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وَلَوْ شِئْنَا لَرَفَعْنَاهُ بِهَا وَلَـٰكِنَّهُ أَخْلَدَ إِلَى ٱلأَرْضِ وَٱتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ فَمَثَلُهُ كَمَثَلِ ٱلْكَلْبِ إِن تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْهِ يَلْهَثْ أَوْ تَتْرُكْهُ يَلْهَث ذَّلِكَ مَثَلُ ٱلْقَوْمِ ٱلَّذِينَ كَذَّبُواْ بِآيَاتِنَا فَٱقْصُصِ ٱلْقَصَصَ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
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-Al-A‘râf ( الأعراف )

Tafsir al-Jalalayn

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] fā’ [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.


Tafsir al-Jalalayn, trans. Feras Hamza
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