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aw
أَوْ
Or
yakhudhahum
يَأْخُذَهُمْ
that He may seize them
ʿalā
عَلَىٰ
with
takhawwufin
تَخَوُّفٍ
a gradual wasting
fa-inna
فَإِنَّ
But indeed,
rabbakum
رَبَّكُمْ
your Lord
laraūfun
لَرَءُوفٌ
(is) surely Full of Kindness,
raḥīmun
رَّحِيمٌ
Most Merciful.

Aw yaakhuzahum 'alaa takhawwuf; fa inna Rabbakum la Ra'oofur Raheem

Sahih International:

Or that He would not seize them gradually [in a state of dread]? But indeed, your Lord is Kind and Merciful.

1 A. J. Arberry

Or that He will not seize them, little by little destroying them? Surely thy Lord is All-clement, All-compassionate.

2 Abdul Haleem

or that it will not catch up with them gradually? Indeed your Lord is kind and merciful.

3 Abdul Majid Daryabadi

Or, that he will not take hold of them by giving them a fright? verily thy Lord is Kind, Merciful.

4 Abdullah Yusuf Ali

Or that He may not call them to account by a process of slow wastage - for thy Lord is indeed full of kindness and mercy.

5 Abul Ala Maududi

or that He will not seize them when they are apprehensive of the impending calamity? Surely your Lord is Most Compassionate, Most Merciful.

6 Ahmed Ali

Or He may seize them by diminishing their portion. Yet your Lord is compassionate and kind.

7 Ahmed Raza Khan

Or that He may seize them whilst constantly ruining them? For indeed your Lord is Most Compassionate, Most Merciful.

8 Ali Quli Qarai

Or that He will not visit them with attrition? Indeed your Lord is most kind and merciful.

9 Ali Ünal

Or that He will not seize them with gradual wasting (of wealth and health giving them time to mend their ways)? For surely your Lord is All-Pitying, All-Compassionate.

10 Amatul Rahman Omar

Or it may be that He will take them to task through (a process of) gradual diminition (until disbelief is completely annihilated)? For surely your Lord is All-Compassionate, Ever Merciful.

11 English Literal

Or He takes/receives/punishes them on fear/fright, so that your Lord (is) merciful/compassionate (E), merciful.

12 Faridul Haque

Or that He may seize them whilst constantly ruining them? For indeed your Lord is Most Compassionate, Most Merciful.

13 Hamid S. Aziz

Or that He should seize them with a gradual wasting? Verily, your Lord is indeed Kind, Merciful.

14 Hilali & Khan

Or that He may catch them with gradual wasting (of their wealth and health). Truly! Your Lord is indeed full of Kindness, Most Merciful?

15 Maulana Mohammad Ali

Or that He will not seize them in their going to and fro, then they will not be able to escape?

16 Mohammad Habib Shakir

Or that He may not seize them by causing them to suffer gradual loss, for your Lord is most surely Compassionate, Merciful.

17 Mohammed Marmaduke William Pickthall

Or that He will not seize them with a gradual wasting? Lo! thy Lord is indeed Full of Pity, Merciful.

18 Muhammad Sarwar

Are they confident that God will not slowly destroy them? Your Lord is Compassionate and All-merciful.

19 Qaribullah & Darwish

Or, that He will not seize them, a little at a time and destroy them? Indeed, your Lord is Clement, the Most Merciful.

20 Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri

Or that He may punish them where they fear it most Indeed, Your Lord is full of kindness, Most Merciful.

21 Wahiduddin Khan

Or that He will not punish them by giving them a fright? Indeed, your Lord is kind and merciful.

22 Talal Itani

Or that He will not seize them while in dread? Your Lord is Gentle and Merciful.

23 Tafsir jalalayn

Or that He will not seize them amid [growing] fear?, [amid] a gradual diminishing [of their numbers] little by little, until all are destroyed (`al takhawwufin is a circumstantial qualifier referring to the subject of the verb [God] or the object). Indeed then your Lord is Gentle, Merciful, insofar as He does not hasten for them their punishment.

24 Tafseer Ibn Kathir

أَوْ يَأْخُذَهُمْ عَلَى تَخَوُّفٍ

Or that He may punish them where they fear it most!

meaning, or Allah will take from them what they most fear, which is even more frightening, because when the thing you most fear to happen does happen, this is even worse.

Hence Al-Awfi reported that Ibn Abbas said that,
أَوْ يَأْخُذَهُمْ عَلَى تَخَوُّفٍ
(Or that He may punish them where they fear it most), means that Allah is saying;

`If I wish, I can take him after the death of his companion and after he has become frightened of that.'

This was also reported from Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah and others.

Then Allah says;

فَإِنَّ رَبَّكُمْ لَروُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ



Indeed your Lord is full of kindness, Most Merciful.

meaning, because He does not hasten to punish, as was reported in the Two Sahihs;

لَاا أَحَدَ أَصْبَرُ عَلَى أَذًى سَمِعَهُ مِنَ اللهِ إِنَّهُمْ يَجْعَلُونَ لَهُ وَلَدًا وَهُوَ يَرْزُقُهُمْ وَيُعَافِيهِم

No one is more patient in the case of hearing offensive speech than Allah, for they attribute to Him a son, while He (alone) is giving them provision and good health.

And it is also recorded in Two Sahihs,

إِنَّ اللهَ لَيُمْلِي لِلظَّالِمِ حَتَّى إِذَا أَخَذَهُ لَمْ يُفْلِتْه

Allah will let the wrongdoer continue until, when He begins to punish him, He will never let him go.

Then the Messenger of Allah recited;

وَكَذلِكَ أَخْذُ رَبِّكَ إِذَا أَخَذَ الْقُرَى وَهِىَ ظَـلِمَةٌ إِنَّ أَخْذَهُ أَلِيمٌ شَدِيدٌ

Such is the punishment of your Lord when He seizes the (population of) towns while they are doing wrong. Indeed, His punishment is painful, (and) severe. (11;102)

And Allah says;

وَكَأَيِّن مِّن قَرْيَةٍ أَمْلَيْتُ لَهَا وَهِىَ ظَـلِمَةٌ ثُمَّ أَخَذْتُهَا وَإِلَىَّ الْمَصِيرُ

And many a township did I give respite while it was given to wrongdoing. Then I punished it. And to Me is the (final) return (of all). (22;48