أَهُمْ خَيْرٌ أَمْ قَوْمُ تُبَّعٍ وَٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ ۚ أَهْلَكْنَـٰهُمْ ۖ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا۟ مُجْرِمِينَ
Asad Quran Translation
Are they, then, better than the people of Tubba' and those before them, whom We destroyed because they were truly lost in [the same] sin?20
"Tubba" was the title borne by a succession of powerful Himyar kings who ruled for centuries over the whole of South Arabia, and were finally overcome by the Abyssinians in the fourth century of the Christian era. They are mentioned elsewhere in the Qur'an ( 50:14 ) as having denied the truth of resurrection and God's judgment.
Malik Quran Translation
Are these people better than the people of Tubba and those who were before them? We destroyed them all only because they had become criminals.
Yusuf Ali Quran Translation
What! are they better than the people of Tubba and those who were before them? We destroyed them because they were guilty of sin. 4715 4716
Tubba' is understood to be a title or family name of Himyuar kings in Yaman, of the tribe of Hamdan. The Himyar were an ancient race. At one time they seem to have extended their hegemony over all Arabia and perhaps beyond, to the East African Coast. Their earliest religion seems to have been Sabianism, or the worship of the heavenly bodies. They seem at different times, later on, to have professed the Jewish and the Christian religion. Among the Embassies sent by the holy Prophet in A.H. 9-10 was one to the Himyar of Yaman, which led to their coming into Islam. This was of course much later than the date of this Sura.
In prehistoric times the Himyar and Yaman seem to have played a large part in Arabia and even beyond: see last note. But when they were intoxicated with power, they fell into sin, and gradually they ceased to count, not only in Arabia but even in Yaman.
Mustafa Khattab Quran Translation
Are they superior to the people of Tubba’1
and those before them? We destroyed them ˹all˺, ˹for˺ they were truly wicked.
Tubba’ Al-Ḥimiari was an ancient righteous Yemeni king whose people persisted in disbelief and were destroyed, although they were superior to Meccans in strength and manpower.
Piktal Quran Translation
Are they better, or the folk of Tubba and those before them? We destroyed them, for surely they were guilty.
Ahum khayrun am qawmu tubbaAAin waallatheena min qablihim ahlaknahum innahum kanoo mujrimeena