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Muhammad Asad
The parable of the life of this world is but that of rain which We send down from the sky, and which is absorbed by the plants of the earth whereof men and animals draw nourishment, until -when the earth has assumed its artful adornment and has been embellished, and they who dwell on it believe that they have gained mastery over it -there comes down upon it Our judgment, by night or by day, and We cause it to become [like] a field mown down, as if there had been no yesterday. Thus clearly do We spell out these messages unto people who think
The Clear Quran, Dr. Mustafa Khattab
The life of this world is just like rain We send down from the sky, producing a mixture of plants which humans and animals consume. Then just as the earth looks its best, perfectly beautified, and its people think they have full control over it, there comes to it Our command by night or by day, so We mow it down as if it never flourished yesterday! This is how We make the signs clear for people who reflect.
Safi Kaskas
The example of life on earth is like rain that We send down, which stimulates the growth of plants that humans and animals eat. Then, [just] as the earth takes on its finest appearance and is beautifully adorned, and its people think they have power over it, Our judgment comes to it suddenly, by night or day, and We reduce it to stubble, as if it had not flourished just the day before. We make Our messages clear to people who reflect on them.

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Source Arabic and Literal tools
Arabic
إِنَّمَا مَثَلُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا كَمَاءٍ أَنزَلْنَاهُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ فَاخْتَلَطَ بِهِ نَبَاتُ الْأَرْضِ مِمَّا يَأْكُلُ النَّاسُ وَالْأَنْعَامُ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا أَخَذَتِ الْأَرْضُ زُخْرُفَهَا وَازَّيَّنَتْ وَظَنَّ أَهْلُهَا أَنَّهُمْ قَادِرُونَ عَلَيْهَا أَتَاهَا أَمْرُنَا لَيْلًا أَوْ نَهَارًا فَجَعَلْنَاهَا حَصِيدًا كَأَن لَّمْ تَغْنَ بِالْأَمْسِ كَذَٰلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُون
Transliteration
Innama mathalu alhayati alddunya kama-in anzalnahu mina alssama-i faikhtalata bihi nabatu al-ardi mimma ya/kulu alnnasu waal-anAAamu hatta itha akhathati al-ardu zukhrufaha waizzayyanat wathanna ahluha annahum qadiroona AAalayha ataha amruna laylan aw naharan fajaAAalnaha haseedan kaan lam taghna bial-amsi kathalika nufassilu al-ayati liqawmin yatafakkaroona
Transliteration-2
innamā mathalu l-ḥayati l-dun'yā kamāin anzalnāhu mina l-samāi fa-ikh'talaṭa bihi nabātu l-arḍi mimmā yakulu l-nāsu wal-anʿāmu ḥattā idhā akhadhati l-arḍu zukh'rufahā wa-izzayyanat waẓanna ahluhā annahum qādirūna ʿalayhā atāhā amrunā laylan aw nahāran fajaʿalnāhā ḥaṣīdan ka-an lam taghna bil-amsi kadhālika nufaṣṣilu l-āyāti liqawmin yatafakkarūn
Word for Word
Dr. Shehnaz Shaikh, Ms. Kauser Katri, and more
Only (the) example (of) the life (of) the world (is) like (the) water which We sent down from the sky, so absorbs [with] it, (the) plants (of) the earth from which eat the men and the cattle, until when takes the earth its adornment and is beautified and think its people that they have the power over it, comes (to) it Our command (by) night or (by) day, and We make it a harvest clean-mown, as if not it had flourished yesterday. Thus We explain the Signs for a people who reflect.

Generally Accepted Translations of the Meaning
Muhammad Asad
The parable of the life of this world is but that of rain which We send down from the sky, and which is absorbed by the plants of the earth whereof men and animals draw nourishment, until -when the earth has assumed its artful adornment and has been embellished, and they who dwell on it believe that they have gained mastery over it -there comes down upon it Our judgment, by night or by day, and We cause it to become [like] a field mown down, as if there had been no yesterday. Thus clearly do We spell out these messages unto people who think
M. M. Pickthall
The similitude of the life of the world is only as water which We send down from the sky, then the earth's growth of that which men and cattle eat mingleth with it till, when the earth hath taken on her ornaments and is embellished, and her people deem that they are masters of her, Our commandment cometh by night or by day and We make it as reaped corn as if it had not flourished yesterday. Thus do we expound the revelations for people who reflect
Yusuf Ali (Saudi Rev. 1985)
The likeness of the life of the present is as the rain which We send down from the skies: by its mingling arises the produce of the earth- which provides food for men and animals: (It grows) till the earth is clad with its golden ornaments and is decked out (in beauty): the people to whom it belongs think they have all powers of disposal over it: There reaches it Our command by night or by day, and We make it like a harvest clean-mown, as if it had not flourished only the day before! thus do We explain the Signs in detail for those who reflect
The Clear Quran, Dr. Mustafa Khattab
The life of this world is just like rain We send down from the sky, producing a mixture of plants which humans and animals consume. Then just as the earth looks its best, perfectly beautified, and its people think they have full control over it, there comes to it Our command by night or by day, so We mow it down as if it never flourished yesterday! This is how We make the signs clear for people who reflect.
Safi Kaskas
The example of life on earth is like rain that We send down, which stimulates the growth of plants that humans and animals eat. Then, [just] as the earth takes on its finest appearance and is beautifully adorned, and its people think they have power over it, Our judgment comes to it suddenly, by night or day, and We reduce it to stubble, as if it had not flourished just the day before. We make Our messages clear to people who reflect on them.
Wahiduddin Khan
The life of the world is like the water which We send down from the sky, and which is absorbed by the plants of the earth, from which men and cattle eat. But when the earth has taken on its finest appearance, and looks beautiful, and its people think they have it under their control, then by day or by night, Our command comes to it and We convert it into a field of stubble, as if nothing had existed there the day before. Thus We make plain Our revelations for those who reflect
Shakir
The likeness of this world's life is only as water which We send down from the cloud, then the herbage of the earth of which men and cattle eat grows luxuriantly thereby, until when the earth puts on its golden raiment and it becomes garnished, and its people think that they have power over it, Our command comes to it, by night or by day, so We render it as reaped seed; produce, as though it had not been in existence yesterday; thus do We make clear the communications for a people who reflect
Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar
The parable of this present life is but like water that We caused to descend from heaven. It mingled with the plants of the earth—from which you eat—humanity and flocks—until when the earth took its ornaments and was decorated and its people thought that, truly, they are ones who have power over it! Our command approached it by nighttime or by daytime. Then, We made it stubble as if it flourished not yesterday. Thus, We explain distinctly the signs for a folk who reflect.
T.B.Irving
Worldly life may be compared to water We send down from the sky. It mingles with the plants of the earth on which mankind and livestock feed until, when the earth takes on its trimmings and looks attractive, and its people think that they will be able to use them as they like, Our command comes along to it by night or daytime, and We mow it down ahead of time just as though it had not been so lush the day before. Thus We spell out signs for folk who will think things over.
Abdul Hye
Surely the likeness of the worldly life is as the water (rain) which We send down from the sky, it mingles with it (soil) and produces of the earth which people and cattle eat; until when the earth takes its adornments and is beautified, and its people think that they have all the powers of disposal over it, Our command reaches it by night or by day and We make it like a clean-mown harvest, as if it had not flourished yesterday! Thus We explain in detail the Verses for the people who think.
The Study Quran
The parable of the life of this world is that of water which We send down from the sky: the earth’s vegetation, from which men and cattle eat, mingles with it till, when the earth takes on its luster and is adorned, and its inhabitants think they have gained mastery over it, Our Command comes upon it by night or by day, whereupon We make it a mown field, as if it had not flourished the day before! Thus do We expound the signs for a people who reflect
Dr. Kamal Omar
Certainly, what is the example of this worldly life (it is) like the rain, We sent it down from the direction of the sky, then got intermingled with it the produce from the earth of which eat humans and cattle, until when the earth adopted its beautiful adornment and got fully beautified and its custodians became sure that they are full controllers over it, Our command reached it by night or by day, then We made it like a clean-mown harvest as if it had not flourished yesterday. Thus We give details to the Ayaat for a nation who think and ponder
Farook Malik
The example of this worldly life (which you love so much that you have even become neglectful of Our signs) is like the water which We send down from the sky; it mingles with the soil and produces vegetation which becomes the food for men and animals. Then, at the very time when the crops are ripened and the land looks attractive, the people to whom it belongs think that they are able to cultivate it, and there comes Our scourge upon it, by night or in broad day, and We mow it down thoroughly as if nothing existed there yesterday! Thus do We spell out Our signs for those who are thoughtful
Talal A. Itani (new translation)
The likeness of the present life is this: water that We send down from the sky is absorbed by the plants of the earth, from which the people and the animals eat. Until, when the earth puts on its fine appearance, and is beautified, and its inhabitants think that they have mastered it, Our command descends upon it by night or by day, and We turn it into stubble, as if it had not flourished the day before. We thus clarify the revelations for people who reflect
Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali
Surely the likeness of the present life is only like water that We send down from the heaven, so the growth of the earth mixes up with it, whereof mankind and cattle eat till, when the earth has taken on its decoration and has adorned itself and its population surmise that they (are able to) determine its course, Our Command comes up to it by night or daytime, so We make it mown-down, as if it did not flourish the day before. Thus We expound the signs for a people who meditate.
Muhammad Sarwar
The example of the worldly life is like the water sent down from the sky which becomes mixed with the earth's produce that people and cattle consume. When the land becomes fertile and pleasant, people think that they have control over it. At Our command during the night or day, the land becomes as barren as if it had no richness the day before. Thus, do We explain the evidence (of the truth) for the people who reflect
Muhammad Taqi Usmani
The example of worldly life is just like the water We sent down from the sky, then the vegetation of the earth grew with it, which is (meant to be) eaten by men and cattle, until when the earth took on its ornament and was fully adorned, and its people thought that they had control over it, Our command came to it at night or by day, and We turned it into a stubble, as if it had not been there a day earlier. This is how We elaborate the verses for a people who reflect
Shabbir Ahmed
Those who do not invest in the life to come must consider a similitude: The life of the world is a passing delight: We send down water from the height to produce with it all kinds of plants from the earth, provision for humans and animals. Then, just as the earth has taken its ornament and is perfectly adorned, and its people think that they are in control, Our Command arrives by night or by day, leaving it completely barren, as if nothing existed there yesterday. The only way to inherit the fruit of your labor in the Hereafter is to live by Our Laws. We expound Our Revelations and Signs in Nature for those who use their intellect
Dr. Munir Munshey
The example of the life of this world: He caused water to come down from the sky, causing all kinds of plants to grow _ food for man as well as cattle. Once the land turns lush and green and the residents believe this to be their destiny, suddenly Our orders arrive by day or by night and the land is left barren and in ruins _ as if it never had been green. Thus, He explains the signs in detail for the nation that ponders
Syed Vickar Ahamed
Verily, the life of the present is like the rain which We send down from the skies: With its occurrence come the crops of the earth— Which provide food for men and animals: (They grow) till the earth wears its golden ornament and is strung out (in beauty): The people to whom it belongs think they have all the control over it (the earth): (However) by night or by day, Our Command reaches it and We make it like a harvest (crop) cleanly cut, as if it had not flourished the day before! Like this We explain in detail Our Signs for those who meditate
Umm Muhammad (Sahih International)
The example of [this] worldly life is but like rain which We have sent down from the sky that the plants of the earth absorb - [those] from which men and livestock eat - until, when the earth has taken on its adornment and is beautified and its people suppose that they have capability over it, there comes to it Our command by night or by day, and We make it as a harvest, as if it had not flourished yesterday. Thus do We explain in detail the signs for a people who give thought
[The Monotheist Group] (2011 Edition)
The example of the worldly life is like a water which has come down from the sky, so it mixed with the plants of the Earth from what mankind and the livestock eat. Then the Earth takes its shape and becomes beautiful and its inhabitants think that they have mastered it; then Our judgment comes by night or by day, so We make it a wasteland as if it never prospered by the yesterday! It is such that We clarify the revelations to a people who think
Abdel Haleem
The life of this world is like this: rain that We send down from the sky is absorbed by the plants of the earth, from which humans and animals eat. But when the earth has taken on its finest appearance, and adorns itself, and its people think they have power over it, then the fate We commanded comes to it, by night or by day, and We reduce it to stubble, as if it had not flourished just the day before. This is the way We explain the revelations for those who reflect
Abdul Majid Daryabadi
The similitude of the life of the world is only as the rain which We send down from heaven, wherewith maingleth the growth of the earth, of which men and cattle eat, until, when the earth putteth on her oranament and is adorned, and the inhabitants thereof imgine that they are potent over it, there cometh unto it Our command by night or by day, then We make it stubble as though it had not flourished yesterday. Thus We detail the signs unto a people who ponder
Ahmed Ali
The life of the world is like the rain that waters the crops of the earth which are used as food by men and cattle. But when the earth is embellished and adorned with gold, and its tillers begin to feel that (the crops) are under control, Our command descends suddenly at night or in the day, and We mow them down as though there was nothing there yesterday. This is how We distinctly explain Our signs to those who think
Aisha Bewley
The metaphor of the life of this world is that of water which We send down from the sky, and which then mingles with the plants of the earth to provide food for both people and animals. Then, when the earth is at its loveliest and takes on its fairest guise and its people think they have it under their control, Our command comes upon it by night or day and We reduce it to dried-out stubble, as though it had not been flourishing just the day before! In this way We make Our Signs clear for people who reflect.
Ali Ünal
The present, worldly life is like this: We send down water from the sky, and the earth’s vegetation, of which humans and animals eat, mingles with it, until, when the earth has taken on her ornaments and has been embellished, and its inhabitants suppose that they are its masters with a free hand over the earth, Our command comes upon it by night or day unexpectedly, and We cause it to become like a field mown down, as if it had not flourished the previous day. Thus We set out in detail the signs (the signposts of Our way and the relevant commands and guidance included in the Qur’an) for a people who reflect (on them and draw the necessary lesson)
Ali Quli Qara'i
The parable of the life of this world is that of water which We send down from the sky. It mingles with the earth’s vegetation from which humans and cattle eat. When the earth puts on its luster and is adorned, and its inhabitants think they have power over it, Our edict comes to it, by night or day, whereat We turn it into a mown field, as if it did not flourish the day before. Thus do We elaborate the signs for a people who reflect
Hamid S. Aziz
Verily, the likeness of the life of this world is like water which We send down from the sky, and the plants of the earth, from which men and cattle eat, are mingled therewith, until when the earth puts on its ornament and is adorned, and her people thin
Ali Bakhtiari Nejad
The example of this world's life is indeed like a rain that We sent it down from the sky, then the plants of the earth from which the people and the livestock eat, mixes with it, until when the earth takes its decoration and is beautified, and its inhabitants think that they have power over it, then Our command comes to it by night or day and We make it as a mowed down field as if it did not exist the day before. That is how We explain the signs for people who think
A.L. Bilal Muhammad et al (2018)
The likeness of the life of the present is as the rain which We send down from the skies. By its mingling, arises the produce of the earth which provides food for humanity and animals. It grows until the earth is clad with its golden ornaments and is beautified. The people to whom it belongs think they have power of disposal over it. Then it reaches Our command by night or by day, and We make it like a harvest clean-mown, as if it had not flourished only the day before. Thus do We explain the signs in detail for those who reflect
Musharraf Hussain
This worldly life is like the water We send down from the sky, it soaks the soil and the plants, which are eaten by the people and livestock. They grow until the land takes on beautiful colours and appears attractive, and its owners think they have control over it, then Our command comes, at night or by day, and We leave it looking like stubble after the harvest, as though it never existed a day earlier. This is how We explain the signs for people who reflect.
Maududi
The example of the life of this world (which has enamoured you into becoming heedless to Our signs) is that of water that We sent down from the heaven which causes the vegetation of the earth, which sustains men and cattle, to grow luxuriantly. But when the earth took on its golden raiment and became well adorned and the owners believed that they had full control over their lands Our command came upon them by night or by day, and We convened it into a stubble, as though it had not blossomed yesterday. Thus do We expound the signs for a people who reflect.
[The Monotheist Group] (2013 Edition)
The example of the worldly life is like a water which has come down from the sky, so it mixed with the plants of the earth from what the people and the livestock eat. Then the earth takes its shape and becomes beautiful and its inhabitants think that they have mastered it; then Our judgment comes by night or by day, so We make it a wasteland as if it never prospered by the yesterday! It is such that We clarify the revelations for a people who think.
Mohammad Shafi
This life is but like water which We send down from the sky. Spring forth therewith all kinds of vegetation on the earth, of which men and cattle eat. Until, when the earth puts on its golden raiment and it becomes adorned, and its people think that they have mastery over it, Our command comes to it, by night or by day, and We make it barren, as though it had not flourished anytime in the recent past. Thus do We explain the Verses/signs for a people who reflect

Controversial or status undetermined works
Ahmed Raza Khan (Barelvi)
The example of the life of the world is like that water which, We have sent down from the sky, on account of which the vegetation of earth came out in abundance of which men and cattle eat, till, when the earth took on its ornament and was fully adorned, and its owners thought that it is under their authority; there came upon it Our command by night or by day, then We made it mown down as if it had not existed yesterday. Thus, We explain fully Our signs for a people who reflect.
Rashad Khalifa
The analogy of this worldly life is like this: we send down water from the sky to produce with it all kinds of plants from the earth, and to provide food for the people and the animals. Then, just as the earth is perfectly adorned, and its people think that they are in control thereof, our judgment comes by night or by day, leaving it completely barren, as if nothing existed the previous day. We thus explain the revelations for people who reflect.
Hasan Al-Fatih Qaribullah
This present life is like the water We send down from the sky. The plants of the earth mix with it and from it mankind and cattle eat; then when the earth has become lush and adorned, its inhabitants think they have power over it, Our command comes upon it by night or day, and We cause it to be stubble, just as though it had not flourished the day before. In this way We distinguish Our verses for those who reflect
Maulana Muhammad Ali
The likeness of this world’s life is only as water which We send down from the clouds, then the herbage of the earth, of which men and cattle eat, grows luxuriantly thereby; until when the earth puts on its golden raiment and it becomes adorned, and its people think that they are masters of it, Our command comes to it, by night or by day, so We render it as reaped seed-produce, as though it had not flourished yesterday. Thus do We make clear the messages for a people who reflect
Muhammad Ahmed - Samira
But the life the present's/worldly life's example (is) as/like water, We descended it from the sky, so the Earth's/land's plant mixed/mingled with it, from what the people eat and the camels/livestock, until the earth/land took its decoration/beauty and it became decorated/beautified, and its people thought/assumed that they are capable/overpowering on it, (then) Our order/matter came to/destroyed it at night or (at) daytime, so We made it uprooted as though it did not enrich/be inhabited by the yesterday/previous day, as/like that We detail/explain/clarify the verses/evidences to a nation thinking
Bijan Moeinian
The [instability of the] life in this world can be exemplified by the following [true] story: Once upon a time, I sent rain from the sky which caused the crops (which sustains man and animals equally) cover the earth. Then, at the height of the abundance (when the land owners were happy, presuming that they are going to be blessed with an unusual profit), I sent a catastrophe (in the night or the day [whichever you choose]) that all of a sudden destroyed the whole land as though nothing existed there before. See how clearly I make my points for those people who contemplate
Faridul Haque
The example of the life of this world is similar to the water which We sent down from the sky, so due to it the earth’s vegetation grew in abundance - that which men and cattle eat; to the extent that when the earth has taken on her ornaments and is well beautified, and her owners thought that it is within their control, Our command came to it at night or at day - so We made it harvested as if it had not existed yesterday; this is how We explain the verses for the people who ponder
Sher Ali
The likeness of the present life is only as water which WE sent down from the clouds, then there mingles with it the produce of the earth, of which men and cattle eat till when the earth takes on its ornament and looks beautiful and its owners think that they have full power over it, there comes to it by Our command by night or by day and WE render it like a mown down field, as if nothing existed there the day before. Thus do WE expound the Signs for a people who reflect
Dr. Mohammad Tahir-ul-Qadri
The example of the worldly life is like water which We sent down from the sky. Then, owing to this, there came forth from the earth a thick growth of vegetation which both men and cattle feed on, until when the earth took its (full) bloom and beauty and became fully embellished, and its inhabitants thought that (now) they had full control over it, then (suddenly) Our command (of torment) seized it by night or by day, and We made it mown down as if it did not even exist the day before. That is how We elucidate Our signs to those who apply reason
Amatul Rahman Omar
The life of this world is simply like water. We send it down from the clouds so that the produce of the earth, whereof people and cattle eat, grows with this (water) abundantly until when the earth (by means of it) receives its excellent ornature and has decked itself fairly beautiful and its owners feel sure that they are its masters, unexpectedly We command its destruction either by night or by day, so We render it a field that is mown down as though nothing had existed there the day before. Thus do We explain in detail the signs for a people who reflect
Muhsin Khan & Muhammad al-Hilali
Verily the likeness of (this) worldly life is as the water (rain) which We send down from the sky, so by it arises the intermingled produce of the earth of which men and cattle eat until when the earth is clad with its adornments and is beautified, and its people think that they have all the powers of disposal over it, Our Command reaches it by night or by day and We make it like a clean-mown harvest, as if it had not flourished yesterday! Thus do We explain the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, laws, etc.) in detail for the people who reflect

Non-Muslim and/or Orientalist works
Arthur John Arberry
The likeness of this present life is as water that We send down out of heaven, and the plants of the earth mingle with it whereof men and cattle eat, till, when the earth has taken on its glitter and has decked itself fair, and its inhabitants think they have power over it, Our command comes upon it by night or day, and We make it stubble, as though yesterday it flourished not. Even so We distinguish the signs for a people who reflect
George Sale
Verily the likeness of this present life is no other than as water, which We send down from heaven, and wherewith the productions of the earth are mixed, of which men eat, and cattle also, until the earth receive its vesture, and be adorned with various plants: The inhabitants thereof imagine that they have power over the same; but our command cometh unto it by night, or by day, and we render it as though it had been mown, as though it had not yesterday abounded with fruits. Thus do We explain our signs unto people who consider
Edward Henry Palmer
Verily, the likeness of this world's life is like water which we send down from the sky, and the plants of the earth, from which men and cattle eat, are mingled therewith; until when the earth puts on its gilding and is adorned, the people thereof think that they have power over it. Our order comes to it by night or day, and we make it as it were mown down - as though it had not yesterday been rich!- Thus do we detail the signs unto a people who reflect
John Medows Rodwell
Verily, this present life is like the water which we send down from Heaven, and the produce of the earth, of which men and cattle eat, is mingled with it, till the earth hath received its golden raiment, and is decked out: and they who dwell on it deem that they have power over it! but, Our behest cometh to it by night or by day, and we make it as if it had been mown, as if it had not teemed only yesterday! Thus make we our signs clear to those who consider
N J Dawood (2014)
This present life is like the rich garment with which the earth adorns itself when watered by the rain We send down from the sky. Crops, sustaining man and beast, grow luxuriantly: but, as the earth‘s tenants begin to think themselves its masters, down comes Our scourge upon it, by night or by day, laying it waste, as though it did not blossom but yesterday. Thus do We expound Our revelations to people who reflect

New, Partial, or In Progress Translations
Linda “iLHam” Barto
A parable of this present life is evident in the rain We send down from the sky. Absorbed by the earth, it beckons plants to emerge and provides food for people and animals. The earth becomes beautifully clad [with foliage and fruits]. Its people [the land’s owners] think they have control of it, but Our command reaches the land at night or during the day. Suddenly the land is turned fallow [by frost, storm, or locusts], as if it had not flourished just the day before. Thus do We explain the signs in detail for those who ponder.
Sayyid Qutb
This present life may be compared to rain which We send down from the sky, and which is then absorbed by the plants of the earth from which men and animals eat. Then, when the earth has been clad with its fine adornments and well embellished, and its people believe that they have full mastery over it, Our command comes down upon it, by night or by day, and We make it like a field that has been mowed down, as if it did not blossom but yesterday. Thus do We spell out Our revelations to people who think.
Ahmed Hulusi
The life of the world is like the water, which We disclose from the sky, with which the plants of the earth, that humans and animals eat, have been formed. And when the earth reaches its finest appearance with its produce, and the people think they are powerful and in control, Our command will manifest suddenly in an instant of the night or day! And We will convert it into a field of stubble as though it had not flourished the day before! Thus do We detail Our signs for a people who contemplate!
Sayyed Abbas Sadr-Ameli
The likeness of the life of this world is just as the water which We send down from the sky, and the plants of the earth mingle with it whereof men and cattle eat, till when the earth takes its ornament and is embellished, and its people imagine that they have power over it,(but suddenly)Our command reaches it by night or by day, and We make it stubble, as if it had not flourished the day before! Thus do We explain the Signs in detail for a people who reflect
Al-muntakhab fi tafsir al-Qur'an al-Karim
Life here below stands similitude exact of the soil which is stirred to activity and swells up by absorption of the rain water falling from the floor of the vault of heaven. The water is imbibed by soil which constitute the victuals of both man and animal causing the vegetal growths to flourish and grow healthy and vigorous. The earth is rendered beautiful and pleasing to the senses and the world comes to be adorned and furnished with all that is ornamental, the natural and the artificial, and when its inhabitants begin to think that it shall always minister to their necessities and pleasure and they are now the masters thereof, there comes Our command to pass by night or by day to convince mankind that it is not in mortals to command success, and we mow it down as if it never flourished the day before. Thus do We expound Our revelations and make Our discourse readily understood by people who reflect
Mir Aneesuddin
The likeness of the life of this world is only like water which We send down from the sky, then with the (water) mixes up the vegetation of the earth, from which mankind and cattle eat, to the extent that the earth takes up its decoration and is adorned (with luxuriant vegetation); and (when) its owners think that they are all powerful over (getting full benefit out of) it, Our command comes (down on it) by night or by day and We make it a reaped (field of vegetation) as if it had not flourished yesterday. Thus do We explain the signs in detail for a people who reflect.

Obsolete and/or older editions
Yusuf Ali (Orig. 1938)
The likeness of the life of the present is as the rain which We send down from the skies: by its mingling arises the produce of the earth- which provides food for men and animals: (It grows) till the earth is clad with its golden ornaments and is decked out (in beauty): the people to whom it belongs think they have all powers of disposal over it: There reaches it Our command by night or by day, and We make it like a harvest clean-mown, as if it had not flourished only the day before! thus d o We explain the Signs in detail for those who reflect
OLD Literal Word for Word
Only (the) example (of) the life (of) the world (is) like (the) water which We sent down from the sky, so absorbs [with] it, (the) plants (of) the earth from eat the men and the cattle, until when takes the earth its adornment and is beautified and think its people that they have the power over it, comes (to) it Our command (by) night or (by) day, and We make it a harvest clean-mown, as if not it had flourished yesterday. Thus We explain the Signs for a people who reflect