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Popular and/or Featured Works
Muhammad Asad   
Or [the parable] of a violent cloudburst in the sky, with utter darkness, thunder and lightning: they put their fingers into their ears to keep out the peals of thunder, in terror of death; but God encompasses [with His might] all who deny the truth
The Clear Quran, Dr. Mustafa Khattab   
Or ˹those caught in˺ a rainstorm from the sky with darkness, thunder, and lightning. They press their fingers into their ears at the sound of every thunder-clap for fear of death. And Allah encompasses the disbelievers ˹by His might˺.
Safi Kaskas   
Or, they are like a cloudburst in the sky that has darkness, thunder, and lightning. They put their fingers in their ears because of the lightning bolts, afraid of death. God surrounds those who deny [the truth].

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Source Arabic and Literal tools
Arabic   
‏أَوْ كَصَيِّبٍۢ مِّنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ فِيهِ ظُلُمَتٌۭ وَرَعْدٌۭ وَبَرْقٌۭ يَجْعَلُونَ أَصَبِعَهُمْ فِىٓ ءَاذَانِهِم مِّنَ ٱلصَّوَعِقِ حَذَرَ ٱلْمَوْتِ ۚ وَٱللَّهُ مُحِيطٌۢ بِٱلْكَفِرِينَ ‎
Transliteration (2021)   
aw kaṣayyibin mina l-samāi fīhi ẓulumātun waraʿdun wabarqun yajʿalūna aṣābiʿahum fī ādhānihim mina l-ṣawāʿiqi ḥadhara l-mawti wal-lahu muḥīṭun bil-kāfirīn
Word for Word
Dr. Shehnaz Shaikh, Ms. Kauser Katri, and more
  
Or like a rainstorm from the sky in it (are) darkness[es], and thunder, and lightning. They put their fingers in their ears from the thunderclaps (in) fear (of) [the] death. And Allah (is) [the One Who] encompasses the disbelievers.

Generally Accepted Translations of the Meaning
Muhammad Asad   
Or [the parable] of a violent cloudburst in the sky, with utter darkness, thunder and lightning: they put their fingers into their ears to keep out the peals of thunder, in terror of death; but God encompasses [with His might] all who deny the truth
M. M. Pickthall   
Or like a rainstorm from the sky, wherein is darkness, thunder and the flash of lightning. They thrust their fingers in their ears by reason of the thunder-claps, for fear of death, Allah encompasseth the disbelievers (in His guidance, His omniscience and His omnipotence)
Yusuf Ali (Saudi Rev. 1985)   
Or (another similitude) is that of a rain-laden cloud from the sky: In it are zones of darkness, and thunder and lightning: They press their fingers in their ears to keep out the stunning thunder-clap, the while they are in terror of death. But Allah is ever round the rejecters of Faith
The Clear Quran, Dr. Mustafa Khattab   
Or ˹those caught in˺ a rainstorm from the sky with darkness, thunder, and lightning. They press their fingers into their ears at the sound of every thunder-clap for fear of death. And Allah encompasses the disbelievers ˹by His might˺.
Safi Kaskas   
Or, they are like a cloudburst in the sky that has darkness, thunder, and lightning. They put their fingers in their ears because of the lightning bolts, afraid of death. God surrounds those who deny [the truth].
Wahiduddin Khan   
Or their case is like that of heavy rain pouring down from the clouds, accompanied by darkness, thunder and lightning; they thrust their fingers in their ears at the sound of thunderclaps for fear of death. God thus encompasses those who deny the truth
Shakir   
Or like abundant rain from the cloud in which is utter darkness and thunder and lightning; they put their fingers into their ears because of the thunder peal, for fear of death, and Allah encompasses the unbelievers
Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar   
Or as a cloudburst from heaven in which there are shadows and thunder and lightning. They lay their fingertips in their ears from the thunderbolt, being fearful of death. And God is One Who Encloses the ones who are ungrateful.
T.B.Irving   
Or to a raincloud from the sky containing darkness, Thunder and lightning; they stick their fingers in their ears to ward off death of the thunderclaps, for God will soon be rounding up disbelievers
Abdul Hye   
Or like a rainstorm from the sky with darkness, thunder, and lightning. They press their fingers in their ears from (the sound of) thunderclaps for fear of death. But Allah surrounds the disbelievers.
The Study Quran   
Or a cloudburst from the sky, in which there is darkness, thunder, and lightning. They put their fingers in their ears against the thunderclaps, fearing death. And God encompasses the disbelievers
Dr. Kamal Omar   
Or like a rainstorm from the sky, in it is darkness, thunder and lightening. They thrust their fingers in their ears due to the stunning thunder-clap, fearing death; and Allah has full surveillance over the rejectors
Farook Malik   
Or another example is that of a dark storm-cloud in the sky charged with thunder and lightning. They press their fingers to their ears at the sound of each stunning thunderclap for fear of death: Allah is encircling the unbelievers from all sides
Talal A. Itani (new translation)   
Or like a cloudburst from the sky, in which is darkness, and thunder, and lightning. They press their fingers into their ears from the thunderbolts, in fear of death. But God surrounds the disbelievers
Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali   
Or as a cloudburst from the heaven in which are darknesses, and thunder, and lightning. They set their fingers in their ears against stunning (thunderbolts), wary of death, and Allah is Supremely Encompassing the disbelievers
Muhammad Sarwar   
Or it is like that of a rain storm with darkness, thunder, and lightning approaching. They cover their ears for fear of thunder and death. God encompasses those who deny His words
Muhammad Taqi Usmani   
Or (it is) like a rainstorm from the sky, bringing darkness, thunder and lightning; they thrust their fingers in their ears against the thunderclaps for fear of death, - and Allah encompasses the disbelievers
Shabbir Ahmed   
Or ponder a rainstorm from the sky in all darkness with thunder and lightning. They plug their ears with their fingers for fear of death. (But this will not make the storm disappear since denial is never a solution to any problems). And Allah encompasses the deniers of His Laws (Rejection cannot counter the Universal Laws. ((7:183), (29:54), (79:36), (82:16))
Dr. Munir Munshey   
Or it is like the rainstorm in the sky, which brings in its wake utter darkness, thunder and lightning! Out of the fear of death (and darkness), they stick their fingers in their ears to keep out (the sounds of) thunder. (The might of) Allah surrounds the unbelievers completely
Syed Vickar Ahamed   
Or (another similitude) is that of a stormy rain cloud from the sky: In it are zones of darkness, and thunder and lightning. They press their fingers in their ears to keep out the stunning thunder, the while they are in terror of death. But Allah is all around those who reject Faith
Umm Muhammad (Sahih International)   
Or [it is] like a rainstorm from the sky within which is darkness, thunder and lightning. They put their fingers in their ears against the thunderclaps in dread of death. But Allah is encompassing of the disbelievers
[The Monotheist Group] (2011 Edition)   
Or like a cloud from the sky, in it is darkness and thunder and lightning. They place their fingers in their ears from the lightning strikes out of fear of death; and God is aware of the rejecters
Abdel Haleem   
Or [like people who, under] a cloudburst from the sky, with its darkness, thunder, and lightning, put their fingers into their ears to keep out the thunderclaps for fear of death- God surrounds the disbelievers
Abdul Majid Daryabadi   
like unto a rain--laden cloud from heaven, wherein are darknesses and thunder and lightening. They so put their fingers in their ears because of the thunder-claps, guarding against death, and Allah is Encompasser of the infidels
Ahmed Ali   
Or like rain pouring from the sky which hides within it darkness, thunder and lightning. They thrust their fingers into their ears for safety against noise and death. But God surrounds those who believe not from all sides
Aisha Bewley   
Or that of a storm-cloud in the sky, full of darkness, thunder and lightning. They put their fingers in their ears against the thunderclaps, fearful of death. Allah encompasses the kafirun.
Ali Ünal   
Or like (those caught in) a rainstorm from the sky, accompanied by veils of darkness, thunderclaps and flashes of lightning. (Terrified by the thunder, and as if they might thereby evade a possible stroke of lightning), they press their fingers into their ears in fear of death. This is how God has encompassed the unbelievers from all sides
Ali Quli Qara'i   
Or that of a rainstorm from the sky, wherein is darkness, thunder, and lightning: they put their fingers in their ears due to the thunderclaps, apprehensive of death; and Allah besieges the faithless
Hamid S. Aziz   
Or like a storm-cloud from the sky, wherein is darkness and thunder and lightning; they put their fingers in their ears at the thunder-clap, for fear of death, for Allah encompasses the disbelievers
Ali Bakhtiari Nejad   
Or like (people in) a heavy rainstorm from the sky with darkness and thunder and lightning in it, they put their fingers in their ears from the fear of the death. God surrounds (and dominates) the disbelievers
A.L. Bilal Muhammad et al (2018)   
Or it is like that of a rain-laden cloud from the sky. In it are zones of darkness, thunder and lightning. They press their fingers in their ears to keep out the stunning thunderclap, while in fear of death, but God encompasses those who reject faith
Musharraf Hussain   
Or they are like a raincloud in a sky full of darkness, thunder and lightning. They stick their fingers in their ears for fear of death by thunderbolts. Allah has the disbelievers surrounded.
Maududi   
Or (still another parable may be cited to depict their condition): heavy rain is falling from the sky, accompanied by pitch darkness, thunder and lightning. When they hear the thunderclap, they thrust their fingers into their ears for fear of death, but Allah is encircling the disbelievers on all sides
[The Monotheist Group] (2013 Edition)   
Or like a storm cloud from the sky, in it is darkness and thunder and lightning. They place their fingers in their ears from the thunder-claps for fear of death; and God is aware of the rejecters.
Mohammad Shafi   
Or, their situation is as in a rainstorm from the sky, that is accompanied by darknesses and thunder and lightning! They thrust their fingers in their ears to keep out the thunderbolts, fearing death. And Allah encompasses the suppressors of Truth

Controversial or status undetermined works
Ahmed Raza Khan (Barelvi)   
Or like a rain pouring from the sky. Wherein is darkness and thunder and lightning, they thrust fingers in their ears because of the thunderclaps for fear of death and Allah has encompassed the disbeliveers.
Rashad Khalifa   
Another example: a rainstorm from the sky in which there is darkness, thunder, and lightning. They put their fingers in their ears, to evade death. GOD is fully aware of the disbelievers.
Hasan Al-Fatih Qaribullah   
Or, like (those who, under) a cloudburst from the sky with darkness, thunder and lightning, they thrust their fingers in their ears at the sound of every thunderclap for fear of death, and Allah encompasses the unbelievers
Maulana Muhammad Ali   
Or like abundant rain from the cloud in which is darkness, and thunder and lightning; they put their fingers into their ears because of the thunder-peal, for fear of death. And Allah encompasses the disbelievers
Muhammad Ahmed - Samira   
Or as a rain from the sky, in it (is) darknesses and thunder and lightning, they put their fingers intheir ears from the thunderous noise , fearing the death , and God (is) with the disbelievers surrounding/enveloping
Bijan Moeinian   
Their case may also be compared to the case of the people caught up in a frightening thunder storm. Whenever they see/ hear a thunder, their only reaction to overcome the fear of death is to put their fingers in their ears! Indeed unbelievers are overpowered by God
Faridul Haque   
Or like a rainstorm from the sky, in which are darkness, thunder and lightning; they thrust their fingers in their ears due to the thunderclaps, fearing death; and Allah has the disbelievers encompassed
Sher Ali   
Or, it is like a heavy rain from the clouds, wherein is thick darkness and thunder and lightning; they put their fingers into their ears because of the thunder claps for fear of death, and ALLAH encompasses the disbelievers
Dr. Mohammad Tahir-ul-Qadri   
Or their example is like a rain pouring from the sky wherein there are layers of darkness and thunder and lightning (as well). They thrust their fingers into their ears, fearing death due to the thunder. And Allah has encompassed the disbelievers
Amatul Rahman Omar   
Or (the case of some of the hypocrites is) like (the case of those who are hit by) heavy downpour from the clouds wherein there are different kinds of darkness, thunder and lightning. They plug their ears with their fingers against the thunder-claps fearing death. And Allah encompasses the disbelievers (to punish them)
Muhsin Khan & Muhammad al-Hilali   
Or like a rainstorm from the sky, wherein is darkness, thunder, and lightning. They thrust their fingers in their ears to keep out the stunning thunderclap for fear of death. But Allah ever encompasses the disbelievers (i.e. Allah will gather them all together)

Non-Muslim and/or Orientalist works
Arthur John Arberry   
or as a cloudburst out of heaven in which is darkness, and thunder, and lightning -- they put their fingers in their ears against the thunderclaps, fearful of death; and God encompasses the unbelievers
George Sale   
Or like a stormy cloud from heaven, fraught with darkness, thunder, and lightning, they put their fingers in their ears, because of the noise of the thunder, for fear of death; God encompasseth the infidels
Edward Henry Palmer   
Or like a storm-cloud from the sky, wherein is darkness and thunder and lightning; they put their fingers in their ears at the thunder-clap, for fear of death, for God encompasses the misbelievers
John Medows Rodwell   
Or like those who, when there cometh a storm-cloud out of the Heaven, big with darkness thunder and lightning, thrust their fingers into their ears because of the thunder-clap, for fear of death! God is round about the infidels
N J Dawood (2014)   
Or like those who, beneath a dark storm-cloud charged with thunder and lightning, thrust their fingers into their ears at the sound of every thunder-clap for fear of death (God thus encompasses the unbelievers)

New, Partial, or In Progress Translations
Linda “iLHam” Barto   
Another [parable] is that of a rainstorm in the sky. Inside it are values of darkness, thunder, and lightning. They press their fingers into their ears to block out the awesome thunder. They are terrified of death, but Allah is always around the unbelievers.
Irving & Mohamed Hegab   
Or to a rainstorm from the sky containing darkness, Thunder and lightning; they stick their fingers in their ears to ward off death of the thunderclaps, and Allah (God) encompasses the disbelievers [with his Power, they will not escape Him]
Sayyid Qutb   
Or, when there is a storm-cloud, dark, charged with thunder and lightning, they thrust their fingers in their ears at every thunder-clap, for fear of death; but God encompasses the unbelievers.
Thomas Cleary   
Or like rain clouds from the sky, containing darkness, thunder and lightening. They put their fingers in their ears from the thunderbolts, in fear of death. But God surrounds the scoffers
Ahmed Hulusi   
Or, it is as if they are in a rainstorm (of thoughts) from the sky (the domain of the intellect/intellectual activity), within which is darkness (the unknown), thunder (the clashing of rights and wrongs) and lightning (a sudden insight into the knowledge of the reality)! They block their ears to the thunder from fear of death (in fear of losing their constructed identities or ego in the face of the reality). Allah is the All-Encompassing One who also comprises (and encompasses) the existence of the deniers of the truth.
Sayyed Abbas Sadr-Ameli   
Or (their) likeness is as a rainstorm from heaven wherein is darkness, thunder and lightning. They put their fingers in their ears against the thunderclaps, fearful of death; thus Allah encompasses the infidels
Al-muntakhab fi tafsir al-Qur'an al-Karim   
Their example stands similitude exact of a people who are overshadowed with dark thunder cloud floating in the floor of the vault of heaven and sends forth thunder and lightning, terrifying and startling, and they think that by plugging their ears with their finger tips to make them impervious to sound they would avert death, but Allah besets and bounds those who deny Him on all sides
Mir Aneesuddin   
Or like a rainstorm from the sky, in which is darkness and thunder and lightning. They thrust their fingers in their ears (because of) the fear of death from the thunder-claps, and Allah encompasses the infidels *. *Those who reject Divine Communications (Kafir).
The Ascendant Qur‘an, Muhammad H. al-‘Asi   
Or [like] a torrential storm accompanied by darkness, thunder and lightning: they put their fingers in their ears because of the thunderbolts in fear of death; but Allah encompasses [with His might] all who are kuffar

Obsolete and/or older editions
Yusuf Ali (Orig. 1938)   
Or (another similitude) is that of a rain-laden cloud from the sky: In it are zones of darkness, and thunder and lightning: They press their fingers in their ears to keep out the stunning thunder-clap, the while they are in terror of death. But God is ever round the rejecters of Faith
OLD Literal Word for Word   
Or like a rainstorm from the sky in it (are) darkness[es], and thunder, and lightning. They put their fingers in their ears from the thunderclaps (in) fear (of) [the] death. And Allah (is) [the One Who] encompasses the disbelievers