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فَلَمَّا قَضَيْنَا عَلَيْهِ ٱلْمَوْتَ مَا دَلَّهُمْ عَلَىٰ مَوْتِهِ إِلاَّ دَابَّةُ الأَرْضِ تَأْكُلُ مِنسَأَتَهُ فَلَمَّا خَرَّ تَبَيَّنَتِ ٱلْجِنُّ أَن لَّوْ كَانُواْ يَعْلَمُونَ ٱلْغَيْبَ مَا لَبِثُواْ فِي ٱلْعَذَابِ ٱلْمُهِينِ
-Saba’ ( سبأ )

Tafsir al-Jalalayn

And when We decreed for him, for Solomon, death, in other words, [when] he died — he remained supported against his staff an entire year, while the jinn continued to toil in hard labour as was customary, unaware of his death, until [finally] when a termite ate through his staff, he fell to the ground [and was seen to be] dead — nothing indicated to them that he had died except a termite (al-ard is the verbal noun from uridat al-khashaba, passive verbal form, in other words, ‘it [the piece of wood] was eaten away by a termite [al-arada]’) that gnawed away at his staff (read minsa’atahu or minsātahu, replacing the hamza with an alif, meaning a ‘staff’, so called because [when describing it one would say] yunsa’u bihā, to mean it is used to repel or drive away [creatures]’). And when he fell down, dead, the jinn realised, it became apparent to them, that (an, is softened, in other words, annahum) had they known the Unseen — comprising what was hidden from them in the way of Solomon being dead — they would not have continued in the humiliating chastisement, [in] that hard labour of theirs, [in which they continued] as they supposed him to be alive, which is in contrast to what they would have supposed had they known the Unseen and the fact that he had been there an entire year, judging by how much of the staff the termite had eaten through after his death; in other words, [they would not have continued in the humiliating chastisement] for a single day or even a single night [longer].

Tafsir al-Jalalayn, trans. Feras Hamza
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