THIS CHAPTER was revealed in sequence after the previous one on Consultation 42 and before the next one on Smoke 44. It consists of 89 late Meccan verses arranged in seven sections; only v. 54 (in section V) dates from Madina.
The chapter leads off with a description of God in His roles as Creator (I) and the Mercy-giving (II-IV); then it tells about Moses (V), and ends with an explanation of Jesus' place as a prophet (VI). God has no son, we are assured, nor does He need any associates (VII).
The title is found in verse 35 (III), where luxurious houses are described, and at the beginning of section vii where we also find a picture of Paradise. The word zukhruf can be variously translated as 'glitter', 'ornament(s', 'gilding' or 'glamor'.
In the name of God, the Mercy-giving, the Merciful!
(I) * H. M.
* By the Clear Book, * We have set up as an Arabic reading so that that you may (all) use your reason. * It is [comprised] in the Mother of the Book [which exists] in Our presence, so lofty, wise! ** Should We quietly slip the Reminder away from you since you have been such dissipated folk? * How many prophets have We sent to early men? * No prophet ever came to them unless they made fun of him. * We have wiped out more valiant people than they were, and the same has already occurred with early men.
God the Creator
* If you should ask them who created Heaven and Earth, they would say: "The Powerful, the Aware has created them, ** the One Who has placed the earth as a cradle for you, and traced highways for you on it so that you may feel guided, * Who has sent down water from the sky in due measure." Just so have We raised up a dead land with it; thus you (all) will come forth too! * [He is] the One Who has created all [sorts] of species, and granted you ships and livestock to ride on, * so you may mount on their backs. Then once you have mounted (or boarded) them, remember your Lord's favor and say:
"Glory be to Him
Who has subjected these to our [use];
we (ourselves) would never achieve it!
* We shall be sent home to our Lord."
** Still they have assigned a portion of His own servants to Him; man is so obviously thankless!
(II)* Or should He adopt daughters from what He creates and single out sons for you? * Whenever one of them is notified about the same as he imputes concerning the Mercy-giving, his face becomes dark with gloom and he feels like choking. * Is someone who is set up just to look pretty while he is unable to discuss things clearly [worth worshipping]? * They even pretend the angels who are the Mercy-giving's servants are females! Were they present at their own creation? Their testimony will be written down and they will be questioned about it.
** They say: "If the Mercy-giving had so wished, we would not have worshipped them." No matter what knowledge they may have about that, they are still merely guessing. * Or have We given them a book already which they try to hold on to?
Tradition Can Be Wrong
* Moreover they say: "We found our forefathers following such a community and we are merely being guided along their tracks." * Just the same We have not sent any warner into a town previous to you unless its highlivers said: "We found our forefathers with such a community, and are merely being led. along their tracks." * He said: "Even if I should bring you better guidance than what you found your forefathers had?", they would say: 'We reject anything you are sent with!"
** We have been avenged on them; see what the outcome was for those who denied [it all]!
(III)* Thus Abraham told his father and his folk: "I am innocent of what you are serving. * Only the One Who originated me will guide me!" * He left it as an enduring word with his posterity so they might return (to it).
* Indeed I have let those (men) as well as their forefathers enjoy things until Truth and a plain messenger should come to them. ** Yet whenever Truth did come to them, they said: "This is magic! We disbelieve in it!" * They said: 'If this Reading were only sent down to some important man from either town!"
* Are they dividing up your Lord's mercy? We divide up their livelihood among them during worldly life, and raise some of them higher in rank than others so that some of them may take advantage of the labor of others. Your Lord's mercy is better than what they are collecting. * If it were not that mankind has been a single nation, We would grant anyone who disbelieves in the Mercy-giving silver roofs for their houses and staircases to climb up on, * and doors for their houses and couches to recline on ** and [similar] luxury! All that means nothing except enjoyment during worldly life while those who do their duty will [spend] the Hereafter with your Lord.
(IV)* We assign anyone who fails to remember the Mercy-giving at nightfall, a devil who will become a soulmate for him. * They divert them from the [right] way while they may reckon they are guided, * until when he comes up to Us, he says: "Alas, if the distance between the two Easts only lay between you and me! He's such an awful soulmate!"
* It will never benefit you today to have any partners in torment since you have already gone wrong. ** Will you make the deaf hear or guide the blind, as well as anyone else who is in obvious error? * Even should We take you away, We will still be avenged on them. * Or shall We show you what We have promised them? We are Competent to deal with them!
* Hold on to whatever has been revealed to you; you are on a Straight Road. * It is a Reminder for you and your folk, and you will (all) be questioned. * Question any of Our messengers We have sent before you: "Did We set up any [other] gods they should serve instead of the Mercy-giving?"
(V) * We sent Moses with Our signs to Pharaoh and his courtiers, and he said: "I am a messenger from the Lord of the Universe." * When he brought them Our signs, they merely laughed at them! * Yet We did not show them any sign unless it was even greater than the one that had preceded it. We afflicted them with torment so that they might return. * They said: "Mr. Magician, appeal to your Lord for us concerning what He had pledged to you; we will act as if we are guided."
** Yet once We removed torment from them, why they broke their word! * Pharaoh announced it among his people; he said: "My people, do I not hold control over Egypt and these rivers flowing by me? Do you not notice anything? * Surely I am better than this wretch who can scarcely explain a thing! * If he were only presented with gold bracelets or some angels came along hitched up with him!'
* He sneered at his folk, yet they obeyed him; they were such immoral folk. ** When they provoked Us [sufficiently], We took revenge on them and let them all drown; * We left them as has-beens and an example for later men.
(VI) * When Mary's son is quoted as an example, why, your people resist him! * They say: "Are our gods better, or is he?" They quote him to you only for the sake of argument; indeed they are such quarrelsome folk!
* He was only a servant whom We favored
and offered as an example
to the Children of Israel.
** If We had so wished, We might have made angels out of some of you who would replace you on earth. * It will be because of knowledge about the Hour. Do not puzzle over it and follow Me; this is a Straight Road. * Do not let Satan hamper you; he is an obvious enemy of yours.
When Jesus came with explanations, he said: "I have brought you wisdom, so that I may explain something to you about what you have been differing over. So heed God and obey me! * God is my Lord and your Lord, so serve Him. This is a Straight Road."
** Factions have disagreed among themselves. It will be too bad for the ones who have done wrong as [they face] torment on a painful day! * Are they merely waiting for the Hour to come upon them suddenly while they do not even notice it? * On that day even bosom friends will become one another's enemies, unless they have done their duty.
(VII)* My servants, you have no need to fear today nor should you feel saddened; * [tell] those who believe in Our signs and are committed to [live in] peace: ** "Enter the Garden rejoicing, both you and your spouses!"
* Gold platters and cups will be passed around among them containing anything (their) souls may hanker for and (their) eyes delight in. You will live there for ever. * Such is the Garden which you will inherit because of what you have been doing. * You will have plenty of fruit to eat in it.
* Yet criminals will remain in Hell's torment; ** it will not be eased for them and they will feel confounded in it. * Still We will not harm them but rather they have already harmed themselves. * They will cry out: "Master, have your Lord put an end to us!"
He will say: "You must stay on here! * We brought you the Truth even though most of you detest the Truth." * Or have they tried to use some scheme [against you]? Well, We will try something too! ** Or do they reckon that We do not hear their secrets nor how they conspire together? Of course Our messengers are writing it (all) down in their very presence!
God Has No Son
* SAY: "If the Mercy-giving had a son, I would be the first to worship [him]." * Glory be to the Lord of Heaven and Earth, Lord of the Throne, ahead of what they ascribe [to Him]! * Leave them to speculate and play around until they face their day which they have been promised.
* He Alone is God in Heaven
and God on Earth; He is the Wise, Aware.
** Blessed is He Who holds control
over Heaven and Earth,
and anything in between them.
He has knowledge of the Hour
and to Him will you be returned.
Associates Cannot Intercede
* The ones whom they appeal to instead of Him control no intercession except for someone who testifies concerning the Truth, and they realize it. * If you should ask them Who created them, they would say: "God [Alone]"; and yet they shrug Him off!
* So he says: "My Lord, those are folk who do not believe." * Disregard them, and say: "Peace [be on you!" instead]. They will realize it eventually.
Published with authorization from Dr.T.B.Irving.