Had We intended to take a diversion

And We did not create the heaven and earth and that between them in play.

Had We intended to take a diversion, We could have taken it from [what is] with Us – if [indeed] We were to do so.

[Qur’aan 21:16-17]

 

al-Tabari writes

يقول تعالى ذكره: لو أردنا أن نتخذ زوجة وولدا لاتخذنا ذلك من عندنا، ولكنا لا نفعل ذلك، ولا يصلح لنا فعله ولا ينبغي، لأنه لا ينبغي أن يكون لله ولد ولا صاحبة

He, the exalted, says: Had We intended to take a wife or children we would have taken them from what is with Us but We did not do that and it is not correct or befitting for Us to do it because it is not befitting for Allaah to have any son or any companion.

 

واللهو بلغة أهل اليمن: المرأة

The word translated as "diversion" in the above Verse is al-lahw. According to the dialect of some of the people of al-yaman it means a woman.

 

وقوله ( إِنْ كُنَّا فَاعِلِينَ ) حدثنا ابن عبد الأعلى، قال: ثنا ابن ثور، عن معمر، عن قَتادة، قوله ( إِنْ كُنَّا فَاعِلِينَ ) يقول: ما كنا فاعلين

What is interesting to note is that in the above translation of Sahih International the word 'in [إِنْ] has been translated as if. It can mean if or be used as a particle of negation. al-Tabari notes in his Tafsir that Qadaadah was of the opinion that this portion of the Verse reads We did not do so, meaning that Qadaadah read the word ‘in [إِنْ] as a particle of negation.

 

Reference(s):

Tafsir al-Tabari Online Version to relevant Tafsir