Part 3

Black and White Mosque

253. Those messengers We endowed with gifts, some above others: To one of them God spoke; others He raised to degrees (of honor); to Jesus the son of Mary We gave clear (Signs), and strengthened him with the holy spirit. If God had so willed, succeeding generations would not have fought among each other, after clear (Signs) had come to them, but they (chose) to wrangle, some believing and others rejecting. If God had so willed, they would not have fought each other; but God fulfills His plan.

 

Section 34: Compulsion in Religion is Forbidden

 

254. O you who believe! Spend out of (the bounties) We have provided for you, before the Day comes when no bargaining (will avail), nor friendship, nor intercession. Those who reject Faith, they are the wrongdoers.

 

255. God. There is no god but He, - the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permits? He knows what (appears to His creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass anything of His knowledge except as He wills. His Throne do extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them, for He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory).

 

256. Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error: whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And God hears and knows all things. 257. God is the Protector of those who have faith: from the depths of darkness He will lead them forth into light. Of those who reject faith the patrons are the evil ones: from light, they will lead them forth into the depths of darkness. They will be companions of the fire, to dwell therein (forever).

 

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Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error: whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And God hears and knows all things. (2:256)

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Section 35: How Dead Nations are Raised to Life

 

258. Have you not turned your vision to one who disputed with Abraham about his Lord, because God had granted him power? Abraham said: "My Lord is He who gives life and death." He said: "I give life and death". Said Abraham: "But it is God that causes the sun to rise from the east: Do you then cause it to rise from the west." Thus, was he confounded who (in arrogance) rejected faith. Nor does God give guidance to a people unjust. 259. Or (take) the similitude of one who passed by a hamlet, all in ruins to its roofs. He said: "Oh! How shall God bring it (ever) to life, after (this) its death?" But God caused him to die for a hundred years, then raised him up (again). He said: "How long did you tarry (thus)?" He said: (Perhaps) a day or part of a day." He said: "No, you have tarried thus a hundred years; but look at your food and your drink; they show no signs of age; and look at your donkey: And that We may make of you a sign unto the people, look further at the bones, how We bring them together and clothe them with flesh." When this was shown clearly to him, he said: "I know that God has power over all things." 260. Behold! Abraham said: "My Lord! Show me how You give life to the dead." He said: "Do you not then believe?" He said: "Yea! but to satisfy my own undertaking." He said: "Take four birds; tame them to turn to you; put a portion of them on every hill and call to them: They will come to you (flying) with speed. Then know that God is Exalted in Power, Wise."

 

Section 36: Spending Money in the Cause of Truth

 

261. The parable of those who spend their substance in the way of God is that of a grain of corn: it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. God gives manifold increase to whom He pleases: And God cares for all and He knows all things. 262. Those who spend their substance in the cause of God, and follow not up their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury, - for them their reward is with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. 263. Kind words and the covering of faults are better than charity followed by injury. God is free of all wants, and He is Most-Forbearing. 264. O you who believe! Cancel not your charity by reminders of your generosity or by injury, - like those who spend their substance to be seen of men, but believe neither in God nor in the Last Day. They are in parable like a hard, barren rock, on which is a little soil: on it falls heavy rain, which leaves it (just) a bare stone. They will be able to do nothing with what they have earned. And God guides not those who reject faith. 265. And the likeness of those who spend their substance, seeking to please God and to strengthen their souls, is as a garden, high and fertile: heavy rain falls on it but makes it yield a double increase of harvest, and if it receives not heavy rain, light moisture suffices it. God sees well whatever you do. 266. Does any of you wish that he should have a garden with date-palms, and vines and streams flowing underneath, and all kinds of fruit, while he is stricken with old age, and his children are not strong (enough to look after themselves) - that it should be caught in a whirlwind, with fire therein, and be burnt up? Thus, does God make clear to you (His) Signs; that you may consider.

 

Section 37: Spending in the Cause of Truth

 

267. O you who believe! Give of the good things which you have (honorably) earned, and of the fruits of the earth which We have produced for you, and do not even aim at getting anything which is bad, in order that out of it you may give away something, when you yourselves would not receive it except with closed eyes. And know that God is Free of all wants, and worthy of all praise. 268. The Evil one threatens you with poverty and bids you to conduct unseemly. God promises you His forgiveness and bounties. And God cares for all and He knows all things. 269. He grants wisdom to whom He pleases; and he to whom wisdom is granted receives indeed a benefit overflowing; but none will grasp the Message but men of understanding. 270. And whatever you spend in charity or devotion, be sure God knows it all. But the wrongdoers have no helpers. 271. If you disclose (acts of) charity, even so it is well, but if you conceal them, and make them reach those (really) in need, that is best for you: It will remove from you some of your (stains of) evil. And God is well acquainted with what you do. 272. It is not required of you (O Messenger), to set them on the right path, but God sets on the right path whom He pleases. Whatever of good you give benefits your own souls, and you shall only do so seeking the "Face" of God. Whatever good you give, shall be rendered back to you, and you shall not be dealt with unjustly. 273. (Charity is) for those in need, who, in God’s cause are restricted (from travel), and cannot move about in the land, seeking (for trade or work): the ignorant man thinks, because of their modesty, that they are free from want. You shall know them by their (unfailing) mark: They beg not importunately from all the sundry. And whatever of good you give, be assured God knows it well.

 

Section 38: Usury Prohibited

 

274. Those who (in charity) spend of their goods by night and by day, in secret and in public, have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. 275. Those who devour usury will not stand except as stand one whom the Evil one by his touch has driven to madness. That is because they say: "Trade is like usury," but God has permitted trade and forbidden usury. Those who after receiving direction from their Lord, desist, shall be pardoned for the past; their case is for God (to judge); but those who repeat (the offence) are companions of the Fire: They will abide therein (forever). 276. God will deprive usury of all blessing, but will give increase for deeds of charity: For He loves not creatures ungrateful and wicked. 277. Those who believe, and do deeds of righteousness, and establish regular prayers and regular charity, will have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

 

Section 39: Contracts and Evidence

 

278. O you who believe! Fear God, and give up what remains of your demand for usury, if you are indeed believers. 279. If you do it not, take notice of war from God and His Messenger. But if you turn back, you shall have your capital sums: Deal not unjustly, and you shall not be dealt with unjustly. 280. If the debtor is in a difficulty, grant him time till it is easy for him to repay. But if you remit it by way of charity, that is best for you if you only knew. 281. And fear the Day when you shall be brought back to God. Then shall every soul be paid what it earned, and none shall be dealt with unjustly.

 

282. O you who believe! When you deal with each other, in transactions involving future obligations in a fixed period of time, reduce them to writing. Let a scribe write down faithfully as between the parties: let not the scribe refuse to write: as God has taught him, so let him write. Let him who incurs the liability dictate, but let him fear His Lord God, and not diminish anything of what he owes. If the party liable is mentally deficient, or weak, or unable himself to dictate, let his guardian dictate faithfully, and get two witnesses, out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as you choose, for witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her. The witnesses should not refuse when they are called on (for evidence). Disdain not to reduce to writing (your contract) for a future period, whether it be small or big: it is more just in the sight of God, more suitable as evidence, and more convenient to prevent doubts among yourselves. But if it be a transaction which you carry out on the spot among yourselves, there is no blame on you if you reduce it not to writing. But take witness whenever you make a commercial contract; and let neither scribe nor witness suffer harm. If you do (such harm), it would be wickedness in you. So, fear God; for it is God that teaches you. And God is well acquainted with all things. 283. If you are on a journey, and cannot find a scribe, a pledge with possession (may serve the purpose). And if one of you deposits a thing on trust with another, let the trustee (faithfully) discharge his trust, and let him fear his Lord. Conceal not evidence; for whoever conceals it, - his heart is tainted with sin. And God Knows all that you do.

 

Section 40: Muslims Shall be Made Victorious

 

284. To God belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth. Whether you show what is in your mind or conceal it, God calls you to account for it. He forgives whom He pleases, and punishes whom He pleases, for God has power over all things. 285. The Messenger believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believes in God, His angels, His books, and His messengers. "We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of His messengers." And they say: "We hear, and we obey: (We seek) Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the end of all journeys." 286. On no soul does God place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns. (Pray:) "Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget or fall into error; our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which You did lay on those before us; Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins, and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Protector; Help us against those who stand against faith."

 

Chapter 3: The Family of Amram

 

Section 1: Rule of Interpretation

 

In the name of God,

Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

 

1. Alif Lam Mim.

 

2. God. There is no god but He, - the Living, the Self-Subsisting, Eternal. 3. It is He who sent down to you (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong). 4. Then those who reject Faith in the Signs of God will suffer the severest penalty, and God is Exalted in Might, Lord of Retribution. 5. From God, verily nothing is hidden on earth or in the heavens. 6. He it is who shapes you in the wombs as He pleases. There is no god but He, the Exalted in Might, the Wise.

 

7. He it is who has sent down to you the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except God. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:" and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding. 8. "Our Lord!" (they say), "Let not our hearts deviate now after You have guided us, but grant us mercy from Your own presence; for You are the grantor of bounties without measure. 9. "Our Lord! You are He that will gather mankind together against a day about which there is no doubt; for God never fails in His promise."

 

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... and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong). (3:3)

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Section 2: Unity the Basis of all Religions

 

10. Those who reject Faith, - neither their possessions nor their (numerous) progeny will avail them aught against God. They are themselves but fuel for the Fire. 11. (Their plight will be) no better than that of the people of Pharaoh, and their predecessors: They denied our Signs, and God called them to account for their sins. For God is strict in punishment. 12. Say to those who reject Faith: "Soon will you be vanquished and gathered together to Hell, - an evil bed indeed (to lie on)! 13. "There has already been for you a Sign in the two armies that met (in combat): One was fighting in the cause of God, the other resisting God. These saw with their own eyes twice their number. But God does support with His aid whom He pleases. In this is a warning for such as have eyes to see."

 

14. Fair in the eyes of men is the love of things they covet: Women and sons; heaped-up hordes of gold and silver; horses branded (for blood and excellence); and (wealth of) cattle and well-tilled land. Such are the possessions of this world's life; but in nearness to God is the best of the goals (to return to). 15. Say: Shall I give you glad tidings of things far better than those? For the righteous are Gardens in nearness to their Lord, with rivers flowing beneath; therein is their eternal home; with companions, pure (and holy); and the good pleasure of God. For in God’s sight are (all) His servants, - 16. (Namely), those who say: "Our Lord! We have indeed believed: forgive us, then, our sins, and save us from the agony of the Fire;" - 17. Those who show patience, firmness and self-control; who are true (in word and deed); who worship devoutly; who spend (in the way of God); and who pray for forgiveness in the early hours of the morning. 18. There is no god but He: That is the witness of God, His angels, and those endued with knowledge, standing firm on justice. There is no god but He, the Exalted in Power, the Wise. 19. The religion before God is submission to His will: Nor did the People of the Book dissent therefrom except through envy of each other, after knowledge had come to them. But if any deny the Signs of God, God is swift in calling to account. 20. So if they dispute with you, say: "I have submitted my whole self to God and so have those who follow me." And say to the People of the Book and to those who are unlearned: "Do you (also) submit yourselves?" If they do, they are in right guidance, but if they turn back, your duty is to convey the Message; and in God’s sight are (all) His servants.

 

Section 3: The Kingdom is Granted to Another People

 

21. As to those who deny the Signs of God and in defiance of right, slay the prophets, and slay those who teach just dealing with mankind, announce to them a grievous penalty. 22. They are those whose works will bear no fruit in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help. 23. Have you not turned your vision to those who have been given a portion of the Book? They are invited to the Book of God, to settle their dispute, but a party of them turn back and decline (the arbitration). 24. This because they say: "The Fire shall not touch us but for a few numbered days": For their forgeries deceive them as to their own religion. 25. But how (will they fare) when we gather them together against a day about which there is no doubt, and each soul will be paid out just what it has earned, without (favor or) injustice?

 

26. Say: "O God! Lord of Power (and Rule), You give power to whom You please, and You strip off power from whom You please: You provide with honor whom You please, and You bring low whom You please: In Your hand is all good. Verily, over all things You have power. 27. "You cause the night to gain on the day, and you cause the day to gain on the night; You bring the Living out of the dead, and You bring the dead out of the Living; and You give sustenance to whom You please, without measure." 28. Let not the believers take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from God; except by way of precaution, that you may guard yourselves against them. But God cautions you (to remember) Himself; for the final goal is to God. 29. Say: "Whether you hide what is in your hearts or reveal it, God knows it all: He knows what is in the heavens, and what is on earth. And God has power over all things. 30. "On the Day when every soul will be confronted with all the good it has done, and all the evil it has done, it will wish there were a great distance between it and its evil. But God cautions you (to remember) Himself. And God is full of kindness to those that serve Him."

 

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O God! Lord of Power (and Rule), You give power to whom You please, and You strip off power from whom You please: You provide with honor whom You please, and You bring low whom You please: In Your hand is all good. Verily, over all things You have power. (3:26).

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Section 4: Last Members of a Chosen Race

 

31. Say: "If you do love God, follow me: God will love you and forgive you your sins: For God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." 32. Say: “Obey God and His Messenger”: But if they turn back, God loves not those who reject Faith. 33. God did choose Adam and Noah, the family of Abraham, and the family of Amram above all people, - 34. Offspring, one of the other: And God hears and knows all things.

 

35. Behold! A woman of Amram said: "O my Lord! I do dedicate unto You what is in my womb for Your special service: So, accept this of me: For You hear and know all things." 36. When she was delivered, she said: "O my Lord! Behold! I am delivered of a female child!" - and God knew best what she brought forth - "And no wise is the male like the female. I have named her Mary, and I commend her and her offspring to Your protection from the Evil One, the Rejected." 37. Right graciously did her Lord accept her: He made her grow in purity and beauty: To the care of Zechariah was she assigned. Every time that he entered (her) chamber to see her, he found her supplied with sustenance. He said: "O Mary! When (comes) this to you?" She said: "From God: for God provides sustenance to whom He pleases without measure."

 

38. There did Zechariah pray to his Lord, saying: "O my Lord! Grant unto me from You a progeny that is pure: for You are He that hears prayer! 39. While he was standing in prayer in the chamber, the angels called unto him: "(God) does give you glad tidings of John the Baptist, witnessing the truth of a Word from God, and (be besides) noble, chaste, and a prophet, - of the (goodly) company of the righteous." 40. He said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son seeing I am very old and my wife is barren?" "Thus" was the answer "does God accomplish what He wills." 41. He said: "O my Lord! Give me a Sign!" "Your Sign," was the answer, "Shall be that you shall speak to no man for three days but with signals. Then celebrate the praises of Your Lord again and again, and glorify Him in the evening and in the morning."

 

Section 5: Birth of Jesus and His Ministry

 

42. Behold! The angels said: "O Mary! God has chosen you and purified you - chosen you above the women of all nations. 43. "O Mary! Worship Your Lord devoutly: Prostrate yourself, and bow down (in prayer) with those who bow down." 44. This is part of the tidings of the things unseen, which We reveal unto you (O Messenger) by inspiration: You were not with them when they cast lots with arrows, as to which of them should be charged with the care of Mary: Nor were you with them when they disputed (the point). 45. Behold! The angels said: "O Mary! God gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter, and of (the company of) those nearest to God. 46. "He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. And he shall be (of the company) of the righteous." 47. She said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me?" He said: "Even so: God creates what He wills: When He has decreed a plan, He but says to it, 'Be,' and it is! 48. "And God will teach him the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel, 49. "And (appoint him) a messenger to the Children of Israel, (with this message): "'I have come to you, with a Sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by God’s leave: And I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I quicken the dead, by God’s leave; and I declare to you what you eat, and what you store in your houses. Surely, therein is a Sign for you if you did believe; 50. "'(I have come to you), to attest the Law which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was (before) forbidden to you; I have come to you with a Sign from your Lord. So, fear God, and obey me. 51. "'It is God who is my Lord and your Lord; then worship Him. This is a Way that is straight.'"

 

52. When Jesus found Unbelief on their part, he said: "Who will be my helpers to (the work of) God." Said the disciples: "We are God’s helpers: We believe in God, and do you bear witness that we are bowing to God’s will. 53. "Our Lord! We believe in what You have revealed, and we follow the Messenger. Then write us down among those who bear witness." 54. And (the unbelievers) plotted and planned, and God too planned, and the best of planners is God.

 

Section 6: Jesus Cleared of False Charges

 

55. Behold! God said: "O Jesus! I will take you and raise you to Myself and clear you (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow you superior to those who reject faith, to the Day of Resurrection: Then shall you all return unto Me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein you dispute. 56. "As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help." 57. "As to those who believe and work righteousness, God will pay them (in full) their reward; but God loves not those who do wrong." 58. "This is what we rehearse unto you of the Signs and the Message of Wisdom." 59. The similitude of Jesus before God is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: "Be", and he was. 60. The Truth (comes) from God alone; so be not of those who doubt. 61. If anyone disputes in this matter with you, now after (full) knowledge has come to you, say: "Come! let us gather together, - our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves: Then let us earnestly pray, and invoke the curse of God on those who lie!" 62. This is the true account: There is no god except God; and God - He is indeed the Exalted in Power, the Wise. 63. But if they turn back, God has full knowledge of those who do mischief.

 

Section 7: Controversy with Jews and Christians

 

64. Say: "O People of the Book! Come to common terms as between us and you: That we worship none but God; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, lords and patrons other than God." If then they turn back, say you: "Bear witness that we (at least) are bowing to God’s will." 65. You People of the Book! Why dispute you about Abraham, when the Law and the Gospel were not revealed till after him? Have you no understanding? 66. Ah! You are those who fell to disputing (even) in matters of which you had some knowledge! But why dispute you in matters of which you have no knowledge? It is God who knows, and you who know not! 67. Abraham was not a Jew nor yet a Christian; but he was true in Faith, and bowed his will to God’s, and he joined not gods with God. 68. Without doubt, among men, the nearest of kin to Abraham, are those who follow him, as are also this Messenger and those who believe: And God is the Protector of those who have faith. 69. It is the wish of a section of the People of the Book to lead you astray. But they shall lead astray (not you), but themselves, and they do not perceive! 70. You People of the Book! Why reject you the Signs of God, of which you are (yourselves) witnesses? 71. You People of the Book! Why do you clothe truth with falsehood, and conceal the truth, while you have knowledge?

 

Section 8: Machinations to Discredit Islam

 

72. A section of the People of the Book say: "Believe in the morning what is revealed to the believers, but reject it at the end of the day; perchance they may (themselves) turn back; 73. "And believe no one unless he follows your religion." Say: "True guidance is the Guidance of God. (Fear you) lest a revelation be sent to someone (else) like unto that which was sent unto you? Or that those (receiving such revelation) should engage you in argument before your Lord?" Say: "All bounties are in the hand of God. He grants them to whom He pleases: And God cares for all, and He knows all things." 74. For His Mercy, He specially chooses whom He pleases; for God is the Lord of bounties unbounded. 75. Among the People of the Book are some who, if entrusted with a hoard of gold, will (readily) pay it back; others, who, if entrusted with a single silver coin, will not repay it unless you constantly stood demanding, because, they say, "there is no call on us (to keep faith) with these ignorant (Pagans)." But they tell a lie against God, and (well) they know it. 76. No - those that keep their plighted faith and act aright, - verily God loves those who act aright. 77. As for those who sell the faith they owe to God and their own plighted word for a small price, they shall have no portion in the Hereafter: Nor will God (deign to) speak to them or look at them on the Day of Judgment, nor will He clean them (of sin): They shall have a grievous penalty. 78. There is among them a section who distort the Book with their tongues: (As they read) you would think it is a part of the Book, but it is no part of the Book; and they say, "That is from God," but it is not from God. It is they who tell a lie against God, and (well) they know it! 79. It is not (possible) that a man, to whom is given the Book, and Wisdom, and the prophetic office, should say to people: "Be you my worshippers rather than God’s": on the contrary (he would say) "Be you worshippers of Him who is truly the Cherisher of all: For you have taught the Book and you have studied it earnestly." 80. Nor would he instruct you to take angels and prophets for Lords and patrons. What! Would he bid you to unbelief after you have bowed your will (to God in His submission)?

 

Section 9: Covenant of the Prophets

 

81. Behold! God took the covenant of the prophets, saying: "I give you a Book and Wisdom; then come to you a messenger, confirming what is with you; do you believe in him and render him help." God said: "Do you agree, and take this my Covenant as binding on you?" They said: "We agree." He said: "Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses." 82. If any turn back after this, they are perverted transgressors. 83. Do they seek for other than the Religion of God - while all creatures in the heavens and on earth have, willing or unwilling, bowed to His Will, and to Him shall they all be brought back. 84. Say: "We believe in God, and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus, and the prophets, from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another among them, and to God do we bow our will (in submission)."

 

85. If anyone desires a religion other than submission to God, never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter, he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good). 86. How shall God guide those who reject Faith after they accepted it and bore witness that the Messenger was true and that Clear Signs had come unto them? But God guides not a people unjust. 87. Of such, the reward is that on them (rests) the curse of God, of His angels, and of all mankind; - 88. In that will they dwell; nor will their penalty be lightened, nor respite be (their lot); - 89. Except for those that repent (even) after that, and make amends; for verily God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. 90. But those who reject Faith after they accepted it, and then go on adding to their defiance of Faith, - never will their repentance be accepted; for they are those who have (of set purpose) gone astray. 91. As to those who reject Faith, and die rejecting, - never would be accepted from any such as much gold as the earth contains, though they should offer it for ransom. For such is (in store) a penalty grievous, and they will find no helpers.