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QA. XVI [16] Sūrat al-`Arsh (The Surah of the Throne) on Qur'ān 12: 15


Part  XVI


 سورة العرش 

  Sūrat al-`Arsh

(The Surah of the Throne) 


Qur'ān 12: 15

Translation Stephen N. Lambden

1982-2016 - Last updated 10-03-2020.


بسم اللّه الرّحمن الرّحيم

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate


"So when they went with him, and agreed to put him in the bottom of the well, and We revealed to him, 'Thou shalt tell them of this their doing when they are unaware.'" (Q. 12: 15. Trans. Arberry). 




Abjad =  1+30+40+100 = 171


God indeed did send down the Book (al-kitab) unto him, in Truth, in very Truth, a clarification (tibyan) of all things as well as  a Mercy (rahmat) and an expression of Good-News (bushra) unto all the worlds [of God]. [5] Praised be unto God Who, in very Truth, sent down the Book (al-kitab) unto Our Word (kalimat). This to the end that the people might recollect [celebrate, make mention of]  (mazkur an) this Bab (Gate) [mentioned] in the Mother [Archetypal] Book (umm al-kitab) nigh the [Sinaitic] Fire. [6] This is indeed Our Book (al-kitab) which, in very Truth, crieth out unto thee though most of the people do not believe in God and in His verses  as sent down, in very Truth, unto that Bab (Gate). And God is indeed witness unto all things.


ياعباد الرّحمن

O servants of the All-Merciful!

We indeed, with the permission of God, gave thee the Good-News of the Greatest Dhikr-Remembrance of God through, in Truth, in very Truth, a decree of the Ancient of Days [pre-Existent] (hukm al-qadim) about that Bab (Gate), a matter [Cause] which is indeed  weighty (amr an thaqil an). [8] Wherefore was it that what God intended for thee, in thy [eschatological] Day, is obedience before God (al-ata`a Allah), the True One, in accordance, in Truth, in very Truth, with His Cause [Command) (li-amr-ihi) which is a recompense (thawab an) Upright (qawwim) before God, the Ancient of Days [Pre-Existent] (al-qadim). [9] Whomsoever God maketh truly obedient  regarding Our Cause (amr), as pertains to the Truth (al-haqq)  regarding the Dhikr Allah (Remembrance of God) is, in Truth, one especially beloved (hubb an) of the Bab and one in compliant obedience (imtithal an) before Us. [10] Such will surely encounter God beyond the celestial Throne thoroughly content with the Truth (radiyy an `ala al-haqq) and well-pleased therewith (mardiyy an). [11] And whosomsoever [like Satan, cf. Q 15:31b] refuses Our Cause, is one repugnant, aside from the Truth, in disobedient rebellion (`usyan an). [12] Such  the All-Merciful will surely make to taste of the tree of scolding water (shajarat al-hamim) that, in Truth, consonant with justice (bi'l-`adl), issues forth from the Abyss of Sijjin [cf. Q. 83:7-8], the [very Tree of] al-Zaqqum [see Q. 37: 62]. [13] This was not something  meted out for such persons by God, in Truth, in very Truth, a matter covenanted (`ahd an), in Truth, something within our own jurisdiction, as a matter dug out (naqiyy an) [? cf. Q. 18:97].

     [14]  Thus, whomsoever desireth [to be obedient to] the Covenant of God (`ahd Allah) must be firm about Our covenant respecting Our Remembrance (Dhikr) for this, in very Truth, directly accords with the essential, powerful locus [letter] of the knowledge of the Book (`ala harf min `ilm al-kitab),


 اتّقوا عباد اللّه

Be ye God fearing, O servants of God!

Regarding, that is, the [eschatological] Day, for the Cause of God (al-amr) shall indeed come unto thee as ordained by God, in Truth, in very Truth, all of a sudden (baghtat); it is near at hand (qarib an)!  [16] Then indeed shall the people prove unable to rule, save that is with the permission of God for, in very Truth, it is Our [time to]  rule by means of Our servant (`abd) [the Bab]. And God hath ever been aware of all things. [17] This with the exception of those for whom Our Book (kitab) was, in very Truth,  upon their necks (a`naq) [intimate to them; cf. Q. 17:29; 34:33; 36:8; 40:71] for such were through past service to the [messianic] Remembrance (al-dhikr), reckoned gracious answerers (mujib an). [18] The Remembrance (al-dhikr) hath ever been faithful in his covenant (`ahd) respecting such as had, in very Truth, come unto him according to a firmly established Covenant (al-`ahd al-qayyim) that is indeed straight (mustaqim an).


فاخشواعباد اللّه

So be ye fearful! O servants of God!

Lest ye be, in very Truth, severely (shahid an) seized by God, thy Lord, the All-Merciful! God did indeed fashion, at Our behest,  "fetters" (ankal an) and "collars" [yokes] (aghlal an) [cf. Q. 73:12; 76:4; 79:25; 2:66] indicative of consequences [fruits of actions] (athmar an)  engendered, in very Truth, by acts of rebellion ["hardness"] and  tormenting punishments (dha `assa wa  `adhab an). [20] This for such as disbelive in the Book and Our Remembrance (dhikr), persons weak and, in very Truth, not believing in him. Such is naught but a laughing- stock based on a lie and indicative of falsehood (huzuw an `ala al-kadhb wa'l-zur an). These are indeed, in the estimation of God, the unbelievers (al-mushrikun) for whom there is no decree on the part of God, save the severity of hellfire (al-nar), coming from the fire of God Himself, the One Elevated. [21] We informed thee (?) [O]  servants of God, of whomsoever We might, in Truth, in very Truth, seize severely (shadid an) among the people on the Day of Separation (yawm al-fasl) [cf. Q. 37: 21;.44:40; 77:13ff; 78:17].  [22] So too whomsoever turneth aside from the Dhikr-Allah (Remembrance of God), being embellished (zukhruf an) with falsehood aside from the Truth, deceitfully (ghurur an).


  فو ربّ السّما و الارض  

So by the Lord of Heaven and Earth!

We shall indeed make them to taste of their torment on the Day of Resurrection (yawm al-qiyama) as, in very Truth, stipulated according to the decree of the Book, relative to the Fire of the Fire (nar al-nar) from the Tree of the Fire (shajarat al-nar), the very abyss of the Ark [of the Covenant] (qa`ar al-tabut) [see Q. 7:22; 32:20; 34:42 etc]. This according to what hath ever been ordained in the Archetypal [Mother] Book (umm al-kitab). 

QA XVI: 24f

[Joseph and his brothers].

فلمّا ذهبوا اخوة يوسف معه الی ارض الاحديّة بما كانوا فی مستسرّ السّرّ حول السّطرمسطوراً ه و قد جعلوا حروف الاحديّة حرف الهإ فی غيابت الجبّ من سرّ الفؤاد حول النّار محجوباً و انّا نحن قد اوحينا اليه لتنبئنّهم بامرهم هذا فسوف يريهم اللّه هذا الحرف فی مقعد السّرّ حول الباب مشهوداً ه و ان حروف لا تشعرنّ بغير شعور اللّه فی مقعد الفؤاد علی الحقّ من ربّهم و كان اللّه بهم علی الحقّ بالحقّ شهيداً ه و انّ اللّه قد احجب بالحقّ علی ذلك الكلمة حجاباً من سرّ السّطر حول العرش مستوراً ه انّ الّذين يريدون اللّه و آياته فی سبل الباب علی حرف الهإ اولئك هم علی الحقّ حول النّار مشهودا و انّ اللّه قد خلق يوسف واخوته من الشّجرة الاحديّة المباركة و انّ النّاس لايعلمون من  عبائرهم السّر ممّا قد كان عند اللّه الحقّ فی امّ الكتاب علی حول النّار مكتوباً ه   

[24] So when the brothers of Joseph went down with him [Joseph] and entered the realm of the Divine Oneness (ard al-ahadiyya),  it was as if they were in the secreted depth (mustasirr al-sirr) inscribed about the [alphabetical] Line-Script (hawl al-satr mastur an)!  [25] They [the brothers] were made to be expressive of the [Arabic] letters of the Divine Oneness (huruf al-ahadiyya) for it was the letter "H" (al-ha', abjad 5) [= Joseph = Husayn = the Bab] which was in the depth of the pit (ghiyab al-jubb), thereby veiled (mahjub an) through the mystery/ inner depth of the inmost heart (min sirr al-fu'ad) nigh the theophanic Fire (al-nar). [cf. Q. 12:15a].

[26] And We, verily, We divinely inspired him [Joseph = the Bab] that he should inform them [the "brothers"] about this Our Cause (al-amr) for God will surely enable them to clearly vision this letter (al-harf) [al-ha' = "h" = Joseph/the Bab] nigh the Gate (hawl al-bab) in the secret retreat of the Mystery (maq`ad al-sirr). [27] Yet thou shall not  comprehend  the letters of the Divine Oneness (huruf al-ahadiyya) aside from [attaining unto] the comprehension [of the verses] of God  (shu`ur Allah) in the very retreat of the inmost heart (fi maq`ad al-fu'ad), as befits [the receipt of] the Truth from thy Lord. And God hath indeed ever been a suitable Witness (shahid an) regarding these matters.

[28]  God hath, in very Truth, caused that Word (al-kalimat) [the Bab]  to be veiled with a veiling indicative of the secret of the veil covered up about the Divine Throne (sirr al-sitr hawl al-`arsh mastur an).  [29] And such as desire God and His verses in the pathways of the Bab (subul al-bab) according to the letter "H" (harf al-ha') [=Joseph = Husayn = the Bab], are indeed such as are, in very Truth, manifest nigh the theophanic Fire (hawl al-nar). [30] God did indeed create Joseph and his brothers from the Blessed Tree of the Divine Oneness (min al-shajarat al-ahadiyya al-mubaraka). This though the people fail to comprehend through their interpretive efforts (?`aba'ir) the mystery (al-sirr) of what hath been written down on the part of God, the True One, in  the Mother [Archetypal] Book nigh the theophanic Fire (al-nar) [31] Are they not aware, in very Truth,  that they cannot act without the permission of God, their Lord, the True One ? And God hath ever been, in Truth, in very Truth, worshipped subsequent to both the negation (al-nahy) and the affirmation (al-ithbat) [cf. the two halves of the shahada = [1] there is no God - [2] but God].

[32] The All-Merciful (al-rahman) shall not question thee on the Day of Resurrection (yawm al-qiyama) about what they committed relative to their own selves though God will assuredly  question thee about they way they acted regarding thy hiddenness [messianic secret] (sirr) and thy public disclosure (jahr). This though God hath indeed ever been informed about their actions. [33] God is He who, no God is there except Him, the most confirmatory of the wondrous narrative (asdaq al-hadith badi` an). [34] And God did not ordain that a proportion of the people should be aware of the secreted [messianic] mystery (mustasirr al-sirr) as pertains to all of the [revealed] verses, except such as exhibited a weakness towards the True One [the Truth] (al-haqq)! And God is indeed the True One, One Well-Disposed (taslim an). [35] God did indeed make the chosen ones of His Logos-Self (awliya' nafsihi), in Truth. in very Truth, persons praiseworthy (mahmudiyyin) in their actions for God hath ever been cognisant of everything (kull shay').


و انظروا عباد اللّه

So Observe ye servants of God!

We, with the permission of God, made Our servant (`abd) [the Bab] in the depths of the well of love (ghiyabat al-hubb), in very Truth, concealed about the theophanic Fire (al-nar)!  [37] And God assuredly made in that Bab (Gate) a secret mystery, one secreted up in mystery and hidden away (sirran `ala al-sirr  mustasirr maknun an). [38] Thou shall surely know that about which thou were, in Truth, in very Truth, ignorant aforetime regrading, with the permission of God that is,  the garments of the Sun (qumus al-shams), the Most Exalted, the Near at hand (al-`aliyy qarib an).


يا ايّها المؤمنون

O Thou Believers!

He did not bestow upon thee the possessions [fruit] of the Messenger (thamrat al-rasul), yet they seized them and whatsoever was prohibited for thee from him. [40] So shall ye terminate this! God indeed, on Our part, thereby established, in Truth, in very Truth, a Wisdom / One Wise (hakim an). [41] Wherefore did God make the [messianic] Dhikr (Remembrance) one all-encompassing (muhit an) of the people on account of his knowledge (`ilm). And God hath ever been Potent over everything (kull shay'). [42] XXX

Select Notes and Comments.

Stephen Lambden

QA 16:17 On the `unuq (pl. `anaq) "neck" Qur'anic motif.  Refer Kassis, 1983:269. See Q. 8:12;13:5; 17:13, 29; 26:4; 34:33; 36:8; 38:33; 40:71.

[17] This with the exception of those for whom Our Book (kitab) was, in very Truth,  upon their necks (a`naq) [intimate to them] for such were through past service to the [messianic] Remembrance (al-dhikr), reckoned gracious answerers (mujib an)." 

QA 16:19 On the severity of God's chastisement 


So be ye fearful! O servants of God!

Lest ye be, in very Truth, severely (shahid an) seized by God, thy Lord, the All-Merciful ...  On the severity of the eschatological punishment see  Q.2:85, 165, 191,196; 5:2, 98, etc. Refer Kassis, 1983:1124-5.

[42] Absent - the verse numbering here, in QA XVI may need adjustment ...