Wama alhayatu alddunya illa laAAibun walahwun walalddaru alakhirati khayrun lillatheena yattaqoona afala taAAqiloona
The Aya says:
And this life is nothing but play and distraction while indeed the next abode is better for those who act consciously. So why do you (plural) not contemplate?
My personal note:
The aya contrasts the terms play and distraction with the opposite of them and that is action consciously. Therefore the message becomes that our actions of this life, if not guided by Taqwa or action in consciousness of Allah, is mainly play or distraction.
The terms that were used for play is LaAAiB and this term suggests play but also it covers actions without purpose or productive outcome. The other term is LAHU and it covers any thing that distracts from what one was intending to do.
So, it is a message to act in consciousness of Allah so that our actions or at least a significant bit of them will not fall in the above two categories.
Translation of the transliterated words:
Wama: and not
Alhayatu: the life
Note: the root is Ha-Y-W and it means life or movement. The two are related since movement is a sign of life to the Arabs. Conceptually, the term can take other meanings including greetings and shyness as well according to the context. The relationship is that Arabs before Islam used to greet each other by wishing a good and long life. In here, it takes the meaning of greetings. ALHAYATU means the life.
Alddunya: the near/ the nearer/ this life
Note: the root is D-N-W and it means nearness or nearing. ALDUNYA means the near. In this case, it points to this life that we are living in as the near. ALDDUNYA is also this life that we are living. HAYATUNA ALDDUNYA is then: our this life.
Illa: if not/ except
laAAibun: playing/ non purposeful acts/ play
Note: the root is L-Ain-B and it means in concrete the saliva as well as any playing or non purposeful action. LaAAiBUN here takes the meaning of play and non purposeful action.
Walahwun: and distraction/ including distraction
Note: the WA in this context serves as a form of oath. RABBINA is derived from the root R-B-B and it means nurturing and Lordship as two components of the meaning that can be present together or one at a time according to the context of the sentence. LAHWUN is derived from the root L-H-W and it means distractions that move a person away from work or desire or others. LAHWUN means distraction in this sense because it distracts us from Allah or remembering Him.
Walalddaru: and indeed, the abode/ and indeed the house/ the realm
Note: the WA in this context serves as a form of oath. RABBINA is derived from the root R-B-B and it means nurturing and Lordship as two components of the meaning that can be present together or one at a time according to the context of the sentence. L is for emphasis. ALDDARU is derived from the root D-W-R and it means to circle around. Conceptually it can be used for a house or any entity that may have a circle around it or that surrounds an entity and so on. ALDDARU in this context means house or abode or realm
alakhirati: the next life/ the remaining
Note: ALAKHIRATI is derived from the root Hamza-KH-R and it means remaining. ALAKHIRATI means the remaining or the later. This, in turn means the later life or the life after death.
Khayrun: better/ best
Note: the root is KH-Y-R and it means choice. It is also understood as good or as better, because one would chose the good over the bad. KHAYRUN means: better or best.
Lillatheena: to those who
Yattaqoona: act consciously/ act in consciousness of Allah
Note: the root is W-Qaf-y and it means guarding or protecting. Since the best guarding is through consciousness then it means consciousness. YATTAQOON is an action that is being completed or will be completed. It means: the action of acting consciously is happening or will be happening by the subject (third person plural)
Afala: then why not?
taAAqiloona: you (plural) contemplate
Note: the root is Ain-Qaf-L and it means tying the animal so that it does not go away. This is the concrete word, but it is also used for any restraint or tying. The word is used for brain or thinking appropriately. That could be because either that one who thinks appropriately is restraining his thoughts from going astray, or that he is tying things together or both. TaAAQILOONA is an action that is being completed or will be completed and that is derived from the root. It means: the action of thinking/ contemplating appropriately or with restraint, is happening or will be happening by the subject (second person plural).
Salaam all and have a great day.