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illā
إِلَّا
Except
mani
مَنِ
(one) who
is'taraqa
ٱسْتَرَقَ
steals
l-samʿa
ٱلسَّمْعَ
the hearing,
fa-atbaʿahu
فَأَتْبَعَهُۥ
then follows him
shihābun
شِهَابٌ
a burning flame
mubīnun
مُّبِينٌ
clear.

Illaa manis taraqas sam'a fa atba'ahoo shihaabum mubeen

Sahih International:

Except one who steals a hearing and is pursued by a clear burning flame.

1 A. J. Arberry

excepting such as listens by stealth -- and he is pursued by a manifest flame.

2 Abdul Haleem

any eavesdropper will be pursued by a clearly visible flame.

3 Abdul Majid Daryabadi

Save him who stealeth the hearing, and him there followeth a flame gleaming.

4 Abdullah Yusuf Ali

But any that gains a hearing by stealth, is pursued by a flaming fire, bright (to see).

5 Abul Ala Maududi

save him who may eavesdrop, and then a bright flame pursues him.

6 Ahmed Ali

Except the ones who listen on the sly, yet they are chased away by a shooting flame.

7 Ahmed Raza Khan

Except one who comes to eavesdrop – therefore a bright flame goes after him.

8 Ali Quli Qarai

except someone who may eavesdrop, whereat there pursues him a manifest flame.

9 Ali Ünal

Excepting one who listens by stealth, and is pursued (and destroyed) by a shooting-star clear to see.

10 Amatul Rahman Omar

As to one who wishes to steal a hearing (of the revelation to distort it) a bright fiery flame pursues him.

11 English Literal

Except who eavesdropped the hearing, so a clear/evident light from a fire source/a star followed him.

12 Faridul Haque

Except one who comes to eavesdrop - therefore a bright flame goes after him.

13 Hamid S. Aziz

But any that steal a hearing, there follows him a bright flaming fire (or shooting star).

14 Hilali & Khan

Except him (devil) that gains hearing by stealing, he is pursued by a clear flaming fire.

15 Maulana Mohammad Ali

And We guard it against every accursed devil,

16 Mohammad Habib Shakir

But he who steals a hearing, so there follows him a visible flame.

17 Mohammed Marmaduke William Pickthall

Save him who stealeth the hearing, and them doth a clear flame pursue.

18 Muhammad Sarwar

except for those who stealthily try to listen to the heavens, but who are chased away by a bright flame.

19 Qaribullah & Darwish

Except for he who steals the listening and is then pursued by a visible flame.

20 Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri

Except him (devil) who steals the hearing, then he is pursued by a clear flaming fire.

21 Wahiduddin Khan

but if anyone eavesdrops, he is pursued by a bright flaming fire.

22 Talal Itani

Except one who steals a hearing, and is followed by a visible projectile.

23 Tafsir jalalayn

except the one who listens by stealth -- he is pursued by a clear flame, a shining meteor that burns him, or pierces him or drives him insane.

24 Tafseer Ibn Kathir

And We have guarded it (near heaven) from every outcast Shaytan (devil). Except him (devil) who steals the hearing, then he is pursued by a clear flaming fire.

Allah made the "shooting stars" to guard it against the evil devils who try to listen to information conveyed at the highest heights. If any devil breaches it and advances hoping to listen, a clear "shooting star" comes to him and destroys him. He may already have passed on whatever he heard before the fire hit him, to another devil below him; the latter will then take it to his friends (among humans), as is stated in the Sahih. Explaining this Ayah, Al-Bukhari reported from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said;

إِذَا قَضَى اللهُ الاَْمْرَ فِي السَّمَاءِ ضَرَبَتِ الْمَلَيِكَةُ بِأَجْنِحَتِهَا خُضْعَانًا لِقَوْلِهِ كَأَنَّهُ سِلْسِلَةٌ عَلَى صَفْوَان

When Allah decrees any matter in heaven, the angels beat their wings in submission to His Word, (with a sound like) a chain (beating) on a smooth rock."

Ali and other sub narrators said, "The sound reaches them."

"When the fright leaves their (angels') hearts, they (angels) are asked;`What did your Lord say!'

They respond;"The truth. And He is the Most High, the Most Great.' So those who hope to hear something listen, and they are standing one above the other."

Sufyan (the narrator) described them with a gesture, spreading the fingers of his right hand and holding it in such a way that the fingers were above one another.

"Sometimes the flaming fire hits one of these listeners before he is able to convey what he has heard to the one who is beneath him, and he is burned up, or sometimes the fire does not hit him until he has pit on to the one beneath him, so he brings it to the earth."
Perhaps Sufyan said;"...until it reaches the earth and he puts it into the mouth of the sorcerer or fortune-teller, so that after telling a hundred lies he gets something right, and the people say, `Did he not tell us that on such and such a day such and such would happen, and we found it to be the truth among the statements which were heard from heaven."'
Then Allah says;

وَالَارْضَ مَدَدْنَاهَا وَأَلْقَيْنَا فِيهَا رَوَاسِيَ وَأَنبَتْنَا فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ شَيْءٍ مَّوْزُونٍ