He cried to his Lord,
"Truly distress has seized me,
But Thou art the Most

p. 841

Merciful of those that are

84. So We listened to him:
We removed the distress
That was on him,
And We restored his people
To him, and doubled
Their number,—as a Grace
From Ourselves, and a thing
For commemoration, for all
Who serve Us.

85. And (remember) Ismā‘īl,
Idrīs, and Ẓul-kifl, all
(Men) of constancy and patience;

86. We admitted them to
Our Mercy: for they
Were of the Righteous ones.

p. 842

87. And remember Ẓun-nūn,
When he departed in wrath:
He imagined that We
Had no power over him!
But he cried through the depths
Of darkness, "There is
No god but Thou:
Glory to Thee: I was
Indeed wrong!"

88. So We listened to him:
And delivered him from
Distress: and thus do We
Deliver those who have faith.

89. And (remember) Zakarīyā,
When he cried to his Lord:
"O my Lord! leave me not
Without offspring, though Thou
Art the best of inheritors."

90. So We listened to him:
And We granted him

p. 843

Yabya: We cured his wife's
(Barrenness) for him. These (three)
Were ever quick in emulation
In good works: they used
To call on Us with love
And reverence, and humble themselves
Before Us.

91. And (remember) her who
Guarded her chastity:
We breathed into her
Of Our Spirit, and We
Made her and her son
A Sign for all peoples.

92. Verily, this Brotherhood
Of yours is a single Brotherhood,
And I am your Lord
And Cherisher: therefore
Serve Me (and no other).

93. But (later generations) cut off
Their affair (of unity),
One from another: (yet)
Will they all return to Us.

p. 844


94. Whoever works any act
Of Righteousness and has Faith,—
His endeavour will not
Be rejected: We shall
Record it in his favour.

95. But there is a ban
On any population which
We have destroyed: that they
Shall not return,

96. Until the Gog and Magog (people)
Are let through (their barrier),
And they swiftly swarm
From every hill.

97. Then will the True Promise
Draw nigh (of fulfilment):
Then behold! the eyes
Of the Unbelievers will
Fixedly stare in horror: "Ah!
Woe to us! we were indeed
Heedless of this; nay, we
Truly did wrong!"

p. 845

98. Verily ye, (Unbelievers),
And the (false) gods that
Ye worship besides God,
Are (but) fuel for Hell!
To it will ye (surely) come!

99. If these had been gods,
They would not have got there!
But each one will abide

100. There, sobbing will be
Their lot, nor will they
There hear (aught else).

101. Whose hose for whom
The Good (Record) from Us
Has gone before, will be
Removed far therefrom.

102. Not the slightest sound
Will they hear of Hell:
What their souls desired,
In that will they dwell.

103. The Great Terror will
Bring them no grief:
But the angels will meet them
(With mutual greetings):
"This is your Day,—
(The Day) that ye were promised."

p. 846

104. The Day that We roll up
The heavens like a scroll
Rolled up for books (completed),—
Even as We produced
The first Creation, so
Shall We produce
A new one: a promise
We have undertaken:
Truly shall We fulfil it.

105. Before this We wrote
In the Psalms, after the Message
(Given to Moses): "My servants,
The righteous, shall inherit
The earth."

106. Verily in this (Qur-ān)
Is a Message for people
Who would (truly) worship God.

107. We sent thee not, but
As a Mercy for all creatures.

p. 847

108. Say: "What has come to me
By inspiration is that
Your God is One God:
Will ye therefore bow
To His Will (in Islām)?"

109. But if they turn back,
Say: "I have proclaimed
The Message to you all alike
And in truth; but I
Know not whether that
Which ye are promised
Is near or far.

110. "It is He Who knows
What is open in speech
And what ye hide
(In your hearts).

111. "I know not but that
It may be a trial
For you, and a grant
Of (worldly) livelihood
(To you) for a time."

p. 848

112. Say: "O my Lord!
Judge Thou in truth!
"Our Lord Most Gracious
Is the One Whose assistance
Should be sought against
The blasphemies ye utter!

p. 849

Next: Sūra XXII. Ḥajj, or The Pilgrimage