وَسْـَٔلْهُمْ عَنِ ٱلْقَرْيَةِ ٱلَّتِى كَانَتْ حَاضِرَةَ ٱلْبَحْرِ إِذْ يَعْدُونَ فِى ٱلسَّبْتِ إِذْ تَأْتِيهِمْ حِيتَانُهُمْ يَوْمَ سَبْتِهِمْ شُرَّعًا وَيَوْمَ لَا يَسْبِتُونَ ۙ لَا تَأْتِيهِمْ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ نَبْلُوهُم بِمَا كَانُوا۟ يَفْسُقُونَ
Asad Quran Translation
And ask them about that town which stood by the sea: how its people would profane the Sabbath whenever their fish came to them, breaking the water's surface, on a day on which they ought to have kept Sabbath - because they would not come to them on other than Sabbath-days!129
Thus did We try them by means of their [own] iniquitous doings
Lit., "on a day when they did not keep Sabbath". Under Mosaic Law, they were obliged to refrain from all work - and, therefore, also from fishing - on Sabbath-days, with the result that the fish were more plentiful and would come closer to the shore on those days: and the inhabitants of the town took this as an excuse to break the Sabbath-law. Since the Qur'an does not mention the name of the town nor give any indication as to the historical period in which those offences were committed, it may be assumed that the story of the Sabbath-breakers (alluded to in several places in the Qur'an) is a general illustration of the tendency, so often manifested by the children of Israel, to offend against their religious laws in pursuit of their passions or for the sake of worldly gain. Although, according to the teachings of Islam, the Mosaic dispensation has since been abrogated, the Qur'an frequently points out its great role in the history of man's monotheistic beliefs, and stresses again and again its (time-bound) importance as a means of enforcing spiritual discipline on the children of Israel. Their repeated, deliberate breaches of the Mosaic Law are shown as evidence of their rebellious attitude towards that discipline and, thus, towards God's commandments in general.
Malik Quran Translation
Ask them, about the town which was situated on the sea shore, what happened when they transgressed in the matter of Sabbath. On the day of their Sabbath the fish appeared before them on the surface of the water but on the days other than their Sabbath they never came near them; thus did We tempt them because they transgressed.
Yusuf Ali Quran Translation
Ask them concerning the town standing close by the sea. Behold! they transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath. For on the day of their Sabbath their fish did come to them openly holding up their heads but on the day they had no Sabbath they came not: thus did We make a trial of them for they were given to transgression. 1137
Cf. ii. 65 and n. 79. Fishing, like every other activity, was prohibited to Israel on the Sabbath day. As this practice was usually observed, the fish used to come up with a sense of security to their water channels or pools openly on the Sabbath day, but not on other days when fishing was open. This was a great temptation to the law-breakers, which they could not resist. Some of their men of piety protested, but it had no effect. When their transgressions, which we may suppose, extended to other commandments, passed beyond bounds, the punishment came.
Mustafa Khattab Quran Translation
Ask them ˹O Prophet˺ about ˹the people of˺ the town which was by the sea, who broke the Sabbath.1
During the Sabbath, ˹abundant˺ fish would come to them clearly visible, but on other days the fish were never seen. In this way We tested them for their rebelliousness.
The people of Aylah, an ancient town by the Red Sea, were forbidden to catch fish on the Sabbath. However, on Saturdays fish were everywhere, whereas on weekdays no fish were seen. To get around the prohibition, some decided to lay their nets on Fridays and collect the fish caught in their nets on Sundays. Those opposed to this practice were divided into two groups: one group tried to convince the offenders to honour the Sabbath, but soon gave up when their advice was not taken seriously. The second group was persistent in giving advice to the Sabbath-breakers. Eventually, the Sabbath-breakers were punished whereas the other two groups were saved.
Piktal Quran Translation
Ask them (O Muhammad) of the township that was by the sea, how they did break the sabbath, how their big fish came unto them visibly upon their sabbath day and on a day when they did not keep sabbath came they not unto them. Thus did We try them for that they were evil-livers.
Waisalhum AAani alqaryati allatee kanat hadirata albahri ith yaAAdoona fee alssabti ith tateehim heetanuhum yawma sabtihim shurraAAan wayawma la yasbitoona la tateehim kathalika nabloohum bima kanoo yafsuqoona