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Muhammad Asad
O MEN! A parable is set forth [herewith]; hearken, then, to it! Behold, those beings whom you invoke instead of God cannot create [as much as] a fly, even were they to join all their forces to that end! And if a fly robs them of anything, they cannot [even] rescue it from him! Weak indeed is the seeker, and [weak] the sought
The Clear Quran, Dr. Mustafa Khattab
O humanity! A lesson is set forth, so listen to it ˹carefully˺: those ˹idols˺ you invoke besides Allah can never create ˹so much as˺ a fly, even if they ˹all˺ were to come together for that. And if a fly were to snatch anything away from them, they cannot ˹even˺ retrieve it from the fly. How powerless are those who invoke and those invoked!
Safi Kaskas
People, an example is presented, so listen to it. Those you call on besides God will never be able to create [as much as] a fly, even if they all gathered together for that purpose. And if the fly robs them of anything, they will not be able to retrieve it. How feeble are the petitioners and those they petition.

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Source Arabic and Literal tools
Arabic
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ ضُرِبَ مَثَلٌ فَاسْتَمِعُوا لَهُ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ لَن يَخْلُقُوا ذُبَابًا وَلَوِ اجْتَمَعُوا لَهُ وَإِن يَسْلُبْهُمُ الذُّبَابُ شَيْئًا لَّا يَسْتَنقِذُوهُ مِنْهُ ضَعُفَ الطَّالِبُ وَالْمَطْلُوب
Transliteration
Ya ayyuha alnnasu duriba mathalun faistamiAAoo lahu inna allatheena tadAAoona min dooni Allahi lan yakhluqoo thubaban walawi ijtamaAAoo lahu wa-in yaslubuhumu alththubabu shay-an la yastanqithoohu minhu daAAufa alttalibu waalmatloobu
Transliteration-2
yāayyuhā l-nāsu ḍuriba mathalun fa-is'tamiʿū lahu inna alladhīna tadʿūna min dūni l-lahi lan yakhluqū dhubāban walawi ij'tamaʿū lahu wa-in yaslub'humu l-dhubābu shayan lā yastanqidhūhu min'hu ḍaʿufa l-ṭālibu wal-maṭlūb
Word for Word
Dr. Shehnaz Shaikh, Ms. Kauser Katri, and more
O mankind! Is set forth an example, so listen to it. Indeed, those whom you invoke from besides Allah will never create a fly even if they gathered together for it. And if snatched away from them the fly a thing not they (could) take it back from it. So weak (are) the seeker and the one who is sought.

Generally Accepted Translations of the Meaning
Muhammad Asad
O MEN! A parable is set forth [herewith]; hearken, then, to it! Behold, those beings whom you invoke instead of God cannot create [as much as] a fly, even were they to join all their forces to that end! And if a fly robs them of anything, they cannot [even] rescue it from him! Weak indeed is the seeker, and [weak] the sought
M. M. Pickthall
O mankind! A similitude is coined, so pay ye heed to it: Lo! those on whom ye call beside Allah will never create a fly though they combine together for the purpose. And if the fly took something from them, they could not rescue it from it. So weak are (both) the seeker and the sought
Yusuf Ali (Saudi Rev. 1985)
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
The Clear Quran, Dr. Mustafa Khattab
O humanity! A lesson is set forth, so listen to it ˹carefully˺: those ˹idols˺ you invoke besides Allah can never create ˹so much as˺ a fly, even if they ˹all˺ were to come together for that. And if a fly were to snatch anything away from them, they cannot ˹even˺ retrieve it from the fly. How powerless are those who invoke and those invoked!
Safi Kaskas
People, an example is presented, so listen to it. Those you call on besides God will never be able to create [as much as] a fly, even if they all gathered together for that purpose. And if the fly robs them of anything, they will not be able to retrieve it. How feeble are the petitioners and those they petition.
Wahiduddin Khan
People, here is an illustration. So listen carefully. Surely, those whom you invoke other than God cannot create even a fly, even if they were all to combine together to do it, and if a fly should snatch anything away from them, they cannot recover it from it. Both are indeed weak, the seeker and the sought
Shakir
O people! a parable is set forth, therefore listen to it: surely those whom you call upon besides Allah cannot create fly, though they should all gather for it, and should the fly snatch away anything from them, they could not take it back from i weak are the invoker and the invoked
Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar
O humanity! A parable was propounded, so listen to it. Truly, those whom you call to other than God will never create a fly, even if they were gathered together for it. And when the fly is to rob them of something, they would never seek to deliver it from the fly. Weak were the ones who are seekers and the ones who are sought.
T.B.Irving
0 mankind, a parable has been composed, so listen to it! Those whom you appeal to other than to God will never create a fly, even though they combined together to do so. Yet if the fly should snatch anything away from them, they would not even know how to recover it from it. How weak the seeker is, and anything he seeks!
Abdul Hye
O mankind! An example has been coined, so listen to it (carefully). Surely! Those whom you call on besides Allah, can not create a fly even if they combine together for it. If a fly snatches away a thing from them, they will have no power to release it from the fly. So weak are (both) the seeker and the sought.
The Study Quran
O mankind! A parable is set forth, so hearken unto it! Truly those upon whom you call apart from God will never create a fly, even if they gathered together to do so. And if the fly should rob them of aught, they could not rescue it from it. Feeble are the seeker and the sought
Dr. Kamal Omar
O you mankind! A similitude is set forth, so listen to it attentively. Surely those whom you people invoke besides Allah shall never create (even) a fly, though they join one another for that (task). And if the fly drives away something from them they will not get it released from it. Became weak the seeker and the sought (i.e., one who invoked, and one who was invoked)
Farook Malik
O mankind! Here is an example for your understanding, so listen to it carefully. Those deities whom you call besides Allah, cannot create a single fly, even if they all combined their forces, rather, if a fly snatches away anything from them they cannot even get it back; how feebleminded are the suppliants and how powerless are those whom they supplicate
Talal A. Itani (new translation)
O people! A parable is presented, so listen to it: Those you invoke besides God will never create a fly, even if they banded together for that purpose. And if the fly steals anything from them, they cannot recover it from it. Weak are the pursuer and the pursued
Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali
O you mankind, a similitude is struck; so listen to it. Surely the ones whom you invoke apart from Allah will never create a fly, even if they gathered together for (the purpose); and in case a fly should rob them of anything, they would not be able to rescue it from him. Weak (indeed) are the seeker and the sought
Muhammad Sarwar
People, listen to this parable: Those whom you worship instead of God do not have the power to create even a fly, even though all of them would come together for the task. If the fly was to snatch something from them they would not be able to rescue it from the fly. How feeble are such worshippers and that which they worship
Muhammad Taqi Usmani
O people, here is a parable set forth to you, so listen to it carefully: All those whom you invoke besides Allah can never create (even) a fly, even though they all join hands together for that. And if a fly snatches something away from them, they cannot release it from its possession. (Equally) feeble are the invoker and the invoked
Shabbir Ahmed
"O Mankind! Here is an example for you to listen and ponder! Behold, those beings you invoke instead of Allah, cannot create as much as a fly, even if they were to join all their forces to do so. And if a fly robs them of anything, they cannot get it back from it. Weak indeed is the seeker and weak indeed the sought."
Dr. Munir Munshey
Oh you people! An example is being quoted. Listen attentively! Those you pray to besides Allah can create nothing _ not even a fly, though they may pool all their resources. (Worse than that) they are too powerless to rescue anything that even a fly might wrest away from them. Feeble are the seekers, and feeble are those being sought
Syed Vickar Ahamed
O Mankind! Here is a story told (to you)! Listen to it! Verily, those to whom you call, besides Allah, cannot create (even) a fly, if they all get together for the purpose! And if the fly should grab anything from them, they would have no power to regain it from the fly. Weak are those who call and (weak are) those to whom they call
Umm Muhammad (Sahih International)
O people, an example is presented, so listen to it. Indeed, those you invoke besides Allah will never create [as much as] a fly, even if they gathered together for that purpose. And if the fly should steal away from them a [tiny] thing, they could not recover it from him. Weak are the pursuer and pursued
[The Monotheist Group] (2011 Edition)
O mankind, an example is being cited so listen to it: those you call upon besides God will not create a fly even if they all gathered to do so. And if the fly takes anything from them, they will not be able to return it from him. Weak is both the seeker and the sought
Abdel Haleem
People, here is an illustration, so listen carefully: those you call on beside God could not, even if they combined all their forces, create a fly, and if a fly took something away from them, they would not be able to retrieve it. How feeble are the petitioners and how feeble are those they petition
Abdul Majid Daryabadi
O Mankind! a similitude is propounded; so hearken thereto. Verily those whom ye call upon beside Allah will by no means create a fly, even though they assembled for that; and if the fly were to snatch away aught from them, they cannot recover it from him: weak the seeker and the sought
Ahmed Ali
O men, give ear to this parable: Those you worship other than God can never create as much as a fly, even if they get together to do so; and if the fly were to rob them of a thing they would not be able to snatch it away from it. How weak the seeker and how weak the sought
Aisha Bewley
Mankind! an example has been made, so listen to it carefully. Those whom you call upon besides Allah are not even able to create a single fly, even if they were to join together to do it. And if a fly steals something from them, they cannot get it back. How feeble are both the seeker and the sought!
Ali Ünal
O humankind! A parable is struck, so pay heed to it: Those whom, apart from God, you deify and invoke will never be able to create even a fly, even if all of them were to come together to do so. And if a fly snatches away anything from them, they cannot recover that from it. Powerless indeed is the seeker, and (so is) the sought
Ali Quli Qara'i
O mankind! Listen to a parable that is being drawn: Indeed those whom you invoke besides Allah will never create [even] a fly even if they all rallied to do so! And if a fly should take away something from them, they can not recover that from it. Feeble is the seeker and the sought
Hamid S. Aziz
O mankind! A similitude is coined for you, so pay heed to it. Verily, those on whom you call beside Allah could never create a fly even if they combine together to do it. And if the fly should snatch something from them they could not rescue it from it.
Ali Bakhtiari Nejad
People, an example was given, so listen to it: indeed those you call on other than God never create a fly even if they get together for it, and if the fly snatches anything away from them, they cannot get it back from it. The seeker and the sought are weak
A.L. Bilal Muhammad et al (2018)
O humanity, here is a parable put forward, listen to it. Those on whom you call other than God, cannot even create a fly, even if they all met together for the purpose, and if the fly snatches away anything from them, they would have no power to release it from the fly. Feeble are those who petition, as are those whom they petition
Musharraf Hussain
People, here is an example, so listen to it carefully: the idols you worship beside Allah can’t create a fly, even if they all got together to do so. In fact, if a fly were to snatch something from them, they would be unable to take it back. How weak are both the devotee and the object of devotion!
Maududi
O people, a parable is set forth: pay heed to it. Those who call upon aught other than Allah shall never be able to create even a fly, even if all of them were to come together to do that. And if the fly were to snatch away anything from them, they would not be able to recover that from it. Powerless is the supplicant; and powerless is he to whom he supplicates
[The Monotheist Group] (2013 Edition)
O people, an example is being put forth so listen to it: those you call upon besides God will not create a fly even if they all gathered to do so. And if the fly takes anything from them, they will not be able to return anything from it. Weak is both the seeker and the sought!
Mohammad Shafi
O mankind! An example is given; listen to it: Those, whom you pray to besides Allah, cannot create a fly, even though they combine together for the purpose. And if the fly snatches away something from them, they have no power to get that something released from the fly. Weak are the seeker and the sought, both

Controversial or status undetermined works
Ahmed Raza Khan (Barelvi)
'O people! A similitude is related, listen to it attentively. These, whom you worship beside Allah, could not make a fly though they should all gather for it. And if the fly snatch, away something from them then they could not take it back from it. How weak are the desirer and that which was desired.
Rashad Khalifa
O people, here is a parable that you must ponder carefully: the idols you set up beside GOD can never create a fly, even if they banded together to do so. Furthermore, if the fly steals anything from them, they cannot recover it; weak is the pursuer and the pursued.
Hasan Al-Fatih Qaribullah
People, this is a parable, listen to it. Those whom you call upon, other than Allah, could never create a fly, though they banded together to do this. And if a fly robs them of anything, they could never rescue it from it. The seeker and the sought are alike in their weakness
Maulana Muhammad Ali
O people, a parable is set forth, so listen to it. Surely those whom you call upon besides Allah cannot create a fly, though they should all gather for it. And if the fly carry off aught from them, they cannot take it back from it. Weak are (both) the invoker and the invoked
Muhammad Ahmed - Samira
You, you the people, (an) example/proverb was given , so listen to it, that those whom you call from other than God they will never/not create a fly/insanity and even if they gathered/unified/combined for it, and if the fly/insanity ravishes/robs them forcefully (of) a thing, they will not rescue/save it from it, the seeker/wanter and the sought after/wanted were weakened
Bijan Moeinian
Listen people; whatever you worship beside God, cannot create even a fly, even though they combine their forces together. Now if a fly of Mine snatches away something from them, they cannot get it back from it! How weak of a worshipper and an object of worship
Faridul Haque
O people, an example is being illustrated therefore listen to it attentively; "Those whom you worship besides Allah can never create a fly even if they all come together for it; and if a fly took away something from them, they cannot retrieve that from it; how weak are the seeker and the sought!"
Sher Ali
O men, a similitude is set forth, so listen to it. Surely those on whom you call upon instead of ALLAH cannot create even a fly, though they should all combine together for the purpose. And if the fly should snatch away anything from them, they cannot recover it therefrom. Weak, indeed, are both the seeker and the sought
Dr. Mohammad Tahir-ul-Qadri
O mankind! An example is given, so listen to it attentively. Verily, the (idols) you worship besides Allah cannot create (even) a fly, though they all may join in for this (purpose). And if the fly snatches a thing away from them, they cannot (even) recover it from that (fly). How helpless is the seeker (worshipper) and the sought (false god)
Amatul Rahman Omar
O people! here is a parable, so listen to it. Those whom you call upon apart from Allah cannot create even a fly, though they may all join hands for it. And if the fly should snatch away something from them, they cannot recover it from it. Feeble indeed is the seeker (- the worshippers) and (feeble) the sought after (- the worshipped one)
Muhsin Khan & Muhammad al-Hilali
O mankind! A similitude has been coined, so listen to it (carefully): Verily! Those on whom you call besides Allah, cannot create (even) a fly, even though they combine together for the purpose. And if the fly snatched away a thing from them, they would have no power to release it from the fly. So weak are (both) the seeker and the sought

Non-Muslim and/or Orientalist works
Arthur John Arberry
O men, a similitude is struck; so give you ear to it. Surely those upon whom you call, apart from God, shall never create a fly, though they banded together to do it; and if a fly should rob them of aught, they would never rescue it from him. Feeble indeed alike are the seeker and the sought
George Sale
O men, a parable is propounded unto you; wherefore hearken unto it. Verily the idols which ye invoke, besides God, can never create a single fly, although they were all assembled for that purpose: And if the fly snatch any thing from them, they cannot recover the same from it. Weak is the petitioner, and the petitioned
Edward Henry Palmer
O ye folk! a parable is struck out for you, so listen to it. Verily, those on whom ye call beside God could never create a fly if they all united together to do it, and if the fly should despoil them of aught they could not snatch it away from it - weak is both the seeker and the sought
John Medows Rodwell
O men! a parable is set forth to you, wherefore hearken to it. Verily, they on whom ye call beside God, cannot create a fly, though they assemble for it; and if the fly carry off aught from them, they cannot take it away from it! Weak the suppliant and the supplicated
N J Dawood (2014)
You people! Listen to this aphorism. Those whom you invoke besides God could never create a fly though they combined their forces. And if a fly stole aught from them, they could never retrieve it. Powerless is the supplicant, and powerless he whom he supplicates

New, Partial, or In Progress Translations
Linda “iLHam” Barto
O Humanity, here is offered a parable. Pay attention to it. Those upon whom you call besides Allah cannot create even a fly, even if they all met together just for that purpose. And if a fly should snatch away anything [for example, a morsel of bread], they would have no power to get it back. That is how feeble the petitioners and the petitioned [idols] are.
Sayyid Qutb
Mankind! An aphorism is set forth; hearken, then, to it. Those beings whom you invoke instead of God cannot create a fly, even though they were to join all their forces to that end. If a fly robs them of anything, they cannot rescue it from him! Weak indeed is the seeker, and weak the sought!
Ahmed Hulusi
O people! Here is an exemplary lesson for you; so listen to it! Even if the things to which you turn besides Allah were to gather, they could not create even a fly! And if a fly was to snatch something away from them, they could not recover it from the fly... Helpless is the seeker and the sought!
Sayyed Abbas Sadr-Ameli
O people! A parable is struck; so listen to it. Verily, those whom you call upon besides Allah can never create (even) a fly, though they should all gather for it; and should the fly snatch away anything from them, they could not take it back from it. Feeble are (both) the seeker and the sought
Al-muntakhab fi tafsir al-Qur'an al-Karim
O you people: An allegorical representation is introduced to describe a subject under the guise of some other subject of aptly suggestive resemblance intended to convey a useful lesson by which moral and spiritual relations are typically set forth. Thus: those whom you invoke besides Allah, idols or human, shall not be able to create a fly even if they get together and combine their efforts. And if a fly should ravish anything out of their hands or out of their environ never shall they be able to reclaim it. How helpless is the suppliant - who is defeated by a fly- and the creature entreated -the fly-
Mir Aneesuddin
O mankind ! a similitude is set forth, so listen to it: those whom you pray to, besides Allah, certainly cannot create a fly (even) if they all get together for it, and if the fly snatches away something from them they cannot (even) take it back from it, weak are the seeker and the sought.

Obsolete and/or older editions
Yusuf Ali (Orig. 1938)
O men! Here is a parable set forth! listen to it! Those on whom, besides God, 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 relea se it from the fly. Feeble are those who petition and those whom they petition
OLD Literal Word for Word
O mankind! Is set forth an example, so listen to it. Indeed, those whom you invoke besides Allah will never create a fly even if they gathered together for it. And if snatched away from them the fly a thing not they (could) take it back from it. So weak (are) the seeker and the one who is sought