فَلَوۡلَا كَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡقُرُونِ مِن قَبۡلِكُمۡ أُوْلُواْ بَقِيَّةٍ يَنۡهَوۡنَ عَنِ ٱلۡفَسَادِ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا مِّمَّنۡ أَنجَيۡنَا مِنۡهُمۡ ۗ وَٱتَّبَعَ ٱلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ مَآ أُتۡرِفُواْ فِيهِ وَكَانُواْ مُجۡرِمِينَ
Why were there not, among the generations before you, persons possessed of balanced good sense, prohibiting (men) from mischief in the earth - except a few among them whom We saved (from harm)? But the wrong-doers pursued the enjoyment of the good things of life which were given them, and persisted in sin.<br/>
If only there had been among the generations, past communities, before you men possessing a remnant [of good sense], men of religion and virtue, forbidding corruption in the earth (this [statement] is intended to be a negation, in other words, 'there never were such [men] among them'), except, but, a few of those whom (mimman: min is explicative) We delivered from among them, did forbid [corruption] and were thus delivered. But those who did wrong, through corruption and neglecting to forbid, followed that by which they were made profligate, and were sinners.