وَإِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ ءَايَـٰتُنَا قَالُوا۟ قَدْ سَمِعْنَا لَوْ نَشَآءُ لَقُلْنَا مِثْلَ هَـٰذَآ ۙ إِنْ هَـٰذَآ إِلَّآ أَسَـٰطِيرُ ٱلْأَوَّلِينَ
Asad Quran Translation
And whenever Our messages were conveyed to them, they would say, "We have heard [all this] before; if we wanted, we could certainly compose sayings like these [ourselves]: they are nothing but fables of ancient times!"31
Cf. 6:25 . As regards the expression la-qulna - here rendered as "we could certainly [ourselves] compose" - it is to be remembered that the verb qala does not always signify only "he said", but also "he asserted" or "expressed an opinion", as well as - in connection with a literary production - "he composed": thus, qala shi'r means "he composed a poem". In the above context, this expression alludes to the oft-repeated (but never fulfilled) boast of the pagan Quraysh that they could produce a poetic message comparable in merit to that of the Qur'an; in its wider sense, it is an allusion to the attitude of many unbelievers towards revealed scriptures in general.
Malik Quran Translation
Whenever Our revelations are recited to them they say: "Well, we have heard this. If we wanted we could fabricate the like. These are nothing but the tales of the ancients."
Yusuf Ali Quran Translation
When Our signs are rehearsed to them they say: "we have heard this (before): if we wished we could say (words) like these: these are nothing but tales of the ancients." 1204
Cf. vi. 25.
Mustafa Khattab Quran Translation
Whenever Our revelations are recited to them, they challenge ˹you˺, “We have already heard ˹the recitation˺. If we wanted, we could have easily produced something similar. This ˹Quran˺ is nothing but ancient fables!”
Piktal Quran Translation
And when Our revelations are recited unto them they say: We have heard. If we wish we can speak the like of this. Lo! this is naught but fables of the men of old.
Waitha tutla AAalayhim ayatuna qaloo qad samiAAna law nashao laqulna mithla hatha in hatha illa asateeru alawwaleena