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The Holy Quran, tr. by Yusuf Ali, [1934], at

p. 895

p. 896

Sūra XXIV.

Nūr, or Light.

In the name of God, Most Gracious,
Most Merciful

1. A Sūra which We
Have sent down and
Which We have ordained:
In it have We sent down
Clear Signs, in order that
Ye may receive admonition.

2. The woman and the man
Guilty of adultery or fornication,—
Flog each of them
With a hundred stripes:
Let not compassion move you
In their case, in a matter
Prescribed by God, if ye believe
In God and the Last Day:
And let a party
Of the Believers
Witness their punishment.

3. Let no man guilty of
Adultery or fornication marry
Any but a woman
Similarly guilty, or an Unbeliever:
Nor let any but such a man
Or an Unbeliever
Marry such a woman:
To the Believers such a thing
Is forbidden.

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4. And those who launch
A charge against chaste women,
And produce not four witnesses
(To support their allegations),—
Flog them with eighty stripes;
And reject their evidence
Ever after: for such men
Are wicked transgressors;—

5. Unless they repent thereafter
And mend (their conduct);
For God is Oft-Forgiving,
Most Merciful.

6. And for those who launch
A charge against their spouses,
And have (in support)
No evidence but their own,—

p. 898

Their solitary evidence
(Can be received) if they
Bear witness four times
(With an oath) by God
That they are solemnly
Telling the truth;

7. And the fifth (oath)
(Should be) that they solemnly
Invoke the curse of God
On themselves if they
Tell a lie.

8. But it would avert
The punishment from the wife,
If she bears witness
Four times (with an oath)
By God, that (her husband)
Is telling a lie;

9. And the fifth (oath)
Should be that she solemnly
Invokes the wrath of God
On herself if (her accuser)
Is telling the truth.

10. If it were not
For God's grace and mercy
On you, and that God
Is Oft-Returning,
Full of wisdom,
(Ye would be ruined indeed).


11. Those who brought forward
The lie are a body

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Among yourselves: think it not
To be an evil to you;
On the contrary it is good
For you: to every man
Among them (will come
The punishment) of the sin
That he earned, and to him
Who took on himself the lead
Among them, will be
A Penalty grievous.

12. Why did not the Believers
Men and women—when ye
Heard of the affair,—put
The best construction on it
In their own minds
And say, "This (charge)
Is an obvious lie"?

13. Why did they not bring
Four witnesses to prove it?
When they have not brought
The witnesses, such men,
In the sight of God,
(Stand forth) themselves as liars!

14. Were it not for the grace
And mercy of God on you,
In this world and the Hereafter,
A grievous penalty would have
Seized you in that ye rushed
Glibly into this affair.

15. Behold, ye received it
On your tongues,

p. 900

And said out of your mouths
Things of which ye had
No knowledge; and ye thought
It to be a light matter,
While it was most serious
In the sight of God.

16. And why did ye not,
When ye heard it, say?—
"It is not right of us
To speak of this:
Glory to God! this is
A most serious slander!"

17. God doth admonish you,
That ye may never repeat
Such (conduct), if ye
Are (true) Believers.

18. And God makes the Signs
Plain to you: for God
Is full of knowledge and wisdom.

19. Those who love (to see)
Scandal published broadcast
Among the Believers, will have
A grievous Penalty in this life
And in the Hereafter: God
Knows, and ye know not.

20. Were it not for the grace
And mercy of God on you,

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And that God is
Full of kindness and mercy,
(Ye would be ruined indeed).


21. O ye who believe!
Follow not Satan's footsteps:
If any will follow the footsteps
Of Satan, he will (but) command
What is shameful and wrong:
And were it not for the grace
And mercy of God on you.
Not one of you would ever
Have been pure: but God
Doth purify whom He pleases:
And God is One Who
Hears and knows (all things).

22. Let not those among you
Who are endued with grace
And amplitude of means
Resolve by oath against helping
Their kinsmen, those in want,
And those who have left

p. 902

Their homes in God's cause:
Let them forgive and overlook,
Do you not wish
That God should forgive you?
For God is Oft-Forgiving,
Most Merciful.

23. Those who slander chaste women,
Indiscreet but believing,
Are cursed in this life
And in the Hereafter:
For them is a grievous Penalty,—

24. On the Day when their tongues,
Their hands, and their feet
Will bear witness against them
As to their actions.

25. On that Day God
Will pay them back
(All) their just dues,
And they will realise
That God is
The (very) Truth,
That makes all things manifest.

26. Women impure are for men impure
And men impure for women impure
And women of purity
Are for men of purity,
And men of purity
Are for women of purity:
These are not affected

p. 903

By what people say:
For them there is forgiveness,
And a provision honourable.


27. O ye who believe!
Enter not houses other than
Your own, until ye have
Asked permission and saluted
Those in them: that is
Best for you, in order that
Ye may heed (what is seemly).

28. If ye find no one
In the house, enter not
Until permission is given
To you: if ye are asked
To go back, go back:
That makes for greater purity

p. 904

For yourselves: and God
Knows well all that ye do.

29. It is no fault on your part
To enter houses not used
For living in, which serve
Some (other) use for you:
And God has knowledge
Of what ye reveal
And what ye conceal.

30. Say to the believing men
That they should lower
Their gaze and guard
Their modesty: that will make
For greater purity for them:
And God is well acquainted
With all that they do.

31. And say to the believing women
That they should lower
Their gaze and guard
Their modesty; that they
Should not display their
Beauty and ornaments except
What (must ordinarily) appear
Thereof; that they should

p. 905

Draw their veils over
Their bosoms and not display
Their beauty except
To their husbands, their fathers,
Their husbands’ fathers, their sons,
Their husbands’ sons,
Their brothers or their brothers’ sons,
Or their sisters’ sons,
Or their women, or the slaves
Whom their right hands
Possess, or male servants
Free of physical needs,
Or small children who
Have no sense of the shame
Of sex; and that they
Should not strike their feet
In order to draw attention
To their hidden ornaments.
And O ye Believers!
Turn ye all together
Towards God, that ye
May attain Bliss.

32. Marry those among you
Who are single, or
The virtuous ones among
Your slaves, male or female:
If they are in poverty,
God will give them
Means out of His grace:
For God encompasseth all,
And He knoweth all things.

p. 906

33. Let those who find not
The wherewithal for marriage
Keep themselves chaste, until
God gives them means
Out of His grace.
And if any of your slaves
Ask for a deed in writing
(To enable them to earn
Their freedom for a certain sum),
Give them such a deed
If ye know any good
In them; yea, give them
Something yourselves
Out of the means which
God has given to you.
But force not your maids
To prostitution when they desire
Chastity, in order that ye
May make a gain
In the goods of this life.
But if anyone compels them,
Yet, after such compulsion,
Is God Oft-Forgiving,
Most Merciful (to them).

34. We have already sent down
To you verses making things
Clear, an illustration from (the story
Of) people who passed away
Before you, and an admonition
For those who fear (God).

p. 907


35. God is the Light
Of the heavens and the earth.
The parable of His Light
Is as if there were a Niche
And within it a Lamp:
The Lamp enclosed in Glass:

p. 908

The glass as it were
A brilliant star:
Lit from a blessed Tree,
An Olive, neither of the East
Nor of the West,
Whose Oil is well-nigh
Though fire scarce touched it
Light upon Light!
God doth guide
Whom He will
To His Light:
God doth set forth Parables
For men: and God
Doth know all things.

36. (Lit is such a Light)
In houses, which God
Hath permitted to be raised
To honour; for the celebration,

p. 909

In them, of His name:
In them is He glorified
In the mornings and
In the evenings, (again and again),

37. By men whom neither
Traffic nor merchandise
Can divert from the Remembrance
Of God, nor from regular Prayer,
Nor from the practice
Of regular Charity:
Their (only) fear is
For the Day when
Hearts and eyes
Will be transformed
(In a world wholly new),—

38. That God may reward them
According to the best
Of their deeds, and add
Even more for them
Out of His Grace:
For God doth provide
For those whom He will,
Without measure.

39. but the Unbelievers,—
Their deeds are like a mirage

p. 910

In sandy deserts, which
The man parched with thirst
Mistakes for water; until
When he comes up to it,
He finds it to be nothing:
But he finds God
(Ever) with him, and God
Will pay him his account:
And God is swift
In taking account.

40. Or (the Unbelievers’ state)
Is like the depths of darkness
In a vast deep ocean,
Overwhelmed with billow
Topped by billow,
Topped by (dark) clouds:
Depths of darkness, one
Above another: if a man
Stretches out his hand,
He can hardly see it!
For any to whom God
Giveth not light,
There is no light!


41. Seest thou not that it is
God Whose praises all beings
In the heavens and on earth
Do celebrate, and the birds

p. 911

(Of the air) with wings
Outspread? Each one knows
Its own (mode of) prayer
And praise. And God
Knows well all that they do.

42. Yea, to God belongs
The dominion of the heavens
And the earth; and to God
Is the final goal (of all).

43. Seest thou not that God
Makes the clouds move
Gently, then joins them
Together, then makes them
Into a heap?—then wilt thou
See rain issue forth
From their midst. And He
Sends down from the sky
Mountain masses (of clouds)
Wherein is hail: He strikes
Therewith whom He pleases
And He turns it away
From whom He pleases.
The vivid flash of His lightning
Well-nigh blinds the sight.

44. It is God Who alternates
The Night and the Day:

p. 912

Verily in these things
Is an instructive example
For those who have vision!

45. And God has created
Every animal from water: sort
Of them there are some
That creep on their bellies;
Some that walk on two legs;
And some that walk on four.
God creates what He wills;
For verily God has power
Over all things.

46. We have indeed sent down
Signs that make things manifest:
And God guides whom He wills
To a Way that is straight.

47. They say, "We believe
In God and in the Apostle,
And we obey": but
Even after that, some of them
Turn away: they are not
(Really) Believers.

48. When they are summoned
To God and His Apostle,
In order that he may judge
Between them, behold, some
Of them decline (to come).

p. 913

49. But if the right is
On their side, they come
To him with all submission

50. Is it that there is
A disease in their hearts
Or do they doubt,
Or are they in fear,
That God and His Apostle
Will deal unjustly with them?
Nay, it is they themselves
Who do wrong.


51. The answer of the Believers,
When summoned to God
And His Apostle, in order
That he may judge between them,
Is no other than this:
They say, "We hear and we obey":
It is such as these
That will attain felicity.

52. It is such as obey
God and His Apostle,
And fear God and do
Right, that will win
(In the end).

53. They swear their strongest oaths
By God that, if only thou

p. 914

Wouldst command them, they
Would leave (their homes).
Say: "Swear ye not;
Obedience is (more) reasonable;
Verily, God is well acquainted
With all that ye do."

54. Say: "Obey God, and obey
The Apostle: but if ye turn
Away, he is only responsible
For the duty placed on him
And ye for that placed
On you. If ye obey him,
Ye shall be on right guidance.
The Apostle's duty is only
To preach the clear (Message).

55. God has promised, to those
Among you who believe
And work righteous deeds, that He
Will, of a surety, grant them
In the land, inheritance
(Of power), as He granted it
To those before them; that
He will establish in authority
Their religion—the one
Which He has chosen for them;
And that He will change
(Their state), after the fear
In which they (lived), to one

p. 915

Of security and peace:
'They will worship Me (alone)
And not associate aught with Me.'
If any do reject Faith
After this, they are
Rebellious and wicked.

56. So establish regular Prayer
And give regular Charity;
And obey the Apostle;
That ye may receive mercy.

57. Never think thou
That the Unbelievers
Are going to frustrate
(God's Plan) on earth:
Their abode is the Fire,—
And it is indeed
An evil refuge!


58. O ye who believe!
Let those whom your right hands
Possess, and the (children) among you

p. 916

Who have not come of age
Ask your permission (before
They come to your presence),
On three occasions: before
Morning prayer; the while
Ye doff your clothes
For the noonday heat;
And after the late-night prayer:
These are your three times
Of undress: outside those times
It is not wrong for you
Or for them to move about
Attending to each other:
Thus does God make clear
The Signs to you: for God
Is full of knowledge and wisdom.

59. But when the children among you
Come of age, let them (also)
Ask for permission, as do those
Senior to them (in age):
Thus does God make clear
His Signs to you: for God
Is full of knowledge and wisdom.

60. Such elderly women as are
Past the prospect of marriage,—
There is no blame on them
If they lay aside

p. 917

Their (outer) garments, provided
They make not a wanton display
Of their beauty: but
It is best for them
To be modest: and God
Is One Who sees and knows
All things.

61. It is no fault in the blind
Nor in one born lame, nor
In one afflicted with illness,
Nor in yourselves, that ye
Should eat in your own houses,
Or those of your fathers,
Or your mothers, or your brothers,
Or your sisters, or your father's brothers
Or your father's sisters,
Or your mother's brothers,
Or your mother's sisters,
Or in houses of which
The keys are in your possession,
Or in the house of a sincere
Friend of yours: there is
No blame on you, whether
Ye eat in company or
Separately. But if ye
Enter houses, salute each other—
A greeting of blessing
And purity as from God.

p. 918

Thus does God make clear
The Signs to you: that ye
May understand.


62. Only those are Believers,
Who believe in God and
His Apostle: when they are
With him on a matter
Requiring collective action,
They do not depart until
They have asked for his leave;
Those who ask for thy leave
Are those who believe in God
And His Apostle; so when
They ask for thy leave,
For some business of theirs,
Give leave to those of them
Whom thou wilt, and ask
God for their forgiveness:
For God is Oft-Forgiving,
Most Merciful.

63. Deem not the summons
Of the Apostle among yourselves
Like the summons of one
Of you to another: God
Doth know those of you
Who slip away under shelter
Of some excuse: then
Let those beware who

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Withstand the Apostle's order,
Lest some trial befall them,
Or a grievous Penalty
Be inflicted on them.

64. Be quite sure that
To God doth belong
Whatever is in the heavens
And on earth. Well doth He
Know what ye are intent upon:
And one day they will be
Brought back to Him, and He
Will tell them the truth
Of what they did:
For God doth know
All things.

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p. 921

p. 922

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p. 924

p. 925

Next: Sūra XXV. Furqān, or The Criterion