Ayah

Word by Word
وَٱلَّذِينَ
But those who
كَفَرُوٓاْ
disbelieve
أَعۡمَٰلُهُمۡ
their deeds
كَسَرَابِۭ
(are) like a mirage
بِقِيعَةٖ
in a lowland
يَحۡسَبُهُ
thinks it
ٱلظَّمَۡٔانُ
the thirsty one
مَآءً
(to be) water
حَتَّىٰٓ
until
إِذَا
when
جَآءَهُۥ
he comes to it
لَمۡ
not
يَجِدۡهُ
he finds it
شَيۡٔٗا
(to be) anything
وَوَجَدَ
but he finds
ٱللَّهَ
Allah
عِندَهُۥ
before him
فَوَفَّىٰهُ
He will pay him in full
حِسَابَهُۥۗ
his due
وَٱللَّهُ
And Allah
سَرِيعُ
(is) swift
ٱلۡحِسَابِ
(in) the account
وَٱلَّذِينَ
But those who
كَفَرُوٓاْ
disbelieve
أَعۡمَٰلُهُمۡ
their deeds
كَسَرَابِۭ
(are) like a mirage
بِقِيعَةٖ
in a lowland
يَحۡسَبُهُ
thinks it
ٱلظَّمَۡٔانُ
the thirsty one
مَآءً
(to be) water
حَتَّىٰٓ
until
إِذَا
when
جَآءَهُۥ
he comes to it
لَمۡ
not
يَجِدۡهُ
he finds it
شَيۡٔٗا
(to be) anything
وَوَجَدَ
but he finds
ٱللَّهَ
Allah
عِندَهُۥ
before him
فَوَفَّىٰهُ
He will pay him in full
حِسَابَهُۥۗ
his due
وَٱللَّهُ
And Allah
سَرِيعُ
(is) swift
ٱلۡحِسَابِ
(in) the account

Translation

But the Unbelievers,- their deeds are like a mirage in sandy deserts, which the man parched with thirst mistakes for water; until when he comes up to it, he finds it to be nothing: But he finds Allah (ever) with him, and Allah will pay him his account: and Allah is swift in taking account.

Tafsir

And as for those who disbelieve, their works are like a mirage in a plain (qee'a is the plural of qaa', that is to say, fulaat, 'an open space'). [A mirage is] a kind of radiation which one might observe therein at midday during extreme heat, resembling running water - which the thirsty man supposes to be water until he comes to it and finds it to be nothing, like what he had supposed. Likewise is [the case of] the disbeliever who supposes that his deeds, such as some voluntary alms, will benefit him; but when he dies and comes before his Lord he will not find his deed, in other words, it will be of no benefit to him; and he finds God there, namely, in the place of his deeds, Who pays him his account in full, that is, He requites him for it in this world; and God is swift at reckoning, that is, at requiting.

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