Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qur’ān; Translated and Explained by Muhammad Asad (1980)

to create discord between a man and his wife; but whereas they can harm none thereby save by God’s leave, they acquire a knowledge that only harms themselves and does not benefit them – although they know, indeed, that he who acquires this [knowledge] shall have no share in the good of the life to come.84 For, vile indeed is that [art] for which they have sold their own selves – had they but known it!
(103) And had they but believed and been conscious of Him, reward from God would indeed have brought them good – had they but known it!

(104) O you who have attained to faith! Do not say [to the Prophet], “Listen to us,” but rather say, “Have patience with us,” and hearken [unto him], since grievous suffering awaits those who deny the truth.85
(105) Neither those from among the followers of earlier revelation who are bent on denying the truth, nor those who ascribe divinity to other beings beside God, would like to see any good 86 ever bestowed upon you from on high by your Sustainer; but God singles out for His grace whom He wills – for God is limitless in His great bounty.
(106) Any message which We annul or consign to oblivion We replace with a better or a similar one.87

ʿAbbās to the effect that Hārūt and Mārūt were “two men who practiced sorcery in Babylon” (Baghawī; see also Manār I, 402). At any rate, it is certain that from very ancient times Babylon was reputed to be the home of magic arts, symbolized in the legendary persons – perhaps kings – Hārūt and Mārūt; and it is to this legend that the Qurʾān refers with a view to condemning every attempt at magic and sorcery, as well as all preoccupation with occult sciences in general.

84 The above passage does not raise the question as to whether there is an objective truth in the occult phenomena loosely described as “magic”, or whether they are based on self-deception. The intent here is no more and no less than to warn man that any attempt at influencing the course of events by means which – at least in the mind of the person responsible for it – have a “supernatural” connotation is a spiritual offence, and must inevitably result in a most serious damage to their author’s spiritual status.

85 This admonition, addressed in the first instance to the contemporaries of the Prophet, has – as so often in the Qurʾān – a connotation that goes far beyond the historical circumstances that gave rise to it. The Companions were called upon to approach the Prophet with respect and to subordinate their personal desires and expectations to the commandments of the Faith revealed through him: and this injunction remains valid for every believer and for all times.

86 I.e., revelation – which is the highest good. The allusion here is to the unwillingness of the Jews and the Christians to admit that revelation could have been bestowed on any community but their own.

87 The principle laid down in this passage – relating to the supersession of the Biblical dispensation by that of the Qurʾān – has given rise to an erroneous interpretation by many Muslim theologians. The word āyah (“message”) occurring in this context is also used to denote a “verse” of the Qurʾān (because every one of these verses contains a message). Taking this restricted meaning of the term āyah, some scholars conclude from the above passage that certain verses of the Qurʾān have been “abrogated” by God’s command before the revelation of the Qurʾān was completed. Apart from the fancifulness of this assertion – which calls to mind the image of a human author correcting, on second thought, the proofs of his manuscript, deleting one passage and replacing it

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Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qur’ān; Translated and Explained by Muhammad Asad, Dar Al-Andalus Limited, 3 Library Ramp, Gibraltar, Consulted online at “Quran Archive - Texts and Studies on the Quran” on 17 Aug. 2022: http://quran-archive.org/explorer/muhammad-asad/1980?page=41