Is 91:15 addressing God or the human being?

When we look at most translations of 91:15, most all translations address the verse towards God.

Clear Quran:
[91:15] And He does not fear its sequel.

Yusuf Ali:
[91:15] And for Him is no fear of its consequences.

Pickthal:
[91:15] He dreadeth not the sequel (of events).

Shakir:
[91:15] And He fears not its consequence.

Sher Ali:
[91:15] And HE cared not for the consequences thereof.

But when we look a the translation from Rashad Khalifa we see the following:

Khalifa:
[91:15] Yet, those who came after them remain heedless.

So why is it that Rashad’s translation is so different from the others?

To understand this let’s look at the Arabic. The Arabic for 91:15 is:

وَلَا يَخَافُ عُقْبَاهَا

To break this down word by word would be the following:

وَلَا = and not
يَخَافُ = he/He fears
عُقْبَاهَا = its consequences

So is the “he” in reference to God or to the people? If we interpret that the “He” is in reference to God, then it is indicating that God does not fear the consequences. This appears to be kind of a strange statement if that was the case. Why would the Almighty, All-Powerful fear anything, let alone have fear of consequences?

Additionally, consequences typically have a bad connotation as if it is the outcome of doing something potentially wrong. None of this should ever apply to God. Nevertheless, it could be loosely interpreted that this verse just means that God does what He wants. Fair enough.

But does that interpretation have better standing than the alternative? If we associate the “he” as in the human being, the statement makes much more sense. This is particularly true based on the context of the previous verses.

When we look at the previous verses it is discussing the people of Thamud who slaughtered the camel and therefore were annihilated. Yet despite this warning, most people do not fear the consequences of their own actions. Instead most people continue to go down the path of destruction despite the examples from previous generations laid out for us by God in the Quran.

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