Ayah

Word by Word
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا
O mankind
ٱلنَّاسُ
O mankind
ضُرِبَ
Is set forth
مَثَلٞ
an example
فَٱسۡتَمِعُواْ
so listen
لَهُۥٓۚ
to it
إِنَّ
Indeed
ٱلَّذِينَ
those whom
تَدۡعُونَ
you invoke
مِن
besides Allah
دُونِ
besides Allah
ٱللَّهِ
besides Allah
لَن
will never
يَخۡلُقُواْ
create
ذُبَابٗا
a fly
وَلَوِ
even if
ٱجۡتَمَعُواْ
they gathered together
لَهُۥۖ
for it
وَإِن
And if
يَسۡلُبۡهُمُ
snatched away from them
ٱلذُّبَابُ
the fly
شَيۡـٔٗا
a thing
لَّا
not
يَسۡتَنقِذُوهُ
they (could) take it back
مِنۡهُۚ
from it
ضَعُفَ
So weak
ٱلطَّالِبُ
(are) the seeker
وَٱلۡمَطۡلُوبُ
and the one who is sought
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا
O mankind
ٱلنَّاسُ
O mankind
ضُرِبَ
Is set forth
مَثَلٞ
an example
فَٱسۡتَمِعُواْ
so listen
لَهُۥٓۚ
to it
إِنَّ
Indeed
ٱلَّذِينَ
those whom
تَدۡعُونَ
you invoke
مِن
besides Allah
دُونِ
besides Allah
ٱللَّهِ
besides Allah
لَن
will never
يَخۡلُقُواْ
create
ذُبَابٗا
a fly
وَلَوِ
even if
ٱجۡتَمَعُواْ
they gathered together
لَهُۥۖ
for it
وَإِن
And if
يَسۡلُبۡهُمُ
snatched away from them
ٱلذُّبَابُ
the fly
شَيۡـٔٗا
a thing
لَّا
not
يَسۡتَنقِذُوهُ
they (could) take it back
مِنۡهُۚ
from it
ضَعُفَ
So weak
ٱلطَّالِبُ
(are) the seeker
وَٱلۡمَطۡلُوبُ
and the one who is sought

Translation

O men! Here is a parable set forth! listen to it! Those on whom, besides Allah, ye call, cannot create (even) a fly, if they all met together for the purpose! and if the fly should snatch away anything from them, they would have no power to release it from the fly. Feeble are those who petition and those whom they petition!

Tafsir

O mankind, that is to say, [O] people of Mecca, a similitude is being struck, so listen to it, and it is that: truly those on whom you call, [whom] you worship, besides God, that is, other than Him, and these are the idols, will never create a fly (dhubaab is a generic noun, the singular of which is dhubaaba, for both the masculine and the feminine) even if they rallied together to do so, to create it. And if a fly should take away something from them, [such as a drop] of the scents or the saffron in which they drench themselves, they would not be able to recover that from it, because of their [complete] incapacity: so how can they worship those [whom they suppose to be] partners of God, exalted be He? An odd thing - which He has expressed by striking a similitude. Feeble is the seeker, the worshipper, and the [thing] sought, the [thing] worshipped!

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