Gems from the Holy Qur’an
From the translation by Muhammad Asad (Leopold Weiss)
About the translator:
Muhammad Asad, Leopold Weiss, was born of Jewish parents in Livow, Austria (later Poland) in 1900, and at the age of 22 made his first visit to the Middle East. He later became an outstanding foreign correspondent for the Franfurter Zeitung, and after his conversion to Islam travelled and worked throughout the Muslim world, from North Africa to as far east as Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. After years of devoted study he became one of the leading Muslim scholars of our age. His translation of the Holy Qur'an is one of the most lucid and well-referenced works in this category, dedicated to “li-qawmin yatafakkaroon” (For people who think).
Chapter 35, verses 15 –18
O men! It is you who stand in need of God, whereas He alone is self-sufficient, the one to whom all praise is due.
If He so wills, He can do away with you and bring forth a new mankind [in your stead]: nor is this difficult for God.
And no bearer of burdens shall be made to bear another’s burden; [ 1 ] and if one weighed down by his load calls upon [another] to help him carry it, nothing thereof may be carried [by that other], even if it be one’s near of kin.[ 2 ]
Hence, thou canst [truly] warn only those who stand in awe of their Sustainer although He is beyond the reach of their perception, [ 3 ] and are constant in prayer, and [know that] whoever grows in purity, attains to purity but for the good of his own self, and [that with God is all journey’s end.
Chapter 35, verses 24 – 26
Verily, We have sent thee with the truth, as a bearer of glad tidings and a warner: for there never was any community but a warner has [lived and] passed away in its midst.
[ 1 ] I.e., on Judgment Day – for “whatever [wrong] any human being commits rests upon him alone” (Chapter 6, Verse 64), which is followed by a sentence identical with the one above).
[ 2 ] Thus, any transfer of moral responsibility from one person to another is shown to be impossible. Whereas the first part of the above statement implies a negation of the Christian doctrine of “original sin” with which mankind is supposedly burdened, the second part categorically refutes the doctrine of “vicarious atonement” of that sin by Jesus.
[ 3 ] The meaning is that only those “who believe in the existence of that which is beyond the reach of human perception” can really benefit by the “warning” inherent in the preceding statement.