Ayah

Word by Word
وَكَمۡ
And how many
أَهۡلَكۡنَا
We destroyed
قَبۡلَهُم
before them
مِّن
of
قَرۡنٍ
a generation
هُمۡ
they
أَحۡسَنُ
(were) better
أَثَٰثٗا
(in) possessions
وَرِءۡيٗا
and appearance
وَكَمۡ
And how many
أَهۡلَكۡنَا
We destroyed
قَبۡلَهُم
before them
مِّن
of
قَرۡنٍ
a generation
هُمۡ
they
أَحۡسَنُ
(were) better
أَثَٰثٗا
(in) possessions
وَرِءۡيٗا
and appearance

Translation

But how many (countless) generations before them have we destroyed, who were even better in equipment and in glitter to the eye?

Tafsir

And how many - in other words, many - a generation, that is, a community from among the communities of the past, have We destroyed before them, who were superior in [their possession of] gear, in wealth and chattel, and in appearance, [superior] as a sight (ri'yan derives from [the infinitive] al-ru'ya). Thus in the same way that We destroyed those [ones] because of their disbelief, We will destroy these [ones also].

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