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walaw
وَلَوْ
And if
shi'nā
شِئْنَا
We willed
larafaʿnāhu
لَرَفَعْنَٰهُ
surely, We (could) have raised him
bihā
بِهَا
with these
walākinnahu
وَلَٰكِنَّهُۥٓ
[and] but he
akhlada
أَخْلَدَ
adhered
ilā
إِلَى
to
l-arḍi
ٱلْأَرْضِ
the earth
wa-ittabaʿa
وَٱتَّبَعَ
and followed
hawāhu
هَوَىٰهُۚ
his (vain) desires.
famathaluhu
فَمَثَلُهُۥ
So his example
kamathali
كَمَثَلِ
(is) like (the) example
l-kalbi
ٱلْكَلْبِ
(of) the dog,
in
إِن
if
taḥmil
تَحْمِلْ
you attack
ʿalayhi
عَلَيْهِ
[on] him,
yalhath
يَلْهَثْ
he lolls out his tongue
aw
أَوْ
or
tatruk'hu
تَتْرُكْهُ
if you leave him,
yalhath
يَلْهَثۚ
he lolls out his tongue.
dhālika
ذَّٰلِكَ
That
mathalu
مَثَلُ
(is the) example
l-qawmi
ٱلْقَوْمِ
(of) the people
alladhīna
ٱلَّذِينَ
who
kadhabū
كَذَّبُوا۟
denied
biāyātinā
بِـَٔايَٰتِنَاۚ
[in] Our Signs.
fa-uq'ṣuṣi
فَٱقْصُصِ
So relate
l-qaṣaṣa
ٱلْقَصَصَ
the story
laʿallahum
لَعَلَّهُمْ
so that they may
yatafakkarūna
يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
reflect.

Wa law shi'naa larafa'naahu bihaa wa laakin nahooo akhlada ilal ardi watta ba'a hawaah; famasaluhoo kamasalil kalb; in tahmil 'alaihi yalhas aw tatruk hu yalhas; zaalika masalul qawmil lazeena kazzaboo bi Aayaatinaa; faqsusil qasasa la'allahum yatafakkaroon

Sahih International:

And if We had willed, we could have elevated him thereby, but he adhered [instead] to the earth and followed his own desire. So his example is like that of the dog: if you chase him, he pants, or if you leave him, he [still] pants. That is the example of the people who denied Our signs. So relate the stories that perhaps they will give thought.

1 A. J. Arberry

And had We willed, We would have raised him up thereby; but he inclined towards the earth and followed his lust. So the likeness of him is as the likeness of a dog; if thou attackest it it lolls its tongue out, or if thou leavest it, it lolls its tongue out. That is that people's likeness who cried lies to Our signs. So relate the story; haply they will reflect.

2 Abdul Haleem

if it had been Our will, We could have used these signs to raise him high, but instead he clung to the earth and followed his own desires- he was like a dog that pants with a lolling tongue whether you drive it away or leave it alone. Such is the image of those who reject Our signs. Tell them the story so that they may reflect.

3 Abdul Majid Daryabadi

And had We willed We would surely have lifted him thereby, but he clung to the earth and followed his desire, wherefore his case became like unto the case of a dog, who, if thou attackest him, lolleth out his tongue and if thou leavest him alone, lolleth out his tongue. Such is the likeness of the people who belie Our sign; so recount thou the narratives, that haply they may refelect.

4 Abdullah Yusuf Ali

If it had been Our will, We should have elevated him with Our signs; but he inclined to the earth, and followed his own vain desires. His similitude is that of a dog; if you attack him, he lolls out his tongue, or if you leave him alone, he (still) lolls out his tongue. That is the similitude of those who reject Our signs; So relate the story; perchance they may reflect.

5 Abul Ala Maududi

Now had We so willed We could indeed have exalted him through those signs, but he clung to earthly life and followed his carnal desires. Thus his parable is that of the dog who lolls out his tongue whether you attack him or leave him alone. Such is the parable of those who reject Our signs as false. Narrate to them these parables that they may reflect.

6 Ahmed Ali

We wished to exalt him, but he loved baseness and followed his lust. His likeness is that of a dog who hangs out his tongue if you drive him away, and still hangs it out if you leave him alone. Such is the case of the people who deny Our signs. Narrate this history to them; they may haply reflect.

7 Ahmed Raza Khan

And had We willed We could have raised him because of the revelations, but he clung to the earth and followed his own desires; his condition therefore is like that of a dog; if you attack him he hangs out his tongue and if you leave him he hangs out his tongue; this is the state of the people who denied Our signs; therefore preach, so that they may give thought.

8 Ali Quli Qarai

Had We wished, We would have surely raised him by their means, but he clung to the earth and followed his [base] desires. So his parable is that of a dog: if you make for it, it lolls out its tongue, and if you let it alone, it lolls out its tongue. Such is the parable of the people who deny Our signs. So recount these narratives, so that they may reflect.

9 Ali Ünal

If We had willed (to impede the way he chose by his free will), We could indeed have lifted him (toward the perfections enabled by faith) through those signs and Revelations, but (by his own free choice) he clung to the earth and followed his desires. So (in his being surrendered to greed), his likeness is that of a dog: if you move to drive it away, it pants with its tongue lolling out (still hoping to be fed more), or if you leave it, it pants with its tongue lolling out. Such is the likeness of those who deny Our signs and Revelations. So tell them this narrative so that they may (be stirred to) reflect.

10 Amatul Rahman Omar

Had We so willed We would have exalted him (in ranks) thereby (- by means of these Our commandments), but he remained inclined to (the material things of) this world and followed his low desires. His case therefore is like that of a dog, if you bear down upon it, it lolls its tongue out or if you leave it alone, it still lolls out its tongue. Such is the case with the people who cry lies to Our commandments; (they do not give up their evil ways whether you warn them or not). So narrate to them the account (of the people of old) that they may reflect.

11 English Literal

And if We wanted/willed, We would have risen him with it, and but he (wanted to) perpetuate/immortalize/eternalize the earth/Planet Earth, and he followed his self attraction for desire/love and lust , so his example/proverb (is) like the example (of) the dog, if you burden/load on it, it pants , and if you leave it, it pants, that is (the) example/proverb (of) the nation those who lied/denied/falsified with Our verses/evidences , so narrate/relay the narration/information ,maybe/perhaps they think.

12 Faridul Haque

And had We willed We could have raised him because of the revelations, but he clung to the earth and followed his own desires; his condition therefore is like that of a dog; if you attack him he hangs out his tongue and if you leave him he hangs out his tongue; this is the state of the people who denied Our signs; therefore preach, so that they may give thought.

13 Hamid S. Aziz

Had We pleased We would have exalted him thereby (with Our Signs), but he clung to the earth and followed his own lust, and his likeness was as the likeness of a dog, whom if you should attack he hangs out his tongue, or if you should leave him, hangs out his tongue too. Such is the likeness of the people who say our Signs (revelations) are lies. Tell them then these tales - per chance (or possibly) they may reflect.

14 Hilali & Khan

And had We willed, We would surely have elevated him therewith but he clung to the earth and followed his own vain desire. So his description is the description of a dog: if you drive him away, he lolls his tongue out, or if you leave him alone, he (still) lolls his tongue out. Such is the description of the people who reject Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.). So relate the stories, perhaps they may reflect.

15 Maulana Mohammad Ali

And recite to them the news of him to whom We give Our messages, but he withdraws himself from them, so the devil follows him up, and he is of those who perish.

16 Mohammad Habib Shakir

And if We had pleased, We would certainly have exalted him thereby; but he clung to the earth and followed his low desire, so his parable is as the parable of the dog; if you attack him he lolls out his tongue; and if you leave him alone he lolls out his tongue; this is the parable of the people who reject Our communications; therefore relate the narrative that they may reflect.

17 Mohammed Marmaduke William Pickthall

And had We willed We could have raised him by their means, but he clung to the earth and followed his own lust. Therefor his likeness is as the likeness of a dog: if thou attackest him he panteth with his tongue out, and if thou leavest him he panteth with his tongue out. Such is the likeness of the people who deny Our revelations. Narrate unto them the history (of the men of old), that haply they may take thought.

18 Muhammad Sarwar

Had We wanted, We could have raised him to an exalted position but he clung to his earthly life and followed his own (evil) desires. Such person's bad habits are like those of a lazy dog (in a warm climate) who always has its tongue hanging out whether you chase it away or leave it alone. Such are the people who have called Our revelations mere lies. (Muhammad), tell them such stories so that perhaps they will think.

19 Qaribullah & Darwish

Had it been Our will We would have raised with it, but he clung to this earthly life and succumbed to his fancies. His likeness was that of a dog, whether you chase it away or let it alone it pants. Such is the example of a nation who belie Our signs. Recount to them these narratives, in order that they reflect.

20 Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri

And had We willed, We would surely have elevated him therewith, but he clung to the earth and followed his own vain desires. So his parable is the parable of a dog: if you drive him away, he pants, or if you leave him alone, he (still) pants. Such is the parable of the people who reject Our Ayat. So relate the stories, perhaps they may reflect.

21 Wahiduddin Khan

if it had been Our will, We could have used these signs to exalt him, but instead he clung to the earth and followed his own desires, he was like a dog that pants whether you chase it away or leave it alone. Such are those who reject Our signs. Tell them this story so that they may reflect.

22 Talal Itani

Had We willed, We could have elevated him through them; but he clung to the ground, and followed his desires. His metaphor is that of a dog: if you chase it, it pants; and if you leave it alone, it pants. Such is the metaphor of the people who deny Our signs. So tell the tale, so that they may ponder.

23 Tafsir jalalayn

And had We willed, We would have raised him up, to the ranks of the scholars, thereby, by facilitating his way to [good] deeds; but he was disposed to, at peace [in], the earth -- that is, this world -- and inclined to it, and followed his whims, by calling [others] to them, and so We abased him. Therefore his likeness, his description, is as the likeness of a dog; if you attack it, by driving it away or curbing it, it lolls its tongue out, and if you leave it, it lolls its tongue out, and no other animal is like it in this way (both conditional sentences constitute a circumstantial qualifier, that is to say, it has its tongue lolling out despicably in all circumstances. The purpose here is to point out the similarity [between the one who follows his whims and a dog] in terms of condition and vileness, judging by the [contextualising] f' [of fa-mathaluhu, `therefore his likeness'], which relates what comes after it to what came before it in the way of `inclining towards this world and following whims', and judging by God's saying; That, likeness, is the likeness of those people who deny Our signs. So recount the tale, to the Jews, that they might reflect, upon it and so believe.

24 Tafseer Ibn Kathir

وَلَوْ شِيْنَا لَرَفَعْنَاهُ بِهَا وَلَـكِنَّهُ أَخْلَدَ إِلَى الَارْضِ وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ

And had We willed, We would surely have elevated him therewith but he clung to the earth and followed his own vain desires.

Allah said,
وَلَوْ شِيْنَا لَرَفَعْنَاهُ بِهَا
(And had We willed, We would surely have elevated him therewith), from the filth of this earthly life through the Ayat that We gave him knowledge of,
وَلَـكِنَّهُ أَخْلَدَ إِلَى الَارْضِ
(but he clung to the earth), he became interested in the adornment of this life and its delights. He indulged in the lusts of life and its joys and was deceived by it, just as life deceived others like him, without sound comprehension or a good mind.

Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar narrated from Salim, from Abu An-Nadr that;

when Musa entered the land of Bani Canaan in the area of Ash-Sham (Greater Syria), the people of Bal`am came to him, saying, "This is Musa, son of Imran with the Children of Israel. He wants to drive us out from our land, kill us and replace us with the Children of Israel. We are your people and have no other dwelling area. You are a person whose supplication is acceptable (to Allah), so go out and supplicate to Allah against them."

He said, "Woe to you! Here is Allah's Prophet (Musa) with whom the angels and believers are! How can I supplicate against them when I know from Allah what I know!"

They said, "We have no other dwelling area."

So they kept luring and begging him until he was tempted by the trial and went on his donkey towards Mount Husban, which was behind the Israelite military barracks. When he proceeded on the Mount for a while, the donkey sat down and refused to proceed. He got off the donkey and struck it until it stood up again and he rode it. The donkey did the same after a little while, and he struck it again until it stood up... So he proceeded and tried to supplicate against Musa and his people. However, Allah made his tongue mention his people with evil and the Children of Israel with good instead of his people, who protested, "O Bal`am! What are you doing You are supplicating for them and against us!"

He said, "It is against my will. This is a matter that Allah has decided."

He then said to them, as his tongue was made to loll out of his mouth, "Now I have lost this life and the Hereafter."

This Ayah was revealed about the story of Bal`am son of Ba`ura,
وَاتْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ نَبَأَ الَّذِيَ اتَيْنَاهُ ايَاتِنَا

فَانسَلَخَ مِنْهَا
(And recite to them the story of him to whom We gave Our Ayat, but he threw them away.), until,
لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
(perhaps they may reflect).

Allah said next,

فَمَثَلُهُ كَمَثَلِ الْكَلْبِ إِن تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْهِ يَلْهَثْ أَوْ تَتْرُكْهُ يَلْهَث

So his parable is the parable of a dog;if you drive him away, he pants, or if you leave him alone, he (still) pants.

Scholars of Tafsir have conflicting opinions regarding the meaning of this Ayah.

Some scholars said that it refers to the end of Bal`am's tongue which flickered out of his mouth, as in the story narrated from Ibn Ishaq, from Salim, from Abu An-Nadr. Therefore, his example is the example of the dog, its tongue pants regardless of whether it is driven away or not.

It was also said that,

the meaning here is a parable of this man -- and his like -- concerning their misguidance, persisting the wrong path and not being able to benefit from faith or comprehend what they are being called to. So his example is that of a dog which pants whether it was driven away or left alone. The person described here does not benefit from the advice or the call to faith, just as if the advice and call never occurred.

Allah said in other Ayat,

سَوَاءٌ عَلَيْهِمْ ءَأَنذَرْتَهُمْ أَمْ لَمْ تُنذِرْهُمْ لَا يُوْمِنُونَ

It is the same to them (disbelievers) whether you warn them or do not warn them, they will not believe. (2;6)

and,

اسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ أَوْ لَا تَسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ إِن تَسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ سَبْعِينَ مَرَّةً فَلَن يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَهُمْ

Whether you ask forgiveness for them (hypocrites) or ask not forgiveness for them -- (and even) if you ask seventy times for their forgiveness -- Allah will not forgive them. (9;80)

and similar Ayat.

It was also said that;

the meaning here, is that the heart of the disbeliever, the hypocrite and the wicked is weak and devoid of guidance. Therefore, it keeps faltering.

Similar was narrated from Al-Hasan Al-Basri.

ذَّلِكَ مَثَلُ الْقَوْمِ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُواْ بِأيَاتِنَا

Such is the parable of the people who reject Our Ayat.

فَاقْصُصِ الْقَصَصَ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ



So relate the stories, perhaps they may reflect.

Allah said next to His Prophet Muhammad,
فَاقْصُصِ الْقَصَصَ لَعَلَّهُمْ
(So relate the stories, perhaps they may) the Children of Israel, who have knowledge of the story of Bal`am and what happened to him when Allah allowed him to stray and expelled him from His mercy. Allah favored him by teaching him His Greatest Name, by which, if He is asked, He will grant, and if He is called upon, He answers. But Bal`am used it in disobedience to Allah and invoked Him against His own party of the people of faith, followers of His servant and Messenger during that time, Musa, the son of Imran, peace be upon him, whom Allah spoke to directly,
لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
(perhaps they may reflect), and avoid Bal`am's behavior, for Allah has given the Jews knowledge and made them superior to the Bedouins surrounding them. He gave them the description of Muhammad which would allow them to recognize him, as they recognize their own children. They, among people, have the most right to follow, aid and support Muhammad , in obedience to their Prophets who informed them of him and commanded them to follow him. Therefore, whoever among them defies the knowledge in their Books or hides it from the servants, Allah will place disgrace on him in this life, followed by humiliation in the Hereafter.

Allah said