Skip to content

QA. IV [4] Sūrat al-madīnah (The Surah of the City) on Qur'ān 12:3



Part  IV [4]

سورة  المدينه 

Sūrat al-madīnah

(The Surah of the City) 

on Qur'ān 12:3

Translation Stephen N. Lambden UCMerced.

Under revision 1980s-2020  Last updated 03-12-2019.


بسم اللّه الرّحمن الرّحيم

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.


"We narrate unto thee the best of stories in what We reveal unto thee in this recitation (al-qur'an) though before this thou didst know nothing about it" (Q. 12:3).



(A-L-M-Ṭ [-H])

`Alīf-Lām-Mīm-Ṭā' [-Hā'] (abjad = 80 [85])

[4] We, verily, have indeed made clear the narratives [stories] (al-qaṣaṣ) for such as lovingly and attentively seek Us through the Gate (al-Bāb). [5] We, verily, in truth have sent down the Book such that the people might realize the name of the Dhikr written in that Book [6] We, verily, have sent down this Book in very truth unto every community in their own language. And We, indeed, have sent down this Book in the language of the Remembrance (bi-lisan al-dhikr) which is, in very truth, wondrous [novel] (badi`an) (cf. Q.14:4). (cf. SWB: XX). [7] He, verily, is the True One from God. And in the Mother Book, according to the decree of the Book, he is reckoned to be the most Arab of [pure blooded] Arabs (a`rab  [an] al- 'arubā'). (cf. SWB: ADD). [8] nd He is specially skilled [in Arabic] (al-faṣīḥ) among the most eloquent of those possessed of eloquence (iblagh al-bulagha'). He, in very truth, is the Supreme Ṭalisman (al-tilism al-a`ẓam). In the Mother Book he is inscribed as one possessed of talismanic power (cf. SWB: ADD). [9] We, verily, have made thee [the Bāb] to be a resplendent Sun and a shining Moon unto all the worlds; [10] a Chaste Man and Firm Pillar (rukn) unto all the worlds [11] perchance the people will, in very truth, act responsibly towards God and His signs [verses].[12] But the people are not, in very truth, content with the signs [or: verses] of God.  [13] Disdainful of the Truth, the people are astonished at God and His signs [verses].


O servants of God!

Dost thou not see Our servant [the Bāb], in very truth, as one promised according to that which God hath desired among you with respect to this established religion expressive of truth? [15] God hath made the verses to be Our signs through the power of the Remembrance (al-dhikr). Indeed do they constitute the decree of the Book which is written in the Mother Book. [16] And this is one of these [verses] for one around whose neck the All-Merciful hath, in very truth, affixed an upright covenant. [17] He, verily, hath by the leave of God, the One Praised, entered pure and pious into this Gate (dhalik al-bāb).


 يا اهل المدينه

 انتم المشركون بربّكم ان كنتم آمنتم بمحمّد رسول اللّه و خاتم النّبيّين و كتابه الفرقان الّذی لايأتيه الباطل

 فانّا قد نزّلنا علی عبدنا باذن اللّه هذا الكتاب بمثله ان تؤمنون به فايمانكم بمحمّد و الكتاب من قبل علی الحقّ قد كان كذبا عند اللّه مشهودا

O people of the city!

Ye are polytheists (al-mushrikun) in the sight of your Lord. If ye truly believe in Muhammad, the Apostle of God and seal of the prophets (khatam al-nabiyyīn) [cf. Q. 33: 40b] and in His Book, the Furqan [= the Qur'an], which is devoid of error, then [acknowledge that] We, verily, have sent down, by the leave of God, this Book upon Our servant [the Bāb] which is indeed the like of it [the Qur'an]. If ye fail to believe in him [the Bāb] then your faith in Muhammad and His Book [revealed] in the past, will, as befits the Truth, be treated as false in the estimation of God. (cf. SWB)


و ان تكفرون*  به فكفركم بمحمّد و كتابه عند انفسكم قد كان باليقين علی الحقّ بالحقّ معلوماً

"If ye deny Him, the fact of your having disbelieved in Muhammad and His Book, will, in very truth and with absolute certainty,  become evident unto yourselves" (SWB)


يا اهل المدينه و من حولها من الاعراب

 ما لكم كيف قد كفرتم بمحمّد بعد وفاته علی غير الحقّ جهاداً

O people of the city and such of the Arabs as are around it!

What possessed you that, disdainful of the Truth, you publicly disbelieved in Muhammad after his death?


الم يأخذ اللّه و نبيّه عنكم عهداً فی وصاية وليّه فی مواطن من الارض علی الحقّ بالحقّ كثيراً

Did not God and his Prophet take a covenant (`ahdan ) with you about the wiṣaya [mandate  successorship] of his walīy (successor =  Imam `Alī), in very truth, [effective] throughout the regions of the earth?


ان كنتم آمنتم باللّه الّذی لا اله الا هو فما لكم كيف تحكمون لانفسكم بغير ما انزل اللّه فی كتابه الحقّ من قبل علی الحقّ بالحقّ محفوظا

 If you truly believe in God -- no God is there except Him -- then how is it that you yourselves have made a judgment that does not accord with that which God sent down in His Book [the Qur'an], the Truth preserved aforetime?


و هذا الكتاب فايقنوا انّ ما ربّكم النّار فيها خالداً ابداً فو ربّكم لو لا تؤمنوا بذكرنا   

By thy Lord!

If you do not believe in Our Remembrance (dhikr) and this Book then know of a certainty that your abode shall be the fire [of hell] wherein you shall eternally remain.


و ما لكم من دون اللّه العلیّ فی يوم الفضل ظهيراً

And apart from God, the Exalted, you shall have no helper on the Day of Separation (yaum al-faṣl).


فلقد مات منكم كفراً بعض الانفس من قبل و ما كنتم آمنتم بمحمّد ولا من حولكم بعد عروجه   

 * الا و قد كفرتم بوصيّه ما لكم لا تتدبّرون القرآن علی الحقّ بالحقّ تنزيلا

 In the past some among you died in a state of unbelief. You and your associates disbelieved in Muhammad after his ascension inasmuch as you did not believe in his successor (wali) [= Imam `Alī]. What possessed you that failed to ponder upon the Qur'an which was, in very truth, divinely revealed?


انّ اللّه قد يعدكم الجنّة و الشّيطان يدعوكم بدينكم الّذی يبلّغكم الی الحجيم فمن شاء منكم فليؤمن و من شاء  منكم فليكفر و انّ اللّه لغنی عن العالمين جميعاً

God promised you the Garden [Paradise] but Satan summons you to your religion which leads you unto the blazing hell (al-jaḥim).  So let such as will among you believe and such as will among you disbelieve.  God, verily, is Self- Sufficient of all the worlds.


و ان القوّة للّه العزيز قديماً

Power belongeth to God, the Almighty, the Ancient One.


يا اهل المدينة

 اتّقوا اللّه من يوم لاتقدّرون لانفسكم من شیء و لقد كان الحكم منّا علی الحقّ بالحقّ مكتوبا فما لكم كيف قد كفرتم باللّه بارئكم الّذی لا اله الا هو

 الّذی قد خلقكم و رزقكم بجوده و انّه قد كان عليكم بالحقّ شهيداً

O people of the city!

Fear God with respect to [the coming of] a Day when you yourselves will have no power over the least thing.  The judgment is, in very truth, written down by Us.  What then ails you that you have disbelieved in God your Fashioner, Who, no God is there except Him?  He, verily, created you and provided for you out of His Bounty and, in very truth, stands as witness over against you.


افلاتتدبّرون القرآن تنزيلاً

Why do you not ponder upon the divinely revealed Qur'an?


افلاتتدبّرون القرآن تأويلاً

Why do you not ponder upon the [true] interpretation [inner sense] (ta'wil an) of the Qur'an?


اتّقوا اللّه من اخذنا علی الحقّ شديداً

Fear ye God for Our punishment is, in very truth, severe.


ان كنتم فيما كنتم و لاترجعون الی ذكر اللّه العلیّ بالحقّ علی الحقّ قريبا

By virtue of what you are you shall not return unto the Exalted Remembrance of God (dhikr Allah) who is, in very truth, near at hand.


فسوف يريكم اللّه فی القيمة نارا قد احاطت بانفسكم هنالك لن تجدوا من دون اللّه العلیّ ظهيراً

At the Resurrection God will show you a Fire which will surround your selves, wherein you shall not find a Helper apart from God, the Exalted.


آمنتم من دون اللّه الحقّ بنفسين و كان اللّه علی كلّ شیء محيطاً

Apart from God, the True One, you have believed in two persons [or: two souls; nafsayn]. And God['s knowledge] encompasseth all things.


آمنتم من دون اللّه الحقّ  بشیء و كان اللّه علی كلّ  شیء  شهيدا

** Aside from God, the True One, you have believed in some other thing, and God is ever witness unto all things.


يا قرّة العين

فاضرب علی اهل المدينة ضرباً علی المثلين فی النّفسين قد قدّر اللّه لاحدهما حول الباب جنّتين من الشّجرين مرتفعين

احدهما يسقی الماء فی الحوضين و الاخر يشرب الماء فی الكأسين و هما قد كانا باذن اللّه فی المائين موقوفاً **

 O Delight of the Eyes (Qurrat al- `ayn) [ = the Bāb]!

Strike for the people of the city the parable of the two persons (al-nafsayn). For one of the two God ordained two gardens with two elevated trees in the vicinity of the Gate (al-Bāb). The one of them drank from the water in the two ponds (al-hauḍayn) and the other quaffed of the water in the two [wine] bowls (al-kasayn). Both were, by the leave of God, established in the vicinity of the [Sinaitic] Fire (al-nar) near the two [cosmic] Watery Expanses (al-mā'ayn).


و  علی الاخر نهرين فی ارض المغربين و قد كان له حيتان فی احدی الخليجين

For the latter [of the two] were [provided] two rivers (nahrayn) in the land of the "two Wests" (fi arḍ al-maghribayn);  having two gardens (jannatayn) in one of  the two gulfs (khalījayn).


فقال الصّاحبيه الاوّلين انّكما علی الامر فی الاخرين و انّی ما اظنّ الحقّ فی السّاعتين قائمتين

The former of the two said to his companion, `You subscribe to the stipulation (al-amr) about the two hereafters (al-akhirayn) [or: two latter days?] but I contest the truth about the realization of the two [eschatological] hours [two Qā’ims?] (al-sa`atayn qa'imatayn; cf. Q.18:32-35).


 و هو علی الكفر باليقين للانفس نفسه و للنفسين بعده

This was, of a certainty, an expression of unbelief on the part of souls,  [that soul] himself and [such two?] souls as [came] after him.


تاللّه الحقّ فانصفوا بالحقّ فایّ النّفسين فی الحزبين قد كان حول النّار محموداً

By God, the True One!

So judge thou aright which of the two persons (al-nafsayn) of the two factions (al-hizbayn) was praiseworthy in the vicinity of the [Sinaitic] Fire (al-nar)?


و انّ الحقّ قد عرّفه فی المسجد الحرام رؤية العدل فی الحقّ الاكبر

اكفرت بالّذی قد خلقك من تراب ثمّ من نطفة ثمّ سوّيك  رجلاً محدوداً  

The True One indeed recognized him [the best of the two persons] in the Sacred Mosque (al-masjid al-ḥaram; cf. Q. l7:1), a vision of justice (ru'yat al-`adl) according to the Most Great Truth. Dost thou (sing.) disbelieve in He Who created thee from dust, then from a drop of sperm, then fashioned thee into well proportioned man?


يا اهل الشّرك

 لم تجعلون لانفسكم مع الباب باباً آخر تاللّه الحقّ لقد كان مقعدكم النّار بحكم الكتاب ملوماً مخذولاً

O people of blasphemy!

Do not set up for yourselves another Gate (Bāb) in opposition to the Gate (al-Bāb). By God, the True One! According to the decree of the Book your refuge shall be the [hell-] fire which is accursed and vile.