Alike shall it be to them whether thou ask forgiveness for them, or ask it not. By no means will God forgive them: God hath no guidance for a perverse people.
These are they who say to you of Medina, “Spend not aught upon those who are with the Apostle of God, and they will be forced to quit him.” Yet the treasures of the Heavens and of the Earth are God’s! But the Hypocrites have no understanding.
They say: “If we return to the city, the mightier will assuredly drive out the weaker from it.” But might is with God, and with the Apostle, and with the Faithful! Yet the Hypocrites understand not.
O ye who believe! let not your wealth and your children delude you into forgetfulness of God. Whoever shall act thus, shall surely suffer loss.
And expend in the cause of God out of that with which we have supplied you, ere death surprise each one of you, and he say, “O Lord! wilt thou not respite me to a term not far distant, that I may give alms, and become one of the just?”
And by no means will God respite a soul when its hour hath come! And God is fully cognisant of what ye do.
1 Revealed shortly after the expedition against the Banu ’l Mustaliq in Hej. 6. See Nöld. p. 156 n. The “Hypocrites” mentioned in the later Suras are the disaffected portion of the population of Medina, who covertly opposed the claims of Muhammad to temporal authority over that city. They were gradually absorbed, as the authority of Islam increased.
2 Or, in accordance with another reading, oaths. Comp. Ps. cix. 18.
3 Like timbers or joists supported in a wall or leaned against it, i.e., their persons are bulky, but their hearts so hypocritical and cowardly that they are afraid of the slightest noise. In the original, saïkat is perhaps an allusion to the shout of Gabriel, that is to exterminate the wicked.
SURA XXIV.-LIGHT [CV.]
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
A Sura which we have sent down and sanctioned! Clear signs have we sent down therein, that ye may take warning.
The whore and the whoremonger-scourge each of them with an hundred stripes; and let not compassion keep you from carrying out the sentence of God, if ye believe in God and the last day: And let some of the faithful witness their chastisement.1
The whoremonger shall not marry other than a whore or an idolatress; and the whore shall not marry other than a whoremonger or an idolater. Such alliances are forbidden to the faithful.
They who defame virtuous women,2 and bring not four witnesses, scourge them with fourscore stripes, and receive ye not their testimony for ever, for these are perverse persons-
Save those who afterwards repent and live virtuously; for truly God is Lenient, Merciful!