THIS CHAPTER of seven sections consists of 69 middle Meccan verses, except for the first eleven and the very last one, which date from Madina. It was revealed after The [East] Romans (OR The Byzantines) 30, the chapter which follows this one, but before The Cheats 83.
The title comes from the fable on the Spider contained at the end of section IV which demonstrates how flimsy it is to associate anything else in our worship of God. It begins with an admonition on the treatment of parents (I), then mentions Noah, Abraham and offers a philosophy of history (II). Lot (III) and other prophets follow (IV). It ends with a passage on the duty of Jihad or striving for God's sake (VII).
In the name of God, the Mercy-giving, the Merciful!
(I) * A.L.M.
* Do people reckon that they will be left alone just because they say: "We believe," and they will not be tested? * We have tested the ones who preceded them. God knows the ones who are truthful and He will recognize liars. * Or do the ones who perform evil deeds reckon they will get ahead of Us? How badly do they judge!
** God's deadline is coming for anyone who has been expecting to meet God! He is the Alert, Aware. * Anyone who strives, strives only for his own soul's sake. God is Transcendent, beyond [any need of] the Universe! * We will overlook their evil deeds, and reward them with the finest of whatever they have been doing.
Treatment of Parents
* We have instructed everyman to treat his parents kindly. Yet if they should strive to make you associate anything with Me which you have no knowledge of, do not obey them! To Me shall be your return, and I will notify you about anything you have been doing. * We will let the ones who believe and perform honorable deeds enter in among honorable people.
** There are some people who say: "We believe in God"; yet whenever they suffer abuse for God's sake, they maintain that any trials by mankind are like God's torment. If any support should come from your Lord, they would say: "We have stood alongside you." Is God not quite Aware of what is on the minds of [everybody in] the Universe? * God does recognize those who believe and He (also) recognizes hypocrites.
* Those who disbelieve tell those who believe: "Follow our course and we will assume [responsibility for] your mistakes." They will not assume their mistakes in any way: they are such liars! * However they will carry their own loads and others' loads besides their own. They will be questioned on Resurrection Day about what they have invented.
(II) * We sent Noah to his folk. He remained among them for a thousand years less fifty twelvemonths. The Flood seized them while they were doing wrong. ** However We saved him and the companions in the ship, and made it into a sign for [everyone in] the Universe.
Abraham and Image Worship
* Next Abraham told his folk: "Serve God and heed Him. That will be best for you if you only realized it. * You serve only images instead of God, and create a sham. The ones you serve instead of God do not control any sustenance for you, so seek sustenance from God Himself and serve Him; act grateful towards Him; to Him will you be returned.
* "Yet if you should deny it - and nations before you have already denied such-the Messenger has only to deliver [his message] clearly. * Have they not seen how God begins with creation, then performs it all over again? That is so easy for God [to do]!" ** SAY: "Travel around the earth and see how He began with creation; later on God raises up fresh growth. God is Capable of everything! * He punishes anyone He wishes to and shows mercy to anyone He wishes; to Him will you be restored. * You cannot prevent anything [from happening] on earth nor in Heaven; you have no patron nor any supporter besides God."
(III) * Those who reject God's signs and [any hope of] meeting Him despair of My mercy; those will have painful torment.
* There was no answer from his folk except they said: "Kill him or bum him up!" Yet God saved him from the fire; in that are signs for folk who believe. ** He said: "You have merely adopted images instead of God, out of affection for one another during worldly life. Then on Resurrection Day some of you will disown one another while others of you will curse each other. Your refuge will be the Fire; you will have no supporters!"
* Lot believed in him and he said: "I will move elsewhere for my Lord's sake. He is the Powerful, the Wise." * We bestowed Isaac and Jacob on him, and granted prophethood and the Book to his offspring. We gave him his payment in this world while in the Hereafter he will be among the honorable.
* So Lot told his folk: "You indulge in such sexual misconduct as no one in the Universe has attempted before you. * You even accost men and intercept [them on] the highway! You commit such a horrible thing in your clubs." * His folk's answer was merely to say: "Bring us God's torment if you are so truthful!" ** He said: "My Lord, support me against such degenerate folk!"
(IV) * When Our messengers brought Abraham the good news, they said: "We'll destroy the people of this town. Its people have been doing wrong." * He said: "Yet Lot is in it!" They said: "We are quite aware as to who is in it. We'll save both him and his household, except for his wife; she is one of those who will stay behind."
* When Our messengers came to Lot, he felt wretched because of them, for [his] ability to protect them was so slender. They said: "Do not fear nor feel so sad. We shall save you and your family, except for your wife; she will be one of those who will stay behind. * We are sending a blight down from Heaven upon the people of this town because they have been acting so depraved." ** We have left some of it as a clear sign for folk who will [use their powers of] reason.
* To Midian [was sent] their brother Shuayb. He said: "My folk, serve God and await the Last Day. Do not cause such mischief that it will ruin the earth." * They rejected him, so the Tremor seized them, and one morning they lay cowering in their home. * Both Ad and Thumad have been explained to you by means of their [empty] dwellings; Satan made their actions seem attractive to them and he diverted them from the Way even though they had been granted insight.
* [In the case of] Quran, Pharaoh and Haman, Moses brought them explanations and they [still] acted overbearing on earth; yet they could never get ahead [of Us]. ** Each We seized for his offence; some of them We sent a hailstorm against, some the Blast overtook, others of them We let the earth swallow up, while still others We drowned. It was not God Who wronged them, but they had already wronged themselves.
The Spider's Web
* Those who enlist other patrons instead of God may be compared to the Spider, who adopts a house for himself. The flimsiest house is the Spider's house, if they only realized it!
* God knows anything they may appeal to besides Himself; He is the Powerful, the Wise.
* These are parables We make up for mankind, though only the learned will use their [powers of] reason. * God created Heaven and Earth in [all] Truth; in that is a sign for believers!
The Aim of Prayer
(V) ** Recite whatever has been revealed to you from the Book, and keep up prayer: prayer restrains one from sexual misconduct and debauchery. Yet mentioning God is even more important, for God knows whatever you produce.
Debating and Handling Arguments
(v, contd) * Do not argue with the People of the Book unless It is in the poutest manner, except for those of them who do wrong. SAY: "We believe in what has been sent down to us and what has been sent down to you. Our God and your God is [the Same] One, and we are committed to [observe] peace before Him.
* Thus We have sent you down the Book. The ones whom We have given the Book to believe in it. Some of those are [people] who believe in it; only disbelievers repudiate Our signs. * You had not been reciting any book previously nor did you copy it down with your right hand; otherwise quibblers would suspect it. * Rather it exists as clear signs in the breasts of those who have been given knowledge. Only wrongdoers repudiate Our signs. ** They say: "If only some signs were sent down to him from his Lord!"
SAY: "Signs rest only with God; I am merely a plain warner." * Is it not sufficient for them that We have sent you down the Book to be recited to them? In that lies mercy plus a Reminder for folk who believe.
(VI) * SAY: "God suffices as a Witness between (all of) you and me." He knows whatever exists in Heaven and Earth while those who believe in falsehood and disbelieve in God will be the losers. * They try to make you hurry up torment. If it had not been for a specific deadline, torment would already have come to them. It will come upon them suddenly while they do not even notice it.
* They try to have you hurry up torment! Hell will engulf disbelievers. ** Some day torment will cover them from both above and from underneath their feet, and He will say: "Taste what you have been doing!"
* 0 My servants who believe,
My earth is vast,
so Me should you worship!
Every soul will be tasting death
then to Us shall you return.
* We shall lodge the ones who believe and perform honorable deeds in the Garden with mansions by which rivers will flow, to live there for ever. How splendid will be the earnings of the workers * who are patient and rely on their Lord!
** How many animals do not carry their own provision! God provides both for them and for you. He is the Alert, the Aware .
God the Provider
* If you should ask them Who created Heaven and Earth, and regulated the sun and moon, they would say: "God." So why do they shrug [things] off? * God extends sustenance to any of His servants whom He wishes and measures it out for him. God is Aware of everything. * If you should ask them Who sends water down from the sky and revives the earth with it after it has died, they would say: "God." SAY: "Praise be to God Nevertheless most of them do not use their reason.
(VII) * What is this worldly life except an amusement and a game? Yet the final Home will mean [real] living, if they only realized it! ** Whenever they sail on board a ship, they appeal to God sincerely; religion (then) belongs to Him. Yet whenever He lands them safely, then they associate [others with Him]. * Let them disbelieve in whatever We have given the and let them enjoy themselves; they soon shall know!
* Have they not seen how We have granted a safe sanctuary while men are being kidnapped all around them? Yet they still believe in falsehood and disbelieve in God's favor! * Who is more in the wrong than someone who invents a lie about God and rejects the Truth even when it has come to him? Will there not be room in Hell for [such] disbelievers?
Jihad OR Striving
* We shall guide the ones who strive for Us along Our ways.
God stands by those who act kindly!