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Sura 11
Aya 116
فَلَولا كانَ مِنَ القُرونِ مِن قَبلِكُم أُولو بَقِيَّةٍ يَنهَونَ عَنِ الفَسادِ فِي الأَرضِ إِلّا قَليلًا مِمَّن أَنجَينا مِنهُم ۗ وَاتَّبَعَ الَّذينَ ظَلَموا ما أُترِفوا فيهِ وَكانوا مُجرِمينَ

Yusuf Ali

Why were there not, among the generations before you, persons possessed of balanced1 good sense, prohibiting (men) from mischief in the earth - except a few among them whom We saved (from harm)?2 But the wrong-doers pursued the enjoyment of the good things of life which were given them, and persisted in sin.
  • Baqiyah: some virtue or faculty that stands assault and is lasting; balanced good sense that stands firm to virtue and is not dazzled by the lusts and pleasures of this world, and is not deterred by fear from boldly condemning wrong if it was fashionable or customary. It is leaders possessed of such character that can save a nation from disaster or perdition. The scarcity of such leaders-and the rejection of the few who stood out-brought ruin among the nations whose example has already been set out to us as a warning. In 11:86 the word has a more literal meaning.
  • The exceptional men of firm virtue would have been destroyed by the wicked to whom they were an offence, had they not been saved by the Grace and Mercy of God. Or perhaps, but for such grace, they might themselves have succumbed to the evil around them, or been overwhelmed in the general calamity.