Ayah

Word by Word
وَلَوۡ
And if
شِئۡنَا
We willed
لَرَفَعۡنَٰهُ
surely We (could) have raised him
بِهَا
with these
وَلَٰكِنَّهُۥٓ
[and] but he
أَخۡلَدَ
adhered
إِلَى
to
ٱلۡأَرۡضِ
the earth
وَٱتَّبَعَ
and followed
هَوَىٰهُۚ
his (vain) desires
فَمَثَلُهُۥ
So his example
كَمَثَلِ
(is) like (the) example
ٱلۡكَلۡبِ
(of) the dog
إِن
if
تَحۡمِلۡ
you attack
عَلَيۡهِ
[on] him
يَلۡهَثۡ
he lolls out his tongue
أَوۡ
or
تَتۡرُكۡهُ
if you leave him
يَلۡهَثۚ
he lolls out his tongue
ذَّـٰلِكَ
That
مَثَلُ
(is the) example
ٱلۡقَوۡمِ
(of) the people
ٱلَّذِينَ
who
كَذَّبُواْ
denied
بِـَٔايَٰتِنَاۚ
[in] Our Signs
فَٱقۡصُصِ
So relate
ٱلۡقَصَصَ
the story
لَعَلَّهُمۡ
so that they may
يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
reflect
وَلَوۡ
And if
شِئۡنَا
We willed
لَرَفَعۡنَٰهُ
surely We (could) have raised him
بِهَا
with these
وَلَٰكِنَّهُۥٓ
[and] but he
أَخۡلَدَ
adhered
إِلَى
to
ٱلۡأَرۡضِ
the earth
وَٱتَّبَعَ
and followed
هَوَىٰهُۚ
his (vain) desires
فَمَثَلُهُۥ
So his example
كَمَثَلِ
(is) like (the) example
ٱلۡكَلۡبِ
(of) the dog
إِن
if
تَحۡمِلۡ
you attack
عَلَيۡهِ
[on] him
يَلۡهَثۡ
he lolls out his tongue
أَوۡ
or
تَتۡرُكۡهُ
if you leave him
يَلۡهَثۚ
he lolls out his tongue
ذَّـٰلِكَ
That
مَثَلُ
(is the) example
ٱلۡقَوۡمِ
(of) the people
ٱلَّذِينَ
who
كَذَّبُواْ
denied
بِـَٔايَٰتِنَاۚ
[in] Our Signs
فَٱقۡصُصِ
So relate
ٱلۡقَصَصَ
the story
لَعَلَّهُمۡ
so that they may
يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
reflect

Translation

If it had been Our will, We should have elevated him with Our signs; but he inclined to the earth, and followed his own vain desires. His similitude is that of a dog: if you attack him, he lolls out his tongue, or if you leave him alone, he (still) lolls out his tongue. That is the similitude of those who reject Our signs; So relate the story; perchance they may reflect.

Tafsir

And had We willed, We would have raised him up, to the ranks of the scholars, thereby, by facilitating his way to [good] deeds; but he was disposed to, at peace [in], the earth - that is, this world - and inclined to it, and followed his whims, by calling [others] to them, and so We abased him. Therefore his likeness, his description, is as the likeness of a dog: if you attack it, by driving it away or curbing it, it lolls its tongue out, and if you leave it, it lolls its tongue out, and no other animal is like it in this way (both conditional sentences constitute a circumstantial qualifier, that is to say, it has its tongue lolling out despicably in all circumstances. The purpose here is to point out the similarity [between the one who follows his whims and a dog] in terms of condition and vileness, judging by the [contextualising] faa' [of fa-mathaluhu, 'therefore his likeness'], which relates what comes after it to what came before it in the way of 'inclining towards this world and following whims', and judging by God's saying: That, likeness, is the likeness of those people who deny Our signs. So recount the tale, to the Jews, that they might reflect, upon it and so believe.

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