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Sura XLIII — Ornaments of Gold

by Rev. G. Margoliouth, M.A.

Mecca — 89 Verses.

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Ha. Mim.[361] By the Luminous Book!

We have made it an Arabic Koran that ye may understand:

And it is a transcript of the archetypal Book,[362] kept by us; it is lofty, filled with wisdom,

Shall we then turn aside this warning from you because ye are a people who transgress?

Yet how many prophets sent we among those of old!

But no prophet came to them whom they made not the object of their scorn:

Wherefore we destroyed nations mightier than these Meccans in strength; and the example of those of old hath gone before!

And if thou ask them who created the Heavens and the Earth, they will say: "The Mighty, the Sage, created them both,"

Who hath made the Earth as a couch for you, and hath traced out routes therein for your guidance;

And who sendeth down out of Heaven the rain in due degree, by which we quicken a dead land; thus shall ye be brought forth from the grave:

And who hath created the sexual couples, all of them, and hath made for you the ships and beasts whereon ye ride:

That ye may sit balanced on their backs and remember the goodness of your Lord as ye sit so evenly thereon, and say: "Glory to Him who hath subjected these to us! We could not have attained to it of ourselves:

And truly unto our Lord shall we return."

Yet do they assign to him some of his own servants for offspring! Verily man is an open ingrate!

Hath God adopted daughters from among those whom he hath created, and chosen sons for you?

But when that[363] is announced to any one of them, which he affirmeth to be the case with the God of Mercy,[364] his face settleth into darkness and he is silent-sad.

What! make they a being to be the offspring of God who is brought up among trinkets, and is ever contentious without reason?

And they make the angels who are the servants of God of Mercy, females. What! did they witness their creation? Their witness shall be taken down, and they shall hereafter be enquired at.

And they say: "Had the God of Mercy so willed it we should never have worshipped them." No knowledge have they in this: they only lie.

Have we ere this given them a Book?[365]and do they possess it still?

But say they: "Verily we found our fathers of that persuasion, and verily, by their footsteps do we guide ourselves."

And thus never before thy time did we send a warner to any city but its wealthy ones said: "Verily we found our fathers with a religion, and in their tracks we tread."

SAY,—such was our command to that apostle—"What! even if I bring you a religion more right than that ye found your fathers following?" And they said, "Verily we believe not in your message."

Wherefore we took vengeance on them, and behold what hath been the end of those who treated our messengers as liars!

And bear in mind when Abraham said to his father and to his people, "Verily I am clear of what ye worship,

Save Him who hath created me; for he will vouchsafe me guidance."

And this he established as a doctrine that should abide among his posterity, that to God might they be turned.

In sooth to these idolatrous Arabians and to their fathers did I allow their full enjoyments, till the truth should come to them, and an undoubted apostle:

But now that the truth hath come to them, they say, "'Tis sorcery, and we believe it not."

And they say, "Had but this Koran been sent down to some great one of the two cities[366] . . .!"

Are they then the distributors of thy Lord's Mercy?[367] It is we who distribute their subsistence among them in this world's life; and we raise some of them by grades above others, that the one may take the other to serve him: but better is the mercy of thy Lord than all their hoards.

But for fear that all mankind would have become a single people of unbelievers, verily we would certainly have given to those who believe not in the God of Mercy roofs of silver to their houses, and silver stairs to ascend by;

And doors of silver to their houses, and couches of silver to recline on;

And ORNAMENTS OF GOLD: for all these are merely the good things of the present life; but the next life doth thy Lord reserve for those who fear Him.

And whoso shall withdraw from the Warning of the God of Mercy, we will chain a Satan to him, and he shall be his fast companion:

For the Satans will turn men aside from the Way, who yet shall deem themselves rightly guided;

Until when man shall come before us, he shall say, "O Satan, would that between me and thee were the distance of the East and West."[368] And a wretched companion is a Satan.

But it shall not avail you on that day, because ye were unjust: partners shall ye be in the torment.

What! Canst thou then make the deaf to hear, or guide the blind and him who is in palpable error?

Whether therefore we take thee off by death, surely will we avenge ourselves on them;

Or whether we make thee a witness of the accomplishment of that with which we threatened them, we will surely gain the mastery over them.[369]

Hold thou fast therefore what hath been revealed to thee, for thou art on a right path:

For truly to thee and to thy people it is an admonition; and ye shall have an account to render for it at last.[370]

And ask our Sent Ones whom we have sent before thee,

"Appointed we gods beside the God of Mercy whom they should worship?"[371]

Of old sent we Moses with our signs to Pharaoh and his nobles: and he said, "I truly am the Apostle of the Lord of the worlds."

And when he presented himself before them with our signs, lo! they laughed at them,

Though we shewed them no sign that was not greater than its fellow:[372] and therefore did we lay hold on them with chastisement, to the intent that they might be turned to God.

Then they said, "O Magician! call on thy Lord on our behalf to do as he hath engaged with thee, for truly we would fain be guided."

But when we relieved them from the chastisement, lo! they broke their pledge.

And Pharaoh made proclamation among his people. Said he, "O my people! is not the kingdom of Egypt mine, and these rivers which flow at my feet?[373] Do ye not behold?

Am I not mightier than this despicable fellow,

And who scarce can speak distinctly?

Have bracelets of gold[374] then been put upon him, or come there with him a train of Angels?"

And he inspired his people with levity, and they obeyed him; for they were a perverse people:

And when they had angered us, we took vengeance on them, and we drowned them all.

And we made them a precedent and instance of divine judgments to those who came after them.

And when the Son of Mary was set forth as an instance of divine power, lo! thy people cried out for joy thereat:

And they said, "Are our gods or is he the better?"[375] They put this forth to thee only in the spirit of dispute. Yea, they are a contentious people.

Jesus is no more than a servant whom we favoured, and proposed as an instance of divine power to the children of Israel.

(And if we pleased, we could from yourselves bring forth Angels to succeed you on earth:)[376]

And he shall be a sign of the last hour;[377] doubt not then of it, and follow ye me: this is the right way;

And let not Satan turn you aside from it, for he is your manifest foe.

And when Jesus came with manifest proofs, he said, "Now am I come to you with wisdom; and a part of those things about which ye are at variance I will clear up to you; fear ye God therefore and obey me.

Verily, God is my Lord and your Lord; wherefore worship ye him: this is a right way."

But the different parties[378] fell into disputes among themselves; but woe to those who thus transgressed, because of the punishment of an afflictive day!

For what wait they but for the hour "to come suddenly on them, while they expect it not?"

Friends on that day shall become foes to one another, except the God-fearing:—

"O my servants! on this day shall no fear come upon you, neither shall ye be put to grief,

Who have believed in our signs and become Muslims:

Enter ye and your wives into Paradise, delighted."

Dishes and bowls of gold shall go round unto them: there shall they enjoy whatever their souls desire, and whatever their eyes delight in; and therein shall ye abide for ever.

This is Paradise, which ye have received as your heritage in recompense for your works;

Therein shall ye have fruits in abundance, of which ye shall eat.

But in the torment of Hell shall the wicked remain for ever:

It shall not be mitigated to them, and they shall be mute for despair therein,

For it is not we who have treated them unjustly, but it was they who were unjust to themselves.

And they shall cry: "O Malec![379] would that thy Lord would make an end of us!" He saith: "Here must ye remain."

We have come to you with the truth (O Meccans), but most of you abhor the truth.

Have they drawn tight their toils for thee?[380] We too will tighten ours.

Think they that we hear not their secrets and their private talk? Yes, and our angels who are at their sides write them down.

SAY: If the God of Mercy had a son, the first would I be to worship him:

But far be the Lord of the Heavens and of the Earth, the Lord of the Throne, from that which they impute to Him!

Wherefore let them alone, to plunge on, and sport, until they meet the day with which they are menaced.

He who is God in the Heavens is God in earth also: and He is the Wise, the Knowing.

And Blessed be He whose is the kingdom of the Heavens and of the Earth and of all that is between them; for with Him is the knowledge of the Hour, and to Him shall ye be brought back.

The gods whom they call upon beside Him shall not be able to intercede for others: they only shall be able who bore witness to the truth and[381] knew it."

If thou ask them who hath created them, they will be sure to say, "God." How then hold they false opinions?

And one[382] saith, "O Lord! verily these are people who believe not."

Turn thou then from them, and say, "Peace:" In the end they shall know their folly.



[361] See Sura lxviii. I, p. 32.

[362] Lit. it is in the Mother of the Book, i.e. the original of the Koran, preserved before God.

[363] That is, of the birth of a female.

[364] Lit. which he imputeth to the God of Mercy, as his likeness.

[365] To authorise angel-worship.

[366] Supply, Mecca and Taief, we would have received it.

[367] Lit. mercy, i.e. the gift and office of prophecy.

[368] Lit. the two Easts, by which some understand the distance between the two solstices.

[369] Comp. Suras xl. 77; xxiii. 97; x. 47; xxix. 53; xxxvii. 179; xiii. 42. These passages clearly show that Muhammad had at this period—towards the close of his Meccan period—full faith in his ultimate success, and in the fulfilment of his menaces against the unbelievers.

[370] Lit. ye shall be examined in the end.

[371] This verse is said (see Nöld. p. 100, n.) to have been revealed in the temple at Jerusalem on the occasion of the night journey thither. See also Weil's Muhammed der Prophet, p. 374.

[372] Lit. sister.

[373] See Sura [lxxix.] xxviii. 39, n.

[374] Comp. Gen. xli. 42.

[375] This was a captious objection made to Muhammad by the idolaters of Mecca when he condemned their gods (Sura xxi. 98), as if they had said, "Jesus is worshipped as a God by the Christians: does he come under your anathema equally with our idols? we shall be content for our gods to be with him."

[376] That is, as we caused Jesus to be born without a human father.

[377] At his return to this earth. Some refer this to the Koran as revealing the last Hour. Lit. He (or It) is for knowledge of the Hour.

[378] Jewish and Christian sects.

[379] Malec is one of the keepers of Hell, who specially presides over the torments of the damned.

[380] Lit. if they have twisted tight or set firmly the affair, i.e. their plots against thee and the truth.

[381] Or, and they (the Infidels). The Commentators say that Jesus, Ezra, and the angels, will be allowed to intercede.

[382] Muhammad.


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