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walawi
وَلَوِ
But if
ittabaʿa
ٱتَّبَعَ
(had) followed
l-ḥaqu
ٱلْحَقُّ
the truth
ahwāahum
أَهْوَآءَهُمْ
their desires,
lafasadati
لَفَسَدَتِ
surely (would) have been corrupted
l-samāwātu
ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتُ
the heavens
wal-arḍu
وَٱلْأَرْضُ
and the earth
waman
وَمَن
and whoever
fīhinna
فِيهِنَّۚ
(is) therein.
bal
بَلْ
Nay,
ataynāhum
أَتَيْنَٰهُم
We have brought them
bidhik'rihim
بِذِكْرِهِمْ
their reminder,
fahum
فَهُمْ
but they,
ʿan
عَن
from
dhik'rihim
ذِكْرِهِم
their reminder,
muʿ'riḍūna
مُّعْرِضُونَ
(are) turning away.

Wa lawit taba'al haqqu ahwaaa'ahum lafasadatis samaawaatu wal ardu wa man feehinnn; bal atainaahum bizikrihim fahum 'an zikrihim mu'ridon

Sahih International:

But if the Truth had followed their inclinations, the heavens and the earth and whoever is in them would have been ruined. Rather, We have brought them their message, but they, from their message, are turning away.

1 A. J. Arberry

Had the truth followed their caprices, the heavens and the earth and whosoever in them is had surely corrupted. Nay, We brought them their Remembrance, but from their Remembrance they turned.

2 Abdul Haleem

but if the truth were in accordance with their desires, the heavens, the earth, and everyone in them would disintegrate. We have brought them their Reminder and they turn away from it.

3 Abdul Majid Daryabadi

And were the truth to follow their desires there would have been corrupted the heavens and the earth and whatsoever is therein. Aye! We have come to them with their admonition; so it is from their admonition that they turn away.

4 Abdullah Yusuf Ali

If the Truth had been in accord with their desires, truly the heavens and the earth, and all beings therein would have been in confusion and corruption! Nay, We have sent them their admonition, but they turn away from their admonition.

5 Abul Ala Maududi

Were the Truth to follow their desires, the order of the heavens and the earth and those who dwell in them would have been ruined. Nay, the fact is that We have brought to them their own remembrance; and yet it is from their own remembrance that they are turning away.

6 Ahmed Ali

Had truth been subject to their whims the heavens and the earth and all those within them would have been depraved. In fact We had sent them their reminder, but they turned away from good advice.

7 Ahmed Raza Khan

And had the Truth followed their desires, then indeed the heavens and the earth and all those who are in them would be destroyed; in fact We brought to them a thing in which lay their repute, so they are turned away from their own repute.

8 Ali Quli Qarai

Had the truth followed their desires, the heavens and the earth would have surely fallen apart [along] with those who are in them. Indeed, We have brought them their Reminder, but they are disregardful of their Reminder.

9 Ali Ünal

Were the truth to follow their desires and caprices, the heavens and the earth and all those who live in them would certainly have gone to ruin. But We have brought to them whatever they must heed in life for their honor and happiness, and they turn away from that which will bring them honor and happiness.

10 Amatul Rahman Omar

And had the Eternal Truth (true God) followed their vain and low desires, the heavens and the earth and all those who are (living) in them would have surely gone to ruin. But We have brought them that which will raise them to eminence, yet they are turning aside from their own means of (raising them to) eminence.

11 English Literal

And if the truth followed their self attractions for desires , the skies/space and the earth/Planet Earth and who (is) in them (B) would have (been) corrupted/destroyed , but We came/brought to them with their reminder, so they are from their reminder objecting/opposing .

12 Faridul Haque

And had the Truth followed their desires, then indeed the heavens and the earth and all those who are in them would be destroyed; in fact We brought to them a thing in which lay their repute, so they are turned away from their own repute.

13 Hamid S. Aziz

Or do they say, "He is possessed"? Nay, but he came to them with the Truth, and most of them are haters of Truth.

14 Hilali & Khan

And if the truth had been in accordance with their desires, verily, the heavens and the earth, and whosoever is therein would have been corrupted! Nay, We have brought them their reminder, but they turn away from their reminder.

15 Maulana Mohammad Ali

Or say they: There is madness in him? Nay, he has brought them the Truth, and most of them hate the Truth.

16 Mohammad Habib Shakir

And should the truth follow their low desires, surely the heavens and the earth and all those who are therein would have perished. Nay! We have brought to them their reminder, but from their reminder they turn aside.

17 Mohammed Marmaduke William Pickthall

And if the Truth had followed their desires, verily the heavens and the earth and whosoever is therein had been corrupted. Nay, We have brought them their Reminder, but from their Reminder they now turn away.

18 Muhammad Sarwar

Had the truth followed their desires, the heavens and the earth and all that is in them would have been destroyed. We sent them the Quran but they ignored it.

19 Qaribullah & Darwish

Had the truth followed their fancies, the heavens, the earth, and all who live in them would have surely been corrupted. No, We brought them theirRemembrance; but from their Remembrance they turn away.

20 Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri

And if Al-Haqq had followed their desires, verily, the heavens and the earth, and whosoever is therein would have been corrupted! Nay, We have brought them their reminder, but they turn away from their reminder.

21 Wahiduddin Khan

If truth had followed their whims and desires, heavens and earth and all that lives in them would have been brought to ruin. Rather We have brought them their Reminder. Yet they keep avoiding their Reminder.

22 Talal Itani

If the truth conformed to their desires, the heavens, the earth, and everyone in them would have gone to ruin. In fact, We have given them their message, but they keep avoiding their message.

23 Tafsir jalalayn

And if the truth, namely, the Qur'n, had followed their desires, and come to them with [mention of] what they fancied in the way of God having a partner and a child, may God be exalted above such [associations], indeed the heavens and the earth and whoever is in them would have been corrupted, they [the heavens and the earth] would have deviated from their observed order, because contradictions would ensue, as is usually the case, when there is more than one ruler. Nay, We have brought them their Remembrance, namely, the Qur'n, in which they are remembered and honoured, but they are disregardful of their [own] Remembrance.

24 Tafseer Ibn Kathir

وَلَوِ اتَّبَعَ الْحَقُّ أَهْوَاءهُمْ لَفَسَدَتِ السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالاَْرْضُ وَمَن فِيهِنَّ

And if Al-Haqq had followed their desires, verily, the heavens and the earth, and whosoever is therein would have been corrupted!

Mujahid, Abu Salih and As-Suddi said,

"Al-Haqq is Allah, may He be glorified."

What is meant by the Ayah is that if Allah had responded to the desires in their hearts and prescribed things accordingly, the heavens and the earth and whosoever is therein, would have been corrupted, i.e., because of their corrupt and inconsistent desires.

As Allah says of them elsewhere;

لَوْلَا نُزِّلَ هَـذَا الْقُرْءَانُ عَلَى رَجُلٍ مِّنَ الْقَرْيَتَيْنِ عَظِيمٍ

"Why is not this Qur'an sent down to some great man of the two towns!" (43;31)

Then He says;

أَهُمْ يَقْسِمُونَ رَحْمَةَ رَبِّكَ

Is it they who would portion out the mercy of your Lord! (43;32)

And Allah says;

قُل لَّوْ أَنتُمْ تَمْلِكُونَ خَزَايِنَ رَحْمَةِ رَبِّى إِذًا لامْسَكْتُمْ خَشْيَةَ الاِنفَاقِ


Say;"If you possessed the treasure of the mercy of my Lord, then you would surely hold back for fear of spending it." (17;100)

أَمْ لَهُمْ نَصِيبٌ مِّنَ الْمُلْكِ فَإِذاً لاَّ يُوْتُونَ النَّاسَ نَقِيراً

Or have they a share in the dominion! Then in that case they would not give mankind even a Naqir. (4;53)

All of this goes to show how incapable mankind is and how divergent and inconsistent their ideas and desires are. Only Allah, may He be glorified, is Perfect in all His attributes, words, actions, laws, power and control of His creation, may He be exalted and sanctified. There is no God but He and no Lord besides Him.

Then He says;

بَلْ أَتَيْنَاهُم بِذِكْرِهِمْ

Nay, We have brought them their reminder,

meaning the Qur'an,

فَهُمْ عَن ذِكْرِهِم مُّعْرِضُونَ



but they turn away from their reminder.
The Prophet does not ask for any payment, and he calls to the straight path

Allah says