THESE 98 VERSES form six sections dating from the Meccan period, except for vv. 58-71 (IV-V) which date from Madina. This chapter was revealed after Originator 35 and before the next one which is called Ta-Ha 20. It furnishes us with the Islamic story about Jesus' mother, as well as his speaking as a boy from the cradle (IV-VI). It was read to the emperor of Ethiopia by the migrants or refugees to that kingdom before the classic Hijra.
The chapter also deals with the role of Abraham and other prophets (III-IV). Great emphasis is laid in this chapter on God's aspect as The Mercy-giving or ar-Rahman, especially by Mary. The Angels' Message in section IV is also significant. The chapter is sustained on an assonance in -iyya (which is interrupted between vv. 33-40 (II: end).
In the name of God, the Mercy-giving, the Merciful!
(I) * K.H.Y.E.S.
* [This is] a Reminder of your Lord's mercy towards his servant Zachariah * when he appealed to his Lord with a suppressed cry.
* He said: "My Lord, my bones are tottering for me and my head is glistening with white hair, while I have never been grumbling in my appeal to You, my Lord! ** Yet I fear for my heirs after me from Your presence * who may inherit from me, and inherit from Jacob's house. Make him someone we can approve of, my Lord!"
* "Zachariah, We bring you news about a boy whose name will be John. We have not given such a name to anyone before." * He said: "My Lord, how will I have a boy while my wife is barren and I have reached such extreme old age?" * He said: "Just as your Lord has said: 'It is a trifling thing for me [to do]. I created you before while you were still nothing!"'
** He said: "My Lord, grant me a sign!" He said: "Your sign will be that you will not speak to any people for three nights in a row." * He came forth to his folk from the sanctuary and revealed to them how they should glorify [God] both morning and evening.
* "John, hold firmly to the Book." We gave him discretion as a young boy * plus compassion from Our presence and innocence. He was conscientious * and considerate towards his parents, and was not demanding, rebellious.
** Peace be upon him the day he was born,
and the day he will die,
and the day he is raised to life again!
(II) * Mention in the Book how Mary withdrew from her people to an Eastem place. * She chose to be secluded from them. We sent her Our spirit, who presented himself to her as a full-grown human being. * She said: "I take refuge with the Mercy-giving from you, unless you are someone who does his duty."
* He said: 'I am only your Lord's messenger to bestow a clean-living boy on you," ** She said: "How shall I have a boy when no human being has ever touched me, nor am I a loose woman?" * He said: "Thus your Lord has said: "It is a simple matter for Me [to do]. We will grant him as a sign for mankind and a mercy from Ourself." It is a matter that has been decided."
* So she conceived him, and withdrew to a remote place to have him. * Labor pains came over her by the trunk of a datepalm. She said: "If only I had died before this, and been forgotten, overlooked!"
* Someone called out to her from below where she was: "Dont feel so sad! Your Lord has placed a brook at your feet. ** Shake the trunk of the datepalm towards you so it will drop some fresh dates on you. Eat and drink, and refresh yourself. Should you see even a single human being, then say: "I have vowed to keep a fast to the Mercy-giving whereby I'll never speak to any person today!"'
* She carried him back to her family. They said: "Mary, you have brought something hard to believe! * Kinswoman of Aaron, your father was no evil man, nor was your mother a loose woman." * She pointed to him. They said: "How shall we talk to someone who is a child in the cradle?"
Jesus Speech As a Child
** He said: "I am God's servant. He has given me the Book and made me a prophet. * He has made me blessed wherever I may be, and commissioned me to pray and [pay] the welfare tax so long as I live; and [to act] considerate towards my mother. He has not made me domineering, hard to get along with. * Peace be on the day I was born, and the day I shall die and the day I am raised to life again!"
* Such was Jesus, the son of Mary; [it is] a true statement which they are still puzzling over. It is not God's role to adopt a son. Glory be to Him! Whenever He determines upon some matter, He merely tells it: "Be!", and it is. * God is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him [Alone]. This is a Straight Road [to follow].
* Factions have differed among themselves, yet how awful will it be for those who disbelieve when it comes to the spectacle on such a dreadful day! * Listen to them and watch for the day when they will come to Us; though wrongdoers are in obvious error even today. * Warn them of the Day of Regret when the matter will be decided; they act so heedless and still do not believe. ** It is We Who will inherit the earth plus anyone on it; to Us shall they return!
(III) * Mention Abraham in the Book. He was a truthful prophet * when he told his father: "My father, why do you worship something that neither hears nor perceives [anything], and does not benefit you in anyway"? * My father, I have been given some knowledge which has not come to you, so follow me: I'll guide you along a Level Road. * My father, do not serve Satan! Satan was defiant towards the Mercygiving. ** My father, I fear lest some torment from the Mercy-giving should afflict you, and you become a partisan of Satan."
* He said: "Do you dislike my gods, Abraham? If you do not stop, I'll cast you out. Leave me alone as soon as you can!"
* He said: "Peace be upon you!
I'll seek forgiveness for you from my Lord;
He has been so Gracious towards me.
* I'll move away from you (all)
and from anything you appeal to
instead of God. I shall appeal to my Lord;
perhaps I'll not feel quite so miserable
with my Lord's appeal."
* When he moved away from them and what they worshipped instead of God, We bestowed Isaac and Jacob on him. Each We made a prophet. ** We bestowed some of Our mercy on them and granted them a sublime tongue for telling truth.
(IV) * Mention Moses in the Book. He was sincere, and was a messenger, a prophet. * We called out to him from the right side of the Mountain, and brought him close to confide in. * We bestowed his brother Aaron on him as a prophet through Our mercy.
* Mention Ishmael in the Book. He kept true to the Promise, and was a messenger, a prophet. ** He used to order his people to pray and [pay] the welfare tax; he was approved by his Lord.
* Mention Idifs in the Book. He was a truthful prophet; * We raised him to a lofty place.
BOW DOWN HERE
* Those are some of the prophets from Adam's offspring whom God has favored, and some of those We transported along with Noah, and some of Abraham's and Ishmael's offspring, as well as some (others) We have guided and chosen. Whenever the Mercy-giving's signs are recited to them, they drop down on their knees and weep!
* Descendants have replaced them who neglected prayer and followed [their own] passions. They shall meet with aimlessness ** except for anyone who turns around (in repentance) and believes, and acts honorably; those will enter the Garden and not be harmed in any way- * -the gardens of Eden which the Mercy-giving has promised His servants even though [they are still] Unseen. So far as He is concerned, His promise has already been fulfilled. They will hear no nonsense in it, only: "Peace!" (as a greeting); they will have their provision there both morning and evening. * Such is the Garden which We bequeath to those of Our servants who have been pious.
The Angels' Message: God's Vastness
* We never descend except at your Lord's command. He owns whatever is in front of us and whatever is behind us, and whatever lies in between. Your Lord is not forgetful, ** [for He is] the Lord of Heaven and Earth and whatever lies in between them! So serve Him and persevere in His worship. Do you know of any other title for Him?"
(V) * Everyman says: "When I die will I be brought forth alive [again]?" * Does man not recall that We already created him once when he was nothing? * By your Lord, We shall summon both them and the devils; then We shall parade them forth to crouch around Hell! * Next We shall drag those away from every sect who have been the most insolent towards the Mercy-giving. ** Thus We are quite Aware as to who are the closest to roasting in it; * there is not one of you but he will be led up to it. That is a decree determined by your Lord. * Then We shall save those who have heeded and leave the wrongdoers crouching inside.
* Whenever Our clear signs are recited to them, those who disbelieve say to those who believe: 'Which group is better in status and a finer club to join?" * How many generations have We wiped out before them who were even finer in equipment and appearance!
** SAY: "May the Mercy-giving extend an opportunity to anyone who has been in error so that when they see what they are threatened with, whether it is torment or even the Hour, they will know who is in a worse plight and has the weakest following.
* God increases guidance for those who have consented to be guide while honorable deeds that endure are best with your Lord as recompense and yield the best returns.
False Gods are Futile
* Have you seen someone who disowns Our signs and says: "I shall still be given wealth and children? * Has he probed the Unseen or made a pled with the Mercy-giving? * Not at all! We shall write down anything he says and extend a chance of torment to him; ** We will inherit anything he says, and he will come to Us as an individual. * They have adopted other deities instead of God, so they will mean [more] influence for them. *Not at all! The [false gods] will reject their own worship and pit themselves against them.
(VI) * Have you not seen how We send devils to disbelievers, to provoke them to fury? * So do not act hasty towards them; We are only counting out so much [time] for them. ** Some day We shall summon the heedful in a delegation before the Mercy-giving, * and drive criminals in a drove towards Hell. * They will possess no power of intercession except for someone who has already accepted a pledge from the Mercy-giving.
God Needs No Son
* They say: "The Mercy-giving has adopted a son!" * You have brought up something monstrous! ** "Me heavens almost burst apart from it, while the earth splits open and the mountains fall down with a crash * that anyone should ascribe a son to the Mercy-giving! * It is not proper for the Mercy-giving to adopt a son.
* Everyone who is in Heaven and Earth comes to the Mercy-giving merely as a servant; * He numbers them and counts them up. ** Each of them is coming to Him on Resurrection Day as an individual. * The Mercy-giving will grant affection to those who believe and perform honorable deeds.
* We have made it easy for your tongue
so you may announce good news about it
to those who do their duty,
and warn headstrong folk by means of it.
* How many generations have We wiped out before them? Do you find any trace of even one of them, or hear a murmur from them?