18 Preface قالوا إِنّا تَطَيَّرنا بِكُم ۖ لَئِن لَم تَنتَهوا لَنَرجُمَنَّكُم وَلَيَمَسَّنَّكُم مِنّا عَذابٌ أَليمٌYusuf AliThe (people) said: “for us, we augur an evil omen1 from you: if ye desist not, we will certainly stone you. And a grievous punishment indeed will be inflicted on you by us.”Ta'ir means a bird. Like the Roman augurs, the Arabs had a superstition about deriving omens from birds. Cf. the English word auspcious, from the Latin avis, a bird, and specie, I see. From Ta'ir (bird) came tatayyara, or ittayyara, to draw evil omens. Because the prophets of God denounced evil, the evildoers thought that they brought ill-luck to them. As a matter of fact any evil that happened to them was the result of their own ill-deeds. Cf. 17:13, where the Egyptians ascribed their calamities to the ill-luck brought by Moses: and 27:47, where Thamūd ascribed ill-luck to the preaching of Ṣālih.