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AYAH an-Nur 24:40 

Arabic Source and Roman Transliteration
Arabic أَوْ كَظُلُمَاتٍ فِي بَحْرٍ لُّجِّيٍّ يَغْشَاهُ مَوْجٌ مِّن فَوْقِهِ مَوْجٌ مِّن فَوْقِهِ سَحَابٌ ظُلُمَاتٌ بَعْضُهَا فَوْقَ بَعْضٍ إِذَا أَخْرَجَ يَدَهُ لَمْ يَكَدْ يَرَاهَا وَمَن لَّمْ يَجْعَلِ اللَّهُ لَهُ نُورًا فَمَا لَهُ مِن نُّورٍ zoom
Transliteration Aw kathulumatin fee bahrin lujjiyyin yaghshahu mawjun min fawqihi mawjun min fawqihi sahabun thulumatun baAAduha fawqa baAAdin itha akhraja yadahu lam yakad yaraha waman lam yajAAali Allahu lahu nooran fama lahu min noorin zoom
Transliteration-2 aw kaẓulumātin fī baḥrin lujjiyyin yaghshāhu mawjun min fawqihi mawjun min fawqihi saḥābun ẓulumātun baʿḍuhā fawqa baʿḍin idhā akhraja yadahu lam yakad yarāhā waman lam yajʿali l-lahu lahu nūran famā lahu min nūrin zoom
Literal
(Word by Word)
 Or (is) like (the) darkness[es] in a sea deep, covers it a wave, on it a wave, on it a cloud, darkness[es] some of it on others. When he puts out his hand hardly he (can) see it. And (for) whom not Allah (has) made for him a light, then not for him (is) any light. zoom


Generally Accepted Translations of the Meaning
Muhammad Asad Or [else, their deeds are] like the depths of darkness upon an abysmal sea, made yet more dark by wave billowing over wave, with [black] clouds above it all: depths of darkness, layer upon layer, [so that] when one holds up his hand, he can hardly see it: for he to whom God gives no light, no light whatever has he! zoom
M. M. Pickthall Or as darkness on a vast, abysmal sea. There covereth him a wave, above which is a wave, above which is a cloud. Layer upon layer of darkness. When he holdeth out his hand he scarce can see it. And he for whom Allah hath not appointed light, for him there is no light. zoom
Yusuf Ali (Saudi Rev. 1985) Or (the Unbelievers' state) is like the depths of darkness in a vast deep ocean, overwhelmed with billow topped by billow, topped by (dark) clouds: depths of darkness, one above another: if a man stretches out his hands, he can hardly see it! for any to whom Allah giveth not light, there is no light! zoom
Yusuf Ali (Orig. 1938) Or (the Unbelievers' state) is like the depths of darkness in a vast deep ocean, overwhelmed with billow topped by billow, topped by (dark) clouds: depths of darkness, one above another: if a man stretches out his hands, he can hardly see it! f or any to whom God giveth not light, there is no light! zoom
Shakir Or like utter darkness in the deep sea: there covers it a wave above which is another wave, above which is a cloud, (layers of) utter darkness one above another; when he holds out his hand, he is almost unable to see it; and to whomsoever Allah does not give light, he has no light. zoom
Wahiduddin Khan Or like darkness on a deep ocean covered by waves billowing over waves and overcast with clouds: darkness upon darkness. If he stretches out his hand, he can scarcely see it. Indeed, the man from whom God withholds His light shall find no light at all. zoom
Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar Or they are like the shadows in an obscure sea, overcome by a wave, above which is a wave, above which are clouds, shadows, some above some others. When he brought out his hand he almost sees it not. And whomever God assigns no light for him, there is no light for him. zoom
T.B.Irving Or like darkness on the unfathomed sea: one wave covers up another wave, over which there [hang] clouds; layers of darkness, one above the other! When he stretches out his hand, he can scarcely see it. Anyone whom God does not grant light to will have no light! zoom
The Clear Quran, Dr. Mustafa Khattab Or ˹their deeds are˺ like the darkness in a deep sea, covered by waves upon waves, topped by ˹dark˺ clouds. Darkness upon darkness! If one stretches out their hand, they can hardly see it. And whoever Allah does not bless with light will have no light! zoom
Safi Kaskas Or [their deeds are] like darkness over a stormy sea covered by waves, over waves, over which are dark clouds, layer upon layer of darkness. If one holds out his hand, he can hardly see it. For him to whom God gives no enlightenment, there is no enlightenment. (:] zoom
Abdul Hye  Or (another parable for a disbeliever) is like the darkness in a vast deep sea, overwhelmed with waves topped by waves, topped by dark clouds, (layers of) darkness upon darkness, if a person stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it! The one for whom Allah has not made light, there is no light for him. zoom
The Study Quran Or like the darkness of a fathomless sea, covered by waves with waves above them and clouds above them—darknesses, one above the other. When one puts out one’s hand, one can hardly see it. He for whom God has not appointed any light has no light. zoom
[The Monotheist Group] (2011 Edition) Or like the darkness out in a deep ocean in the midst of violent waves, with waves upon waves and dark clouds. Darkness upon darkness, if he brings out his own hand, he could barely see it. And for whomever God does not make a light, he will have no light. zoom
Abdel Haleem Or like shadows in a deep sea covered by wave upon wave, with clouds above- layer upon layer of darkness- if he holds out his hand, he is scarcely able to see it. The one to whom God gives no light has no light at all. zoom
Abdul Majid Daryabadi Or, like the darknesses in a sea deep; there covereth it a wave from above it, a wave from above it, above which is a cloud: darknesses one above anot her: when he putteth out his hand well-nigh he seeth it not. And upto whomsoever Allah shall not appoint a light, his shall be no light. zoom
Ahmed Ali Or like darkness in a wide, wide sea, waves surging upon waves, with clouds overhanging, darkness on darkness. If you stretch your hand, you could hardly see it. For him whom God does not give any light, there is no light. zoom
Aisha Bewley Or they are like the darkness of a fathomless sea which is covered by waves above which are waves above which are clouds, layers of darkness, one upon the other. If he puts out his hand, he can scarcely see it. Those Allah gives no light to, they have no light. zoom
Ali Ünal Or their deeds are like veils of darkness covering up an abysmal sea down into its depths, covered up by a billow, above which is a billow, above which is a cloud: veils of darkness piled one upon another, so that when he stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it. For whomever God has appointed no light, no light has he. zoom
Ali Quli Qara'i Or like the manifold darkness in a deep sea, covered by billow upon billow, overcast by clouds, manifold [layers of] darkness, one on top of another: when he brings out his hand, he can hardly see it, and one whom Allah has not granted any light has no light. zoom
Hamid S. Aziz Or like darkness on a deep sea. There covers it a wave above which is another wave, above which is a cloud, layers of darkness upon darkness; when he puts out his hand he can scarcely see it; for him to whom Allah has given no light, he has no light. zoom
Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali Or (they are) as darkness (es) in a tumultuous sea (vast and deep) enveloped by waves above which are waves, upon which are clouds: darknesses above each other, (Some of them "are" above some "others") when he brings out his hand, he could almost not see it. And for whomever Allah makes no light, then in no way (can) he have light. zoom
Muhammad Sarwar Or it (the deeds of the unbelievers) are like the darkness of a deep, stormy sea with layers of giant waves, covered by dark clouds. It is darkness upon darkness whereby even if one stretches out his hands he can not see them. One can have no light unless God gives him light. zoom
Muhammad Taqi Usmani Or (their deeds) are like layers of darkness in a vast deep sea overwhelmed by a wave, above which there is another wave, above which there are clouds – layers of darkness, one above the other. When one puts forth his hand, he can hardly see it; and the one to whom Allah does not give light can have no light at all. zoom
Shabbir Ahmed Or total darkness in the midst of a deep ocean, with waves upon waves and a thick cloud above - darkness upon darkness. When he holds out his hand, he can barely see it. Allah's Law does not give light to him who disregards His Light. zoom
Syed Vickar Ahamed Or (the disbelievers condition) is like the depths of darkness in a vast deep ocean, overcome by huge waves on top of huge waves, with (darkest) clouds at the top: Depths of darkness, one upon another: If a man opened out his hand, he can barely see it! And for him Allah does not give Light, there is no Light! zoom
Umm Muhammad (Sahih International) Or [they are] like darknesses within an unfathomable sea which is covered by waves, upon which are waves, over which are clouds - darknesses, some of them upon others. When one puts out his hand [therein], he can hardly see it. And he to whom Allah has not granted light - for him there is no light. zoom
Farook Malik Or another parable of unbelievers' efforts is that of a person trying to swim in a bottomless ocean overwhelmed with billows, one over the other, overcast with dark clouds - layers of utter darkness one above another - so much so that if he stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it. The one to whom Allah does not give light, will have no light! zoom
Dr. Munir Munshey (The condition of the unbelievers is) like darkness in the deep dark sea covered over by a huge wave, which is swarmed over by another tide. Up above are thick heavy clouds. (Total) darkness, one atop another! If one pulls out one´s hand, one could hardly see it. The one whom Allah deprives of light cannot obtain light elsewhere. zoom
Dr. Kamal Omar Or (the mind of a disbeliever is) like darknesses in a vast deep sea, a (great) wave covers it, on the upper surface of this is (another great) wave, (and) on the upper surface of this (are) dark clouds — some of them are above some (others, layers over layer). When he stretched out his hand he could not see it. And that for whom Allah has not arranged Noor (Light), then (there is) not for him from Noor. zoom
Talal A. Itani (new translation) Or like utter darkness in a vast ocean, covered by waves, above which are waves, above which is fog. Darkness upon darkness. If he brings out his hand, he will hardly see it. He to whom God has not granted a light has no light. zoom
Maududi Or (their efforts may be likened to those of a man trying to swim in) a deep dark ocean, covered with billows, one over the other, and above it a cloud: darkness upon darkness: so much so that if he stretches out his hand, he cannot see it. There is no light for the one whom Allah does not give light. zoom
Ali Bakhtiari Nejad Or like darkness in a deep sea that a wave, over it a wave which above it is clouds, covers it. Darkness, one on top of the other (such that) when he brings out his hand, he almost does not see it, and anyone who God did not put a light for him, then there is no light for him. zoom
A.L. Bilal Muhammad et al (2018) Or the unbelievers’ state is like the depths of darkness in a vast deep ocean, overwhelmed with billow covered by billow, covered by dark clouds. Depths of darkness, one above another. If a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it. For any to whom God does not give light, there is no light. zoom
[The Monotheist Group] (2013 Edition) Or like the darkness out in a deep ocean in the midst of violent waves, with waves upon waves and dark clouds. Darkness upon darkness, if he brings out his own hand, he could barely see it. And for whoever God does not make a light, he will have no light. zoom
Mohammad Shafi Or like darknesses in deep sea covered by wave over wave, above which is a cloud — darknesses one above another. When (in such a darkness) one holds out one's hand, one can hardly see it. And to whom Allah gives no light, he has no light. zoom

Controversial, deprecated, or status undetermined works
Bijan Moeinian Their case may also be likened to a man who find himself in the middle of a violent ocean. There are waves upon waves. It is so dark that he cannot even see his own hand when stretching it for swimming in desperation. The one whom God has deprived of light, cannot find any light. zoom
Faridul Haque Or like realms of darkness on a deep sea, which is covered by a wave, the wave covered by another wave, and above it is a cloud; layers of darkness upon darkness; if he removes his hand it does not seem visible; and the one to whom Allah does not provide light – there is no light for him anywhere. zoom
Hasan Al-Fatih Qaribullah Or, they are like darkness upon a deep sea covered with a wave above which is another wave, above which are clouds, darkness piled one upon the other; when he stretches out his hand he can scarcely see it. Indeed, to whomsoever Allah assigns no light, he shall have no light. zoom
Maulana Muhammad Ali Or like darkness in the deep sea -- there covers him a wave, above which is a wave, above which is a cloud -- (Layers) darkness one above another -- when he holds out his hand, he is almost unable to see it. And to whom Allah gives not light, he has no light. zoom
Muhammad Ahmed - Samira Or as darknesses in a wide roaring and noisy sea/ocean , waves/surges cover/darken him/it , from above it waves/surges, from above it clouds, darknesses, some of it (is) above some, if he brought out his hand he is not about to/almost see it, and who God did not make/put for him light, so (there is) none from light (is) to/for him. zoom
Sher Ali Or, their deeds are like thick layers of darkness spread over a vast and deep sea, on whose surface rise waves above waves, above which are clouds - layers upon layers of darkness. When he holds out his hands, he can hardly see it; and he whom ALLAH gives no light - for him there is no light at all. zoom
Rashad Khalifa Another allegory is that of being in total darkness in the midst of a violent ocean, with waves upon waves, in addition to thick fog. Darkness upon darkness - if he looked at his own hand, he could barely see it. Whomever GOD deprives of light, will have no light. zoom
Ahmed Raza Khan (Barelvi) Or it is like the darknesses in a deep sea, above which is a wave, above wave another wave, above which are clouds. There are layers of darknesses one upon the other. When he puts out his hand, it seems not to be visible, and to whom Allah gives not light; for him there is no light anywhere. zoom
Amatul Rahman Omar Or (the deeds of the disbelievers are) like thick utter darkness of the fathomless deep sea, waves on top of which there are higher waves covering its surface which is overcast by clouds. These are (layers of) darkness (piled) one upon the other (as opposed to light upon light for the believers) so that a person, however much he may try, can hardly see his hand when he holds it out. Indeed, there is no light at all for the person whom Allah gives no light. zoom
Dr. Mohammad Tahir-ul-Qadri Or (the disbelievers’ deeds are like) the darkness in a deep sea covered by a wave, rolled upon (yet) by another wave and above that are clouds. (This) darkness is (in layers) one over another. When (a person drowning into such a sea) stretches his hand out, no one can see it. And he for whom Allah has not formed any light (of guidance), for him there is no light (anywhere). zoom
Muhsin Khan & Muhammad al-Hilali Or (the state of a disbeliever) is like the darkness in a vast deep sea, overwhelmed with a great wave topped by a great wave, topped by dark clouds, darkness, one above another, if a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it! And he for whom Allah has not appointed light, for him there is no light. zoom

Non-Muslim and/or Orientalist works
Arthur John Arberry or they are as shadows upon a sea obscure covered by a billow above which is a billow above which are clouds, shadows piled one upon another; when he puts forth his hand, wellnigh he cannot see it. And to whomsoever God assigns no light, no light has he. zoom
Edward Henry Palmer Or like darkness on a deep sea, there covers it a wave above which is a wave, above which is a cloud,- darknesses one above the other,- when one puts out his hand he can scarcely see it; for he to whom God has given no light, he has no light. zoom
George Sale Or, as the darkness in a deep sea, covered by waves riding on waves, above which are clouds, being additions of darkness one over the other; when one stretcheth forth his hand, he is far from seeing it. And unto whomsoever God shall not grant his light, he shall enjoy no light at all. zoom
John Medows Rodwell Or like the darkness on the deep sea when covered by billows riding upon billows, above which are clouds: darkness upon darkness. When a man reacheth forth his hand, he cannot nearly see it! He to whom God shall not give light, no light at all hath he! zoom
N J Dawood (2014) Or like darkness on a bottomless ocean spread with clashing billows and overcast with clouds: darkness upon darkness. If he stretches out his hand he can scarcely see it. Indeed the man from whom God withholds His light shall find no light at all. zoom

New and/or Partial Translations, and works in progress
Sayyid Qutb Or else, like the depths of darkness in a vast deep ocean, covered by waves above which are waves, with clouds above it all: depths of darkness, layer upon layer, [so that] when one holds up his hand, he can hardly see it. Indeed the one from whom God withholds light shall find no light at all. zoom
Musharraf Hussain Or their deeds are like veils of darkness in the deep sea covered by wave upon wave, over which clouds loom. The layers of darkness lie so densely over one another that, if one takes one’s hand out of the water, one can barely see it. Anyone Allah deprives of light will have no light at all. zoom
Ahmed Hulusi Or (the consequence of his life) will be like darkness within a deep ocean, covered by a wave upon a wave and overcast with clouds! Darkness upon darkness! If he (the one engulfed by it) reaches out his hand he will hardly be able to see it... Whoever Allah withholds His Nur (knowledge) from shall forever be deprived of Nur (knowledge)! zoom
Sayyed Abbas Sadr-Ameli Or (the Unbelievers' deeds) is like utter darkness in a vast, abysmal sea. There covers him a wave, above which is another wave, above which is a cloud; (with layers of) darkness one over the other. When he holds out his hand, he can hardly see it. And for whomever Allah does not appoint light, for him there is no light. zoom
Al-muntakhab fi tafsir al-Qur'an al-Karim Or a world of darkness similar to that found in the depth of an ocean where billowy waves are superimposed upon billowy waves topped by dark clouds creating a coat of darkness superimposed upon coats of darkness where he sits or moves misted with darkness that if he stretches his hand he can hardly see it*. And he whom Allah blinds his mind's eyes and darkens his eyes shall he devoid of spiritual light and his hopes shall he doomed to disappointment. zoom
Mir Aneesuddin And (as for) those who do not believe, their deeds will be like a mirage in the desert, which the thirsty person supposes to be water until when he comes to it and finds it to be nothing, and finds Allah with him (to take his account of deeds), so He pays in full to him that which is due to him and Allah is Quick in (settling) the account. zoom

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