Marmaduke Pickthall, The Meaning of The Glorious Koran. An Explanatory Translation (1930)


Al-‘Ankabût, “The Spider,” takes its name from v. 41 where false beliefs are likened to the spider’s web for frailty. Most of this Sûrah belongs to the middle or last Meccan period. Some authorities consider vv. 7 and 8, others the whole latter portion of the Sûrah.1 to have been revealed at Al-Madînah. It gives comfort to the Muslims in a time of persecution.

A late Meccan Sûrah.

The Spider

Revealed at Mecca
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

1. Alif. Lâm. Mîm.2

2. Do men imagine that they will be left (at ease) because they say, We believe, and will not be tested with affliction?

3. Lo! We tested those who were before you. Thus Allah knoweth those who are sincere, and knoweth those who feign.

4. Or do those who do ill-deeds imagine that they can outstrip Us? Evil (for them) is that which they decide.

5. Whoso looketh forward to the meeting with Allah, (let him know that) Allah’s reckoning is surely nigh, and He is the Hearer, the Knower.

6. And whosoever striveth, striveth only for himself, for lo! Allah is altogether Independent of (His) creatures.

7. And as for those who believe and do good works, We shall remit from them their evil deeds and shall repay them the best that they did.

1 An-Nâsikh wal-Mansûkh by Ibn Salamah.

2 See Sûr. II, v. 1, footnote.

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Marmaduke Pickthall, The Meaning of The Glorious Koran. An Explanatory Translation, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, Consulted online at “Quran Archive - Texts and Studies on the Quran” on 02 Oct. 2022: