Chapter Scripts

Surah Az-Zumar 39:51-60

39:51 For all the evil deeds that they had wrought fell [back] upon them. And [the same will happen to] people of the present time who are bent on wrongdoing, all the evil deeds that they have ever wrought will fall [back] upon them, and never will they be able to elude [God]!

Explanation

Lit., “and the like of it with it”.

39:52 Are they, then, not aware that it is God who grants abundant sustenance, or gives it in scant measure, unto whomever He wills? In this, behold, there are messages indeed for people who will believe!

Explanation

Cf. 3:91 and the corresponding note 71.

39:53 Say “[Thus speaks God] “O you servants of Mine who have transgressed against your own selves! Despair not of God’s mercy, Behold, God forgives all sins For, Verily, He alone is Much-Forgiving, a Dispenser of Grace!'”

Explanation

Lit., “will have become obvious to them (bada lahum) from God” – i.e., the fact that man’s attitudes and actions in this world determine his state and further development in the hereafter: in other words, that happiness or suffering in the life to come (allegorically described as “paradise” or “hell”, and “reward” or “chastisement”) are but natural consequences of the use which man makes in this life of his capabilities, endowments, and opportunities.

39:54 Hence, turn towards your Sustainer [alone] and surrender yourselves unto Him ere the suffering [of death and resurrection] comes upon you, for then you will not be succored.

Explanation

Lit., “that which they were wont to deride will enfold them” or “will have enfolded them”: i.e., the reality of life after death and of the spiritual truths preached by God’s prophets will overwhelm them.

39:55 And ere that suffering comes upon you of a sudden, without your being aware [of its approach], follow the most goodly [teaching] that has been revealed unto you by your Sustainer. 

Explanation

Lit., “knowledge” – i.e., “my prosperity is due to my own ability and shrewdness”: see the first sentence of 28:78 and the corresponding note. But whereas there this “saying” or thought is attributed to the legendary Qarun, in the present instance – which is by far the earlier in the chronology of Qur’anic revelation – it is said to be characteristic of man as such (see, e.g., 7:189-190, where this tendency is referred to in connection with the experience of parenthood).

39:56 Lest any human being should say [on Judgment Day], “Alas for me for having been remiss in what is due to God, and for having been indeed one of those who scoffed [at the truth]!”

Explanation

Lit., “those who are bent on wrongdoing {alladhina zalamu) from among these here”.

39:57 Or lest he should say, “If God had but guided me, I would surely have been among those who are conscious of Him!”  

Explanation

See note 16 on the opening words of verse 10 of this surah.

39:58 Or lest he should say, when he becomes aware of the suffering [that awaits him], “Would that I had a second chance [in life], so that I could be among the doers of good!”

Explanation

Sc., “whenever the sinner repents and turns to Him”: cf., for instance, 6:54 – “Your Sustainer has willed upon Himself the law of grace and mercy – so that if any of you does a bad deed out of ignorance, and thereafter repents and lives righteously, He shall be [found] much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace”; or 4:110 – “he who does evil or [otherwise] sins against himself, and thereafter prays God to forgive him, shall find God much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace”.

39:59 [But God will reply] “Yeah, Indeed! My messages did come unto thee, but thou gavest them the lie, and wert filled with false pride, and wert among those who deny the truth!”

Explanation

Cf. 4:18 – “repentance shall not be accepted from those who do evil deeds until their dying hour, and then say, ‘Behold, I now repent; nor from those who die as deniers of the truth”.

39:60 And [so] on the Day of Resurrection thou wilt see all who invenied lies about God [with] their faces darkened [by grief and ignominy]. Is not hell the [proper] abode for all who are given to false pride?

Explanation

Whenever there is no clear indication that the term nafs has another meaning, it signifies a “human being”; hence, the personal pronouns relating to this term (which is feminine in Arabic) are masculine in my rendering.

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