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AYAH at-Taubah 9:118 

Arabic Source and Roman Transliteration
Arabic وَعَلَى الثَّلَاثَةِ الَّذِينَ خُلِّفُوا حَتَّىٰ إِذَا ضَاقَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ الْأَرْضُ بِمَا رَحُبَتْ وَضَاقَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ أَنفُسُهُمْ وَظَنُّوا أَن لَّا مَلْجَأَ مِنَ اللَّهِ إِلَّا إِلَيْهِ ثُمَّ تَابَ عَلَيْهِمْ لِيَتُوبُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ zoom
Transliteration WaAAala alththalathati allatheena khullifoo hatta itha daqat AAalayhimu al-ardu bima rahubat wadaqat AAalayhim anfusuhum wathannoo an la maljaa mina Allahi illa ilayhi thumma taba AAalayhim liyatooboo inna Allaha huwa alttawwabu alrraheemu zoom
Transliteration-2 waʿalā l-thalāthati alladhīna khullifū ḥattā idhā ḍāqat ʿalayhimu l-arḍu bimā raḥubat waḍāqat ʿalayhim anfusuhum waẓannū an lā malja-a mina l-lahi illā ilayhi thumma tāba ʿalayhim liyatūbū inna l-laha huwa l-tawābu l-raḥīmu zoom
Literal
(Word by Word)
 And on the three (of) those who were left behind, until when (was) straitened for them the earth, though it was vast. And (was) straitened for them their own souls and they were certain that (there is) no refuge from Allah except to Him. Then He turned (in mercy) to them that they may repent. Indeed, Allah, He (is) the Acceptor of repentanc the Most Merciful. zoom


Generally Accepted Translations of the Meaning
Muhammad Asad And [He turned in His mercy, too,] towards the three [groups of believers] who had fallen prey to corruption, until in the end-after the earth, despite all its vastness, had become [too] narrow for them and their souls had become [utterly] constricted they came to know with certainty that there is no refuge from God other than [a return] unto Him; and thereupon He turned again unto them in His mercy, so that they might repent: for, verily, God alone is an acceptor of repentance, a dispenser of grace. zoom
M. M. Pickthall And to the three also (did He turn in mercy) who were left behind, when the earth, vast as it is, was straitened for them, and their own souls were straitened for them till they bethought them that there is no refuge from Allah save toward Him. Then turned He unto them in mercy that they (too) might turn (repentant unto Him). Lo! Allah! He is the Relenting, the Merciful. zoom
Yusuf Ali (Saudi Rev. 1985) (He turned in mercy also) to the three who were left behind; (they felt guilty) to such a degree that the earth seemed constrained to them, for all its spaciousness, and their (very) souls seemed straitened to them,- and they perceived that there is no fleeing from Allah (and no refuge) but to Himself. Then He turned to them, that they might repent: for Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. zoom
Yusuf Ali (Orig. 1938) (He turned in mercy also) to the three who were left behind; (they felt guilty) to such a degree that the earth seemed constrained to them, for all its spaciousness, and their (very) souls seemed straitened to them,- and they perceived that th ere is no fleeing from God (and no refuge) but to Himself. Then He turned to them, that they might repent: for God is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. zoom
Shakir And to the three who were left behind, until the earth became strait to them notwithstanding its spaciousness and their souls were also straitened to them; and they knew it for certain that there was no refuge from Allah but in Him; then He turned to them (mercifully) that they might turn (to Him); surely Allah is the Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful. zoom
Wahiduddin Khan He has turned with mercy to the three whose case was deferred, when the earth, for all its spaciousness, closed in upon them, and their own souls seemed straitened to them and they realised that there was no refuge from God except in Him. He turned to them so that they might turn to Him. God is the Ever Forgiving, the Most Merciful. zoom
Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar And upon the three who were left behind when the earth became narrow for them—for all its breadth—and their souls became narrow for them and they thought that there was no shelter from God, but in Him, again, He turns to them in forgiveness so that they would turn towards Him. Truly, God, He is The Accepter of Repentance, The Compassionate. zoom
T.B.Irving As for the three who we behind, until the earth seemed too cramped for them, spacious thou and even their souls seemed to strangle them and they thought there be no refuge from God except through Himself-, then He relented towards them so they might repent. God is Ever-Turning, Merciful. zoom
The Clear Quran, Dr. Mustafa Khattab And ˹Allah has also turned in mercy to˺ the three who had remained behind, ˹whose guilt distressed them˺ until the earth, despite its vastness, seemed to close in on them, and their souls were torn in anguish. They knew there was no refuge from Allah except in Him. Then He turned to them in mercy so that they might repent. Surely Allah ˹alone˺ is the Accepter of Repentance, Most Merciful. zoom
Safi Kaskas He also forgave the three who stayed behind. They had [come to feel that] the earth, for all its vastness, was closing in on them, and that their souls were narrowing [as well], until they realized that the only refuge from God was to be with Him. He turned to them in mercy so that they would return to Him. God alone is the accepter of repentance and is merciful. zoom
Abdul Hye  And (He also forgave) the 3 (did not join the Tabuk expedition) who were left (deferred by the Prophet) till when the earth was straitened to them as it was vast and their own selves were straitened on them. They perceived that there was no refuge from Allah but to Him. Then, He forgave them so that they could repent. Surely, Allah is Accepter of repentance, Merciful. zoom
The Study Quran and unto the three who were left behind until the earth, despite its breadth, closed in upon them, and their own souls closed in upon them, and they deemed there to be no refuge from God, save with Him. Then He relented unto them, that they might repent. Truly God is Relenting, Merciful. zoom
[The Monotheist Group] (2011 Edition) And upon the three who were left behind until the land, as vast as it is, became strained to them, and their very souls became strained, and they thought there is no shelter from God except to Him. Then He pardoned them that they might repent. God is the Redeemer, the Merciful. zoom
Abdel Haleem And to the three men who stayed behind: when the earth, for all its spaciousness, closed in around them, when their very souls closed in around them, when they realized that the only refuge from God was with Him, He turned to them in mercy in order for them to return [to Him]. God is the Ever Relenting, the Most Merciful. zoom
Abdul Majid Daryabadi And also He relented toward the three who were left behind until when the earth, vast as it is, became straitened unto them and their own lives became straitened unto them and they imagined that there was no refuge from Allah except unto Him. Thereafter He relented toward them, so that they might repent. Verily Allah! He is the Relenting, the Merciful. zoom
Ahmed Ali He has relented towards the three also (who had refused to go to the battle of the Ditch) whose case was left undecided, and even the earth with all its expanse had become narrow for them, and their lives were confined, and they came to realise there was no refuge for them except in God. So He softened towards them that they may repent; for God surely accepts repentance and is merciful. zoom
Aisha Bewley and also towards the three who were left behind,* so that when the earth became narrow for them, for all its great breadth, and their own selves became constricted for them and they realised that there was no refuge from Allah except in Him, He turned to them so that they might turn to Him. Allah is the Ever-Returning, the Most Merciful. zoom
Ali Ünal And (He turned in mercy also) to the three left behind and whose cases had been deferred (because they had not taken part in the campaign of Tabuk): (they felt such remorse that) the earth was too narrow for them despite all its vastness, and their souls became utterly constricted for them, and they came to perceive fully that there is no refuge from God except in Him. Then He turned to them in mercy that they might repent and recover their former state (in Islam). Surely God is the One Who truly returns repentance with liberal forgiveness and additional reward, the All-Compassionate (especially towards His believing servants.) zoom
Ali Quli Qara'i and to the three who were left behind. When the earth became narrow for them with [all] its expanse, and their own souls weighed heavily on them, and they knew that there was no refuge from Allah except in Him, then He turned clemently toward them so that they might be penitent. Indeed Allah is the All-clement, the All-merciful. zoom
Hamid S. Aziz And also unto the three who were left behind. When the earth, vast as it is, seemed too small for them, and their souls were constricted for them until they perceived that there was no refuge for them from Allah save towards Him (they felt imprisoned in t zoom
Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali And to the three who were left staying behind, until, when the earth, spacious as it is, became strait for them, and their selves became strait for them, and they expected that there was no shelter from Allah except in Him; thereafter He relented towards them that they might repent; surely Allah, He, Ever He, is The Superbly Relenting, The Ever-Merciful. zoom
Muhammad Sarwar God also forgave the three people who lagged behind. Grief made them feel as though there was no place in the whole vast earth to hide them or in their souls to conceal their sorrow. They began to believe that no one could save them from (the wrath of God) except He Himself. God pardoned them so that they would also repent for their sins. God is All-forgiving and All-merciful. zoom
Muhammad Taqi Usmani And (He relented) towards the three whose matter was deferred until when the earth was straitened for them despite all its vastness, and even their own souls were straitened for them, and they realized that there is no refuge from Allah, except in Him, then He turned towards them, so that they may repent. Surely, Allah is the Most-Relenting, the Very Merciful. zoom
Shabbir Ahmed Allah showed compassion to the three men who had stayed behind. They felt hopeless and the vast earth seemed shrunk to them, and their lives became narrow for them. They realized that there is no refuge but within the Divine Laws. Then He turned to them in Mercy that they too might turn in hopeful repentance (9:106). Allah is Acceptor of repentance, Merciful. zoom
Syed Vickar Ahamed And (Allah also turned with forgiveness to) the three (Ka’b bin Malik, Hilal bin Umayyah and Murarah bin Ar-Rabi; All from the Ansar people) who stayed behind (from the Tabuk expedition); (They felt guilty) so much that the earth seemed small to them, in spite of all its space, and their (very) souls seemed narrow to them— And they felt that there was no running from Allah (and no home or shelter) except to Himself. Then He forgave them, that they might repent: Verily, Allah is He Who accepts repentance (Tawwab), Most Merciful (Raheem). zoom
Umm Muhammad (Sahih International) And [He also forgave] the three who were left behind [and regretted their error] to the point that the earth closed in on them in spite of its vastness and their souls confined them and they were certain that there is no refuge from Allah except in Him. Then He turned to them so they could repent. Indeed, Allah is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful. zoom
Farook Malik He also turned in mercy to the three, the decision of whose case was deferred. So despondent were they that the earth, with all its vastness, and their own souls, seemed to close in upon them. They knew for certain that there was no refuge from Allah except in Him. Then He turned to them in mercy so that they could repent. Surely Allah is the One Who is Oft- Returning, the Merciful. zoom
Dr. Munir Munshey Allah also forgives the three whose matter had been delayed. The earth with all its vastness had closed in on them. Even their own life became utterly constrained, and they realized that they had nowhere to turn except towards Allah. Then, Allah turned to them with kindness, so that they may turn to Him with repentance. Certainly, it is Allah Who accepts repentance; He is the most Merciful. zoom
Dr. Kamal Omar And (also) to the three — those who were left behind until became constricted and narrowed down over them the earth, inspite of how expanded (it stood), and became a burden over them their own persons, and they became convinced that there is no place for flight and protection from Allah except unto Him. Then He paid attention to them in Mercy and Forgiveness so that they may turn (to Him in obedience to His Book) Verily, Allah! He is the One Who accepts repentance (and is) continuously Merciful. zoom
Talal A. Itani (new translation) Also towards the three who were left behind. Then, when the earth, as vast as it is, closed in on them, and their very souls closed in on them, and they realized that there was no refuge from God, except in Him, He redeemed them, so that they may repent. God is the Redeemer, the Merciful. zoom
Maududi And He also relented towards the three whose cases had been deferred. When the earth, for all its spaciousness, became constrained to them, and their own beings became a burden to them, and they realized that there was no refuge for them from Allah except in Him; He relented towards them that they may turn back to Him. Surely, it is Allah Who is Much Forgiving, Ever Merciful. zoom
Ali Bakhtiari Nejad And for the three (persons), those who remained behind until the earth with all its vastness became too tight for them and they were fed up with themselves and they thought that there was no refuge from God except to Himself, then He turned to (and forgave) them that they may repent, as indeed God is the acceptor of repentance, the merciful. zoom
A.L. Bilal Muhammad et al (2018) To the three who were left behind, they felt that the earth was constraining them, even in all its spaciousness. And their souls also seemed to be constraining them. Then they understood that there was no refuge from God, only with Him. Then He turned to them, so that they could repent, for God is Oft-Returning, Mercifully Redeeming. zoom
[The Monotheist Group] (2013 Edition) And also the three who were left behind, until the land, as vast as it is, became strained to them, and their very souls became strained, and they thought there was no shelter from God except to Him. Then He pardoned them that they may repent. God is the Redeemer, the Merciful. zoom
Mohammad Shafi And He pardoned the threewho were left behind, whose cases were deferred until the earth, vast though it is, became straitened unto them and their own selves became straitened to them. And they knew it for certain that there was no refuge from Allah but unto Him. Then He pardoned them that they might repent. Indeed, Allah is the One Who forgives, the One Who is Merciful. zoom

Controversial, deprecated, or status undetermined works
Bijan Moeinian God also showed mercy to those three who stayed behind (Ka’ab Ibn Malik, Hilal Ibn Ummaya and Murarah Ibn Ruba’i) after having made the earth (with all its vastness) to seem too narrow for them and after they completely gave up (they were boycotted even with their wives while waiting for the Lord’s decision.) Finally they learned (through this experience) that their only refuge is the Lord. The Lord then turned mercifully to them so that they may repent and then accepted their repentance as He is the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful. zoom
Faridul Haque And also upon the three who were kept in waiting; when the earth, vast as it is, was restricted for them, and they became weary of their own lives and became certain that there is no refuge from Allah except with Him; He then accepted their repentance in order that they remain repentant; indeed Allah is the Most Acceptor of Repentance, the Most Merciful. zoom
Hasan Al-Fatih Qaribullah And to the three who were left behind (at the Battle of Tabuk), until the earth became narrow with all its vastness, and their souls became narrow for them, they knew there was no shelter from Allah except in Him. Then He turned to them (in mercy) so that they might also turn (in repentance). Allah is the Turner, the Most Merciful. zoom
Maulana Muhammad Ali And (He turned in mercy) to the three who were left behind; until the earth, vast as it is, became strait to them and their souls were also straitened to them; and they knew that there was no refuge from Allah but in Him. Then He turned to them in mercy that they might turn (to Him). Surely Allah -- He is the Oft-returning to mercy, the Merciful. zoom
Muhammad Ahmed - Samira And on the three, those who remained until when the Earth/land narrowed/tightened on them with what (it) widened/broadened and their selves narrowed/tightened on them, and they thought/assumed that (there is) no refuge/shelter from God except to Him, then He forgave on them, (it is for them) to repent, that God, (He is) the forgiving, the merciful/most merciful. zoom
Sher Ali And HE has turned with mercy to the three who happened to be left behind until when the earth became too strait for them with all its vastness, and their souls were also straitened for them, and they became convinced that there was no refuge from ALLAH save unto Himself, then HE turned to them with mercy that they might turn to HIM. Surely it is ALLAH who is Oft-Returning with compassion and is Merciful. zoom
Rashad Khalifa Also (redeemed were) the three who stayed behind. The spacious earth became so straitened for them, that they almost gave up all hope for themselves. Finally, they realized that there was no escape from GOD, except to Him. He then redeemed them that they may repent. GOD is the Redeemer, Most Merciful. zoom
Ahmed Raza Khan (Barelvi) And to the three who were left behind, so much so that the earth being so vast became strait to them, and they became tired of their own lives, and they believed that there is no refuge from Allah but with Him. Then, He accepted their repentance that they might remain repenting. Undoubtedly, it is Allah Who is Relenting, the Merciful. zoom
Amatul Rahman Omar And (He also turned with mercy) to the three (Companions of the Prophet, Ka`b son of Malik, Hilal son of 'Umayyah and Murarah son of Rabi`ah);whose case was deferred (for decree of Allah), until the earth, for (all) its spaciousness became narrow for them, and their lives (also) became unbearable for them, and they were convinced that there was no refuge (to escape the punishment) from Allah save in Him. Then He turned to them with mercy that they might also turn (with repentance to Him). Surely, it is Allah Who is the Oft-Returning with compassion, the Ever Merciful. zoom
Dr. Mohammad Tahir-ul-Qadri And (He also turned towards) those three persons (with merciful compassion) whose (decision) was deferred until, when the earth, despite all its vastness, closed in upon them, and their (own) souls (too) became cumbersome for them, and they knew for sure that there is no refuge from (the torment of) Allah except in (turning towards) Him. Allah then inclined towards them in bestowal and kindness so that they (too) might persevere with repentance and inclination. Surely, Allah is the One Who is Most Relenting, Ever-Merciful. zoom
Muhsin Khan & Muhammad al-Hilali And (He did forgive also) the three (who did not join the Tabook expedition (whom the Prophet SAW)) left (i.e. he did not give his judgement in their case, and their case was suspended for Allahs Decision) till for them the earth, vast as it is, was straitened and their ownselves were straitened to them, and they perceived that there is no fleeing from Allah, and no refuge but with Him. Then, He accepted their repentance, that they might repent (unto Him). Verily, Allah is the One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful. zoom

Non-Muslim and/or Orientalist works
Arthur John Arberry And to the three who were left behind, until, when the earth became strait for them, for all its breadth, and their souls became strait for them, and they thought that there was no shelter from God except in Him, then He turned towards them, that they might also turn; surely God turns, and is All-compassionate. zoom
Edward Henry Palmer unto the three who were left behind, so that the earth with all its ample space was too strait for them, and their souls were straitened for them, and they thought that there was no refuge for them from God save unto Him. Then He turned again towards them that they might also turn; verily, God, He is easily turned and merciful! zoom
George Sale And He is also reconciled unto the three who were left behind, so that the earth became too strait for them, notwithstanding its spaciousness, and their souls became straitened within them, and they considered that there was no refuge from God, otherwise than by having recourse unto Him. Then was He turned unto them, that they might repent; for God is easy to be reconciled and merciful. zoom
John Medows Rodwell He hath also turned Him unto the three who were left behind, so that the earth, spacious as it is, became too strait for them; and their souls became so straitened within them, that they bethought them that there was no refuge from God but unto Himself. Then was He turned to them, that they might be turned to Him, for God is He that turneth, the Merciful. zoom
N J Dawood (2014) And to the three who had been left behind. So despondent were they that the earth, for all its vastness, and their own souls, seemed to close in upon them. They knew there was no refuge from God except in Him. Therefore He pardoned them, that they might repent. God pardons and is compassionate. zoom

New and/or Partial Translations, and works in progress
Sayyid Qutb And [so too] to the three who were left behind: when the earth, vast as it is, seemed to close in upon them, and their own souls had become too constricted, they realized that there was no refuge from God except by returning to Him. He then turned to them in mercy, so that they might repent. God is indeed the One who accepts repentance, the merciful. zoom
Ahmed Hulusi And (He also accepted the repentance of) the three who were left behind... They had felt restrained on the earth despite its vastness, and their very being had confined them and they had thought the only refuge from Allah was yet again in Him... Then He accepted their repentance so they turn... Indeed, Allah is HU, the Tawwab, the Rahim. zoom
Sayyed Abbas Sadr-Ameli And to the three who were left behind, until when the earth, with all its expanse, became narrow for them, and their own souls were straitened for them and they knew that there was no refuge from Allah save toward Him, then He turned towards them (mercifully) that they might turn (repentant unto Him) . Verily Allah is Oft-Pardoning, the Merciful. zoom
Al-muntakhab fi tafsir al-Qur'an al-Karim As for the three affluent and able men, yet thoughtless, slack and wanting in strength of will who were boycotted and excluded from the life of the community to the end that, vast as it is, the earth seemed drawn together and constricted and their souls constrained. Poor in spirit, they realized through self- reproach that they would not and could not flee from Allah but could find solace in coming back to Him. He gave up resentment against them and pardoned their offense so that they would in lowliest plight repentant stand. Allah is AL-Tawab (Relenting) Who accepts repentance and the atonement made by the people; and He is AL-Rahim (Merciful). zoom
Mir Aneesuddin and to the three who were left behind (from going to the battle and whose condition became bad) to the extent that the earth, inspite of its spaciousness, became constrained on them and their souls (too) became constrained on them and they thought that there is no refuge from Allah except (in going) to Him. Then He turned to them (mercifully) that they may repent, Allah is certainly the Accepter of repentance, the Merciful. zoom

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