Don’t Let Your Harvest Be Lost: Surah 68 With Exposition

An exposition and discussion of sūrah 68, relating its key features to components of that mechanism we are calling the God protocol whereby peoples are warned and — in the case of rejection — destroyed, which we find in the Qur’an.

1 nūn By the pen, and what they inscribe!
2 Thou art not, by the favour of thy Lord, possessed;
3 And for thee is a reward unending.
4 And thou art upon a tremendous tradition.
5 And thou wilt see, and they will see
6 Which of you is mad.
7 Thy Lord best knows who has strayed from His path, and He best knows the guided.
8 Then obey thou not the deniers
9 (They wish that thou shouldst compromise, then would they compromise)
10 Neither obey thou every despised swearer of oaths,
11 Backbiter, going about with calumny
12 Hinderer of good, transgressor, sinful,
13 Relentless and useless,
14 Because he is possessed of wealth and sons.
15 When Our proofs are recited to him, he says: “Legends of the former peoples!”
16 We will brand him on the snout.
17 We have tried them as We tried the companions of the garden, when they swore they would reap its fruit in the morning,
18 And made no allowance.
19 Then an itinerant1 from thy Lord went about it while they slept,
20 And in the morning it was as if reaped.
21 Then called they to one another in the morning:
22 “Go early to your tilth, if you would be reaping!
23 So they departed, whispering together:
24 “No needy one will enter it this day against your will.”
25 And they went early, determined upon their purpose.
26 Then when they saw it they said: “We have gone astray!
27 “Nay, we have been deprived!”
28 Said the most moderate of them: “Said I not to you: ‘Oh, that you did but1 give glory!’”
29 They said: “Glory1 be to our Lord! We were wrongdoers!”
30 Then they approached one other, blaming one another.
31 They said: “Woe is us! We transgressed all bounds.
32 “It may be that our Lord will give us in exchange better than it; to our Lord do we turn in hope.”
33 Thus is the punishment — and the punishment of the Hereafter is greater, had they but known.
34 For those of prudent fear, with their Lord are the Gardens of Bliss.
35 Shall We then make those submitting like the lawbreakers?
36 What ails you? How judge you?
37 If you have a Writ wherein you study: —
38 “You have therein whatever you choose!”
39 Or if you have oaths binding upon Us reaching to the Day of Resurrection: — “You have whatever you decide!
40 Ask thou them which of them is, for that, guarantor!
41 If they have partners:2then let them bring their partners,3 if they be truthful.
42 The day the shin is uncovered — and they are invited to the Submission, but they are not able —
43 Their eyes will be humbled, humiliation covering them, for they had been invited to the Submission when they were whole.
44 So leave thou Me with those who deny this narrative. We will lead them by degrees, whence they know not;
45 And I will grant them respite — My plan is firm.
46 If thou askest of them a reward: then are they burdened by debt!
47 If the Unseen be with them: then are they writing!
48 And be thou patient for the judgment of thy Lord; and be thou not like the companion of the fish when he called and was angry.
49 Had not favour from his Lord overtaken him, he would have been cast on the bare shore when he was condemned.
50 But his Lord chose him, and made him of the righteous.
51 And those who ignore warning almost cause thee to slip with their eyes when they hear the remembrance, and they say: “He is possessed.”
52 But it is only a reminder to all mankind.


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