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Muhammad Asad
Unto Him [alone] is due all prayer aiming at the Ultimate Truth, since those [other beings or powers] whom men invoke instead of God cannot respond to them in any way - [so that he who invokes them is] but like one who stretches his open hands towards water, [hoping] that it will reach his mouth, the while it never reaches him. Hence, the prayer of those who deny the truth amounts to no more than losing oneself in grievous error
The Clear Quran, Dr. Mustafa Khattab
Calling upon Him ˹alone˺ is the truth. But those ˹idols˺ the pagans invoke besides Him ˹can˺ never respond to them in any way. ˹It is˺ just like someone who stretches out their hands to water, ˹asking it˺ to reach their mouths, but it can never do so. The calls of the disbelievers are only in vain.
Safi Kaskas
True prayer is to Him alone, and those who call upon anyone besides Him receive no response. [They are] like one who stretches his hands toward water hoping for it to reach his mouth, but it will not reach him. And the prayers of the unbelievers are simply lost.

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Source Arabic and Literal tools
Arabic
لَهُ دَعْوَةُ الْحَقِّ وَالَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِهِ لَا يَسْتَجِيبُونَ لَهُم بِشَيْءٍ إِلَّا كَبَاسِطِ كَفَّيْهِ إِلَى الْمَاءِ لِيَبْلُغَ فَاهُ وَمَا هُوَ بِبَالِغِهِ وَمَا دُعَاءُ الْكَافِرِينَ إِلَّا فِي ضَلَال
Transliteration
Lahu daAAwatu alhaqqi waallatheena yadAAoona min doonihi la yastajeeboona lahum bishay-in illa kabasiti kaffayhi ila alma-i liyablugha fahu wama huwa bibalighihi wama duAAao alkafireena illa fee dalalin
Transliteration-2
lahu daʿwatu l-ḥaqi wa-alladhīna yadʿūna min dūnihi lā yastajībūna lahum bishayin illā kabāsiṭi kaffayhi ilā l-māi liyablugha fāhu wamā huwa bibālighihi wamā duʿāu l-kāfirīna illā fī ḍalāli
Word for Word
Dr. Shehnaz Shaikh, Ms. Kauser Katri, and more
To Him (is) supplication (of) the truth. And those whom they invoke from besides Him not they respond to them with a thing except like one who stretches his hands towards water to reach his mouth, but not it reaches it. And not (is) the supplication (of) the disbelievers but in error.

Generally Accepted Translations of the Meaning
Muhammad Asad
Unto Him [alone] is due all prayer aiming at the Ultimate Truth, since those [other beings or powers] whom men invoke instead of God cannot respond to them in any way - [so that he who invokes them is] but like one who stretches his open hands towards water, [hoping] that it will reach his mouth, the while it never reaches him. Hence, the prayer of those who deny the truth amounts to no more than losing oneself in grievous error
M. M. Pickthall
Unto Him is the real prayer. Those unto whom they pray beside Allah respond to them not at all, save as (is the response to) one who stretcheth forth his hands toward water (asking) that it may come unto his mouth, and it will never reach it. The prayer of disbelievers goeth (far) astray
Yusuf Ali (Saudi Rev. 1985)
For Him (alone) is prayer in Truth: any others that they call upon besides Him hear them no more than if they were to stretch forth their hands for water to reach their mouths but it reaches them not: for the prayer of those without Faith is nothing but (futile) wandering (in the mind)
The Clear Quran, Dr. Mustafa Khattab
Calling upon Him ˹alone˺ is the truth. But those ˹idols˺ the pagans invoke besides Him ˹can˺ never respond to them in any way. ˹It is˺ just like someone who stretches out their hands to water, ˹asking it˺ to reach their mouths, but it can never do so. The calls of the disbelievers are only in vain.
Safi Kaskas
True prayer is to Him alone, and those who call upon anyone besides Him receive no response. [They are] like one who stretches his hands toward water hoping for it to reach his mouth, but it will not reach him. And the prayers of the unbelievers are simply lost.
Wahiduddin Khan
The only true appeal is to God alone; those they appeal to instead of Him will never respond to them in any way. They are like a man who stretches forth his hands toward the water, so that it may reach his mouth, but it never does. The calls of those who deny the truth are all in vain
Shakir
To Him is due the true prayer; and those whom they pray to besides Allah give them no answer, but (they are) like one who stretches forth his two hands towards water that it may reach his mouth, but it will not reach it; and the prayer of the unbelievers is only in error
Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar
For Him is the call of The Truth. And those whom they call to other than Him, they respond not to them at all, but like one who stretches out the palms of his hands for water so that it should reach his mouth, but it is not that which reaches it. And supplication of the ones who are ungrateful is only wandering astray.
T.B.Irving
To Him should go the appeal for Truth; those they appeal to instead of Him will never respond to them in any way, except as someone does who stretches out his palms for water, so it may reach his mouth since he himself can never reach it. An appeal by disbelievers merely goes astray.
Abdul Hye
For Him (alone) is the Word of truth. And those (deities) whom they (disbelievers) invoke besides Him, can not answer anything, except like the one who stretches forth its hands (at edge of well) for water to reach its mouth, but it does not reach it, and the invocation of the disbelievers is nothing but an error.
The Study Quran
Unto Him is the supplication of truth; and those whom they supplicate apart from Him answer them not in the least, save as one who stretches forth his palms toward water that it may reach his mouth, though it never reaches him. And the supplication of the disbelievers is naught but astray
Dr. Kamal Omar
For Him (Alone) is the rightful invocking. And those whom they invoke besides Him, they respond them not in any form except like one who stretches forth his two palms in the direction of the water so that it (itself) may reach his mouth although it will not be one that reaches it. And the invocation of the disbelievers is not but in complete deviation (from the fruitful path)
Farook Malik
Praying to Him Alone is the right thing. The other deities they pray to, besides Him, cannot answer their prayers. They are like a man who stretches forth his hands to the water and asks it to reach his mouth. It cannot reach his mouth this way; likewise the prayer of the unbelievers is nothing but a fruitless effort
Talal A. Itani (new translation)
To Him belongs the call to truth. Those they call upon besides Him do not respond to them with anything—except as someone who stretches his hands towards water, so that it may reach his mouth, but it does not reach it. The prayers of the unbelievers are only in vain
Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali
To Him is the call of Truth. And the ones upon whom they invoke, apart from Him, do not respond to them in anything, except it is as one who stretches out his hands to water that it may reach his mouth; and in no way will it reach it. And in no way does the invocation of the disbelievers go anywhere except in error
Muhammad Sarwar
Prayer to Him is the true prayer. Those to whom they pray instead of God will answer none of their prayers. It is as though one stretches his hands out to the water that can never reach his mouth. The prayers of the unbelievers will get nowhere
Muhammad Taqi Usmani
True prayers are to be directed to Him alone; and those to whom they pray instead of Him do not respond to them at all, but they are like one who stretches his hands towards water so that it may reach his mouth (by itself), while it is not to reach it. And the prayer of the disbelievers (that they make to false gods) is nothing but straying in void
Shabbir Ahmed
Calling upon, and working in line with His Laws yield solid results. Those unto whom they call besides Allah, respond to them not at all. Thus they are like those who stretch their hands to the water which is not there. So nothing reaches their mouths. Hence, the prayer of the deniers of the Divine Laws is but vain prayer (4:123)
Dr. Munir Munshey
To call (and implore) Him is the real prayer. _ (To be prayed to, is His exclusive right). Those others they implore besides Him could never respond! They are like the one stretching his hands towards water, wishing it to enter his mouth. It never can! The prayers of the unbelievers will only go to waste
Syed Vickar Ahamed
The True prayer is for Him (and only for Him): Any other (things) that they call to besides Him do not hear them any more than the one who stretches out his hands for water to reach his mouths but it does not reach him: Because the prayer of those without faith is nothing but (useless) misguidance
Umm Muhammad (Sahih International)
To Him [alone] is the supplication of truth. And those they call upon besides Him do not respond to them with a thing, except as one who stretches his hands toward water [from afar, calling it] to reach his mouth, but it will not reach it [thus]. And the supplication of the disbelievers is not but in error [i.e. futility]
[The Monotheist Group] (2011 Edition)
To Him is the call of truth. And those who are called on besides Him, they will not respond to them in anything; like one who places his hands openly in the water to drink, but it never reaches his mouth. The call of the rejecters is nothing but in misguidance
Abdel Haleem
The only true prayer is to Him: those they pray to besides Him give them no answer any more than water reaches the mouth of someone who simply stretches out his hands for it- it cannot do so: the prayers of the disbelievers are all in vain
Abdul Majid Daryabadi
Unto Him is the true call, and those whom they call upon beside Him answer them not at all, save as is answered one stretching out his palms to water that it may reach his mouth, while it will reach it not. And the supplication of the infidels only goeth astray
Ahmed Ali
To call on Him is true (supplication). For those they invoke other than Him do not answer them at all, except like a man who stretches his hands towards the water that it reach his mouth, but it will never reach it. Not more than error are the prayers of infidels
Aisha Bewley
The call of truth is made to Him alone. Those they call upon apart from Him do not respond to them at all. It is like someone stretching out his cupped hands towards water to convey it to his mouth: it will never get there. The call of the kuffar only goes astray.
Ali Ünal
To Him alone is made the call of truth and the prayer of truth addressed. Those to whom they invoke and call others (to invoke), apart from Him, cannot answer them in any way – (so that he who invokes them is but) like one who stretches out his hands to water (praying) that it may come to his mouth, but it never comes to it. The prayer of the unbelievers is but destined to go to waste
Ali Quli Qara'i
[Only] to Him belongs the true invocation; and those whom they invoke besides Him do not answer them in any wise— like someone who stretches his hands towards water [desiring] that it should reach his mouth, but it does not reach it— and the invocations of the faithless only go awry
Hamid S. Aziz
True prayer is only a call to Allah; and those who call on others besides Him shall not be answered at all, except as one who stretches out his hand to the water that it may reach his mouth, but it reaches it not! The call of the disbelievers is futile
Ali Bakhtiari Nejad
The true calling belongs to Him, and those whom they call on other than Him do not answer them at all, except like someone who stretches his hands toward the water to reach his mouth, but it does not reach it. And the call of the disbelievers is only in error (and it is useless)
A.L. Bilal Muhammad et al (2018)
To Him belongs prayer in truth. Any others who they call upon besides Him hear them no more than if they were to stretch out their hands for water to reach their mouth but it reaches it not, for the prayer of those without faith is nothing but error
Musharraf Hussain
A true prayer is for Him alone. Those they pray to besides Him never answer, they’re like a person who stretches out his hands to catch water to put into his mouth, but it doesn’t reach it. The disbelievers’ prayer is ineffective.
Maududi
To Him alone should all prayer be addressed, for those to whom they do address their prayers beside Him are altogether powerless to respond to them. The example of praying to any other than Allah is that of a man who stretches out his hands to water, asking it to reach his mouth, although water has no power to reach his mouth. The prayers of the unbelievers are a sheer waste
[The Monotheist Group] (2013 Edition)
To Him is the call of truth. And those who are called on besides Him, they will not respond to them in anything; like one who places his hands openly in the water to drink, except it never reaches his mouth. The call of the rejecters is nothing but in misguidance
Mohammad Shafi
To Him is the true prayer! And those whom they pray to besides Allah give them no response on anything. It is just like one stretching his two hands out for water to reach his mouth, but it reaches not. And the prayer of those who suppress the Truth is nothing but an illusion

Controversial or status undetermined works
Ahmed Raza Khan (Barelvi)
Calling to Him alone is true, and those whom they call upon beside Him, hear them not at all, but like him ' who is sitting stretching his hands before the water that it may reach his mouth, and it will never reach it. And every prayer of the infidels loses its way.
Rashad Khalifa
Imploring Him is the only legitimate supplication, while the idols they implore beside Him cannot ever respond. Thus, they are like those who stretch their hands to the water, but nothing reaches their mouths. The supplications of the disbelievers are in vain.
Hasan Al-Fatih Qaribullah
To Him is the Call of truth. Those to whom they call, other than Him, give them no answer. They are like he who stretches out his hands to the water andbids it rise to his mouth, it does not reach it! The prayers of the unbelievers goes astray
Maulana Muhammad Ali
To Him is due the true prayer. And those to whom they pray besides Him give them no answer, but (they are) like one who stretches forth his two hands towards water that I may reach his mouth, but it will not reach it. And the prayer of the disbelievers is only wasted
Muhammad Ahmed - Samira
For Him (is) the truth's call/request/prayer, and those who call from (to) other than Him, they do not answer/reply to them from a thing, except as (who) spreads/extends his two palms to the water to reach his mouth, and he is not with reaching it, and the disbeliever's call/prayer is not except in misguidance
Bijan Moeinian
The only one who should be begged (and worshipped) is the Lord. The idols that the disbelievers implore cannot ever respond. Asking for help from someone beside God is like stretching the hands towards water and asking it to come to the mouth! The prayers of the disbelievers, therefore, is in vain
Faridul Haque
Only the prayer to Him is truthful; and whomever they pray to besides Him, do not hear them at all, but like one who has his hands outstretched towards water that it may come into his mouth, and it will never come; and every prayer of the disbelievers remains wandering
Sher Ali
Unto Him alone is due the true Prayer. And those on whom they call instead of HIM answer them not at all. Their case is but like the case of him who stretches forth his two hands towards water that it may reach his mouth, but it reaches it not. And the prayer of a disbeliever is but a thing wasted
Dr. Mohammad Tahir-ul-Qadri
Calling towards the truth (i.e., the Oneness of Allah) is for Him alone. And those (false gods—idols) they (disbelievers) worship besides Him cannot give them any answer at all. Their example is like the one who (sits) stretching both his palms towards water so that it may reach his mouth (itself), but it (the water) reaches not (like this). And (in like manner) the praying of disbelievers (to idols and their idol-worship) is but a distraction
Amatul Rahman Omar
He alone deserves being called upon (in prayer). Those they call upon, apart from Him, give them no response whatsoever, but (these polytheists pray to them) like one who stretches forth both of his hands towards the water (wishing) that it may reach his mouth while it never reaches it. And the call of the disbelievers is nought but in vain
Muhsin Khan & Muhammad al-Hilali
For Him (Alone) is the Word of Truth (i.e. none has the right to be worshipped but He). And those whom they (polytheists and disbelievers) invoke, answer them no more than one who stretches forth his hand (at the edge of a deep well) for water to reach his mouth, but it reaches him not, and the invocation of the disbelievers is nothing but an error (i.e. of no use)

Non-Muslim and/or Orientalist works
Arthur John Arberry
To Him is the call of truth; and those upon whom they call, apart from Him, answer them nothing, but it is as a man who stretches out his hands to water that it may reach his mouth, and it reaches it not. The prayer of the unbelievers goes only astray
George Sale
It is He who ought of right to be invoked; and the idols which they invoke besides Him, shall not hear them at all; otherwise than as he is heard, who stretcheth forth his hands to the water that it may ascend to his mouth, when it cannot ascend thither: The supplication of the unbelievers is utterly erroneous
Edward Henry Palmer
On Him is the call of truth, and those who call on others than Him shall not be answered at all, save as one who stretches out his hand to the water that it may reach his mouth, but it reaches it not! The call of the misbelievers is only in error
John Medows Rodwell
Prayer is His of right: but these deities to whom they pray beside Him give them no answer, otherwise than as he is answered who stretcheth forth his hands to the water that it may reach his mouth, when it cannot reach it! The prayer of the Infidels only wandereth, and is lost
N J Dawood (2014)
To Him is the prayer of Truth. The idols to which they pray give them no answer. They are like a man who stretches out his hands to the water and bids it rise to his mouth: it cannot reach it. Vain are the prayers of the unbelievers

New, Partial, or In Progress Translations
Linda “iLHam” Barto
To Him belong all honest prayers. Any others upon whom are depended besides Him give no better response than if someone were to extend his/her hands [into a deep well] for water but cannot reach the water and get it to his/her mouth. The prayer of one without faith is nothing but stray wandering.
Sayyid Qutb
To Him is due the prayer aiming at the Truth. Those whom people invoke beside God cannot respond to them in any way. They are just like a man who stretches his open hands towards water, [hoping] that it will come to his mouth; but it will never reach it. The prayer of those without faith is nothing but wandering in grievous error.
Ahmed Hulusi
To HU is the invitation of Truth! Those to whom they turn and from whom they seek help besides Allah will never respond to them (because they do not exist)! (They are) like one who stretches out his hand for water, but it will not reach him (for there is no tap)! The prayer of those who deny the knowledge of the reality is only a perversion and futile!
Sayyed Abbas Sadr-Ameli
To Him (alone) is the call of Truth; and those to whom they call, besides Him, will answer them nothing, but like one who stretches his two hands towards the water so that it may reach his mouth, while it does not reach it. And the prayer of disbelievers is only in erro
Al-muntakhab fi tafsir al-Qur'an al-Karim
The spirit of truth that guides into all truth is asserted as Allah's own, whereas those objects they worship and invoke besides Him do not respond to them anymore than the thirsty who stretches out his hand to lift water to his gaping mouth but it never reaches his mouth. Indeed the system of faith and worship practiced by the infidels is simply worthless and leads them to the loss in the of error
Mir Aneesuddin
To Him is due the real prayer (for help), and those to whom they pray (for help) besides Him, do not respond to them in anything but like one who stretches his hands towards water that it may reach his mouth but it does not reach it. And the prayer of the infidels (is nothing) but in vain, (being fruitless).

Obsolete and/or older editions
Yusuf Ali (Orig. 1938)
For Him (alone) is prayer in Truth: any others that they call upon besides Him hear them no more than if they were to stretch forth their hands for water to reach their mouths but it reaches them not: for the prayer of those without Faith is n othing but (futile) wandering (in the mind)
OLD Literal Word for Word
To Him (is) supplication (of) the truth. And those whom they invoke besides Him not they respond to them with a thing except like one who stretches his hands towards water to reach his mouth, but not it reaches it. And not (is) the supplication (of) the disbelievers but in error