Ayah

Word by Word
وَتَفَقَّدَ
And he inspected
ٱلطَّيۡرَ
the birds
فَقَالَ
and said
مَا
Why
لِيَ
Why
لَآ
not
أَرَى
I see
ٱلۡهُدۡهُدَ
the hoopoe
أَمۡ
or
كَانَ
is he
مِنَ
from
ٱلۡغَآئِبِينَ
the absent
وَتَفَقَّدَ
And he inspected
ٱلطَّيۡرَ
the birds
فَقَالَ
and said
مَا
Why
لِيَ
Why
لَآ
not
أَرَى
I see
ٱلۡهُدۡهُدَ
the hoopoe
أَمۡ
or
كَانَ
is he
مِنَ
from
ٱلۡغَآئِبِينَ
the absent

Translation

And he took a muster of the Birds; and he said: "Why is it I see not the Hoopoe? Or is he among the absentees?

Tafsir

And he reviewed the birds, to see the hoopoe - which would locate water beneath the ground and indicate its location by pecking at it, whereupon the devils would extract it, for Solomon required it for when he prayed; but he could not see him - then he said, 'Why is it that I do not see the hoopoe?, in other words, is there something preventing me from seeing him? Or is he among the absent?, and so I cannot see him because he is absent?' And when he became certain [of the hoopoe's absence],

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