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AYAH al-Kahf 18:86 

Arabic Source and Roman Transliteration
Arabic حَتَّىٰ إِذَا بَلَغَ مَغْرِبَ الشَّمْسِ وَجَدَهَا تَغْرُبُ فِي عَيْنٍ حَمِئَةٍ وَوَجَدَ عِندَهَا قَوْمًا قُلْنَا يَا ذَا الْقَرْنَيْنِ إِمَّا أَن تُعَذِّبَ وَإِمَّا أَن تَتَّخِذَ فِيهِمْ حُسْنًا zoom
Transliteration Hatta itha balagha maghriba alshshamsi wajadaha taghrubu fee AAaynin hami-atin wawajada AAindaha qawman qulna ya tha alqarnayni imma an tuAAaththiba wa-imma an tattakhitha feehim husnan zoom
Literal
(Word by Word)
  Until, when he reached (the) setting place (of) the sun, he found it setting in a spring (of) dark mud, and he found near it a community. We said, "O Dhul-qarnain! Either [that] you punish or [that] you take [in] them (with) goodness." zoom


Generally Accepted Translations of the Meaning
Muhammad Asad [And he marched westwards] till, when he came to the setting of the sun, it appeared to him that it was setting in a dark, turbid sea; and nearby he found a people [given to every kind of wrongdoing]. We said: "O thou Two-Horned One! Thou mayest either cause [them] to suffer or treat them with kindness!" zoom
M. M. Pickthall Till, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring, and found a people thereabout. We said: O Dhu'l-Qarneyn! Either punish or show them kindness. zoom
Yusuf Ali (Saudi Rev. 1985) Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water: Near it he found a People: We said: "O Zul-qarnain! (thou hast authority,) either to punish them, or to treat them with kindness." zoom
Yusuf Ali (Orig. 1938) Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water: Near it he found a People: We said: "O Zul-qarnain! (thou hast authority,) either to punish them, or to treat them with kindness." zoom
Shakir Until when he reached the place where the sun set, he found it going down into a black sea, and found by it a people. We said: O Zulqarnain! either give them a chastisement or do them a benefit. zoom
Wahiduddin Khan until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it setting in a spring of murky water and near it he found some people. We said, Dhul-Qarnayn! You can either punish them or else you can treat them with gentleness. zoom
Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar until when he reached the setting of the sun. He found it beginning to set in a spring of muddy water. And he found near it a folk. We said: O Dhu-l Qarnayn! Either thou wilt punish them or thou wilt take them to thyself with goodness. zoom
T.B.Irving until when he reached the place where the sun sets, he found it setting in a mucky spring alongside which he (also) found some people. We said: "Double Horn either you will punish [them] or else act kindly towards them." zoom
The Clear Quran, Dr. Mustafa Khattab until he reached the setting ˹point˺ of the sun, which appeared to him to be setting in a spring of murky water, where he found some people. We said, “O Ⱬul-Qarnain! Either punish them or treat them kindly.” zoom
Safi Kaskas until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it [as if] setting in a dark, muddy spring, and nearby he found some people. We said, "O Zul-Qarnayn, either cause [them] to suffer or treat them with kindness." zoom
Abdul Hye  until, when he reached the setting place of the sun, he found it setting in a spring of black muddy water. He found a people near it. We said: “O Dhul-Qarnain! Either you punish them, or treat them with kindness.” zoom
The Study Quran till when he reached the place of the setting sun, he found it setting in a murky spring, and there he found a people. We said, “O Dhu’l-Qarnayn! Thou mayest punish, or thou mayest treat them well.” zoom
[The Monotheist Group] (2011 Edition) Until he reached the setting of the sun, and he found it setting at a boiling lake, and he found near it a people. We said: "O Two Eras, either you are to punish, or you are to do them good." zoom
Abdel Haleem then, when he came to the setting of the sun, he found it [seemed to be] setting into a muddy spring. Nearby he found some people and We said, ‘Dhu ’l-Qarnayn, you may choose [which of them] to punish or show kindness to.’ zoom
Abdul Majid Daryabadi Until when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he perceived it setting in a miry spring, and he found beside it a nation. We said: Zul Qarnian! either chastise them or take in respect of them the way of kindness. zoom
Ahmed Ali Till he reached the point of the setting sun, and saw it set behind a muddy lake, and near it found a people. We said: "O Dhu'l-Qarnain, you may either punish them or treat them with kindness." zoom
Aisha Bewley until he reached the setting of the sun and found it setting in a muddy spring and found a people by it. We said, ´Dhu´l-Qarnayn! You can either punish them or else you can treat them with gentleness.´ zoom
Ali Ünal Until, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he saw it setting in a spring of hot and black muddy water, and nearby he found a people. We said: "O Dhu’l-Qarnayn! You can either punish them or you can treat them with kindness. (Which way will you choose?)" zoom
Ali Quli Qara'i When he reached the place where the sun sets, he found it setting in a muddy spring, and by it he found a people. We said, ‘O Dhul Qarnayn! You may either punish them, or treat them with kindness.’ zoom
Hamid S. Aziz Until when he reached the setting of the sun (furthest West), he found it setting in a black muddy spring and he found thereat a people. We said, "O Zul´qarneyn! You have authority either to torment these people, or treat them kindly." zoom
Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, (The western part of the then known world) he found it setting in a muddy spring, and he found a people at it. We said, "O Thulqarnayn, either you will torment (them) or you will take to yourself towards them a fair (way)." zoom
Muhammad Sarwar to the West where he found the sun setting into a warm source (spring) of water and a people living near by. We asked him, "Dhu 'l-Qarnayn, you may punish them or treat them with kindness?" zoom
Muhammad Taqi Usmani until when he reached the point of sunset, he found it setting into a miry spring, and found a people near it. We said, .O Dhul-Qarnain, either punish them or adopt good behavior with them. zoom
Shabbir Ahmed (Conquering land to the West toward Lydia, he reached as far as the Black Sea.) The sun was setting and it appeared to him as if it was setting in the dark waters. (The local nation, given to wrongdoing, fought against him and lost). We said, "O Zul-Qarnain! Either punish or be kind to them." zoom
Syed Vickar Ahamed Until, when he reached the setting place of the sun, he found it set in a pool of murky water: And near it he found a people: We said: "O Zul-Qarnain! You either punish them or treat them with kindness." zoom
Umm Muhammad (Sahih International) Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it [as if] setting in a spring of dark mud, and he found near it a people. Allah said, "O Dhul-Qarnayn, either you punish [them] or else adopt among them [a way of] goodness." zoom
Farook Malik till he reached the end of the land and the start of an ocean, where the Sun was setting, he noted that it was setting in a mucky spring and found by it a people. We said: "O Zul-Qarnain! You have the option to either punish them or to show them kindness." zoom
Dr. Munir Munshey And reached the land of the setting sun. He saw the sun setting behind the murky hot springs. And he found a people living there nearby. We said, "Oh Dhul Qurnain! You may punish them, or treat them nicely." zoom
Dr. Kamal Omar until when he reached the setting place of the sun (i.e., the western limits of the state) he found it: it sets in a spring (of) black muddy hot (water). And he came across in its vicinity a nation. We (Allah) said (by inspiration): “O Dhul-Qurnain! Either you punish them (if you apprehend any treason or arrogance) or treat them with kindness (if they accept the authority of the Muslim state)." zoom
Talal A. Itani (new translation) Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it setting in a murky spring, and found a people in its vicinity. We said, 'O Zul-Qarnain, you may either inflict a penalty, or else treat them kindly.' zoom
Maududi until when he reached the very limits where the sun sets, he saw it setting in dark turbid waters; and nearby he met a people. We said: "O Dhu al-Qarnayn, you have the power to punish or to treat them with kindness." zoom
Ali Bakhtiari Nejad until when he reached where the sun sets, he found (perceived) it setting into a dark murky spring, and found a group of people by it. We said: Zul-Qarnain, would you punish them or would you treat them with goodness? zoom
A.L. Bilal Muhammad et al (2018) Until he reached the setting of the Sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water. Near it he found a people, and We said, “O Dhul-Qarnayn, either punish them or treat them with kindness.” zoom
[The Monotheist Group] (2013 Edition) Until he reached the setting of the sun; he found it setting at a hot spring, and he found a people near it. We said: "O Two Horned One, either you shall punish, or you shall do them good." zoom
Mohammad Shafi And when he reached a place as the sun declined in the west, he found it declining on a oligotrophic spring. And he found a people living near it. We said, "O Zulqarnain! Cause them to suffer or treat them well." zoom

Controversial, deprecated, or status undetermined works
Bijan Moeinian If you want, punish them (for their wrongdoings and style of life) or (forgive their past behavior and) rule them with kindness.” zoom
Faridul Haque To the extent that when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring, and found a nation there; We said, "O Zul-Qarnain – either punish them or choose kindness for them." zoom
Hasan Al-Fatih Qaribullah until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring, and nearby he found a nation. 'ThulKarnain, ' We said, 'you must either punish them or show them kindness. ' zoom
Maulana Muhammad Ali Until, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it going down into a black sea, and found by it a people. We said: O Dhu-l-qarnain, either punish them or do them a benefit. zoom
Muhammad Ahmed - Samira Until when he reached the sun's sunset/west , he found it departing/declining (setting) in (at a) water well/spring mixed with black (foul) mud, and he found at it a nation, We said: "You (owner) of the two horns/powers/glories, either that you torture, and either you take in them a goodness/beauty." zoom
Sher Ali Until when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting as if in a pool of murky water, and near it he found a people. WE said, `O Dhu'l Qarnain, you may punish them, or treat them with kindness.' zoom
Rashad Khalifa When he reached the far west, he found the sun setting in a vast ocean, and found people there. We said, "O Zul-Qarnain, you can rule as you wish; either punish, or be kind to them." zoom
Ahmed Raza Khan (Barelvi) Till when he reached the place of sun setting, he found it setting in a spring of black mud, and he found a people there. We said, 'O Zulqarnain, either you punish them or do good to them'. zoom
Amatul Rahman Omar So that when he reached (the land of) the setting of the sun, (the western most part of his empire,) he found it (- the sun) disappearing (as if) in a vast muddy pool of murky water (- the Black Sea), and close to it he found a certain people. We said, `Dhul-Qarnain! you may either punish (them) or treat them with kindness. (They being at your disposal.)' zoom
Dr. Mohammad Tahir-ul-Qadri Until he reached the boundary of (a locality towards) the west where he perceived the setting of the sun as if going down into a spring of (muddy black) hot water, and he found a people (living) there. We said: ‘O Dhu al-Qarnayn, (it is up to you) whether you punish them or treat them nicely.’ zoom
Muhsin Khan & Muhammad al-Hilali Until, when he reached the setting place of the sun, he found it setting in a spring of black muddy (or hot) water. And he found near it a people. We (Allah) said (by inspiration): "O Dhul-Qarnain! Either you punish them, or treat them with kindness." zoom

Non-Muslim and/or Orientalist works
Arthur John Arberry until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring, and he found nearby a people. We said, 'O Dhool Karnain, either thou shalt chastise them, or thou shalt take towards them a way of kindness.' zoom
Edward Henry Palmer until when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it setting in a black muddy spring, and he found thereat a people.' We said, 'O Dhu 'l Qarnain! thou mayest either torment these people, or treat them well.' zoom
George Sale until he came to the place where the sun setteth; and he found it to set in a spring of black mud; and he found near the same a certain people. And we said, O Dhu'lkarnein, either punish this people, or use gentleness towards them. zoom
John Medows Rodwell Until when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it to set in a miry fount; and hard by he found a people. We said, "O Dhoulkarnain! either chastise or treat them generously." zoom
N J Dawood (2014) until he reached the West and saw the sun setting in a pool of black mud. Hard by he found a certain people. ‘"Dhūl-Qarnayn," We said, "you must either punish them or show them kindness." zoom

New and/or Partial Translations, and works in progress
Sayyid Qutb and [marched westwards] till, when he came to the setting of the sun, it appeared to him that it was setting in dark, turbid waters; and nearby he found a certain people. 'Dhu'l-Qarnayn,' We said, 'you may either punish them or treat them with kindness.' zoom
Ahmed Hulusi When he finally reached the place where the sun set, he found it setting in dense, dark water... And he found people there! We said, “O Dhul-Qarnayn! You can either punish them or do good for them.” zoom
Sayyed Abbas Sadr-Ameli Until when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring and he found by it a people. We said: 'O' Zul-qarnayn! Either you chastise them or you take a way of kindness among them? zoom
Al-muntakhab fi tafsir al-Qur'an al-Karim He took the lead in an expedition toward he west until he reached a body of water -said to be the Atlantic Ocean, or more likely a mirky land abounding in swamps– where -he thought when viewing the horizon- the sun sets and where he found a -disorderly and unruly- people over whom We gave him authority. We left to him the manner of dealing with them. Either you punish them, We said or show them kindness; zoom
Mir Aneesuddin until when he reached the setting place of the sun (west), he found it setting in a black muddy spring (or Black Sea) and found near it a people. We said, "O Zulqarnain ! either punish or treat them in a good manner." zoom

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