Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qur’ān; Translated and Explained by Muhammad Asad (1980)
confirming the one already in their possession.
Say: “Why, then, did you slay God’s prophets aforetime, if you were [truly] believers?”76
(92) And indeed, there came unto you Moses with all evidence of the truth – and thereupon, in his absence, you took to worshipping the [golden] calf, and acted wickedly.
(93) And, lo, We accepted your solemn pledge, raising Mount Sinai high above you, [saying,] “Hold fast with [all your] strength unto what We have vouchsafed you, and hearken unto it!”
[But] they say, “We have heard, but we disobey”77 – for their hearts are filled to overflowing with love of the [golden] calf because of their refusal to acknowledge the truth.78
Say: “Vile is what this [false] belief of yours enjoins upon you – if indeed you are believers!”
(94) Say: “If an afterlife with God is to be for you alone, to the exclusion of all other people,79 then you should long for death – if what you say is true!”
(95) But never will they long for it, because [they are aware] of what their hands have sent ahead in this world: and God has full knowledge of evildoers. (96) And thou wilt most certainly find that they cling to life more eagerly than any other people, even more than those who are bent on ascribing divinity to other beings beside God: every one of them would love to live a thousand years, although the grant of long life could not save him from suffering [in the hereafter]: for God sees all that they do.
(97) Say [O Prophet]: “Whosoever is an enemy of Gabriel” – who, verily, by God’s leave, has brought down upon thy heart this [divine writ] which confirms the truth of whatever there still remains [of earlier revelations], and is a guidance and a glad tiding for the believers–: (98) “whosover is an enemy of God and His angels and His message-bearers, including Gabriel and Michael, [should know that,] verily, God is the
76 A reference to their assertion that they believe in what has been revealed to them – i.e. the Law of Moses, which obviously prohibits the killing not only of prophets but of any innocent human being. See also the concluding sentences of verses 61 and 87, and the corresponding notes.
77 It is obvious that they did not actually utter these words; their subsequent behaviour, however, justifies the above metonymical expression.
78 Lit., “into their hearts has been instilled the calf because of their denial of the truth”: i.e., as soon as they turned away from the genuine message propounded by Moses, they fell into worshipping material goods, symbolized by the “golden calf”.
79 An allusion to the Jewish belief that paradise is reserved for the children of Israel alone (cf. verse 111 of this sūrah).