The Qur’an is a healing and mercy for the believers, but a source of loss of the wrong-doers: Imam al-Sa’di’s tafsir of 17:82-84

Allah informs us in His Book:

وَنُنَزِّلُ مِنَ الْقُرْ‌آنِ مَا هُوَ شِفَاءٌ وَرَ‌حْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۙ وَلَا يَزِيدُ الظَّالِمِينَ إِلَّا خَسَارً‌ا  وَإِذَا أَنْعَمْنَا عَلَى الْإِنسَانِ أَعْرَ‌ضَ وَنَأَىٰ بِجَانِبِهِ ۖ وَإِذَا مَسَّهُ الشَّرُّ‌ كَانَ يَئُوسًا  قُلْ كُلٌّ يَعْمَلُ عَلَىٰ شَاكِلَتِهِ فَرَ‌بُّكُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنْ هُوَ أَهْدَىٰ سَبِيلًا

“And We send down of the Qur’an that which is healing and mercy for the believers, but it does not increase the wrongdoers except in loss. And when We bestow favor upon the disbeliever, he turns away and distances himself; and when evil touches him, he is ever despairing.  Say, ‘Each one works according to his manner, but your Lord is most knowing of who is best guided in way.'” [17:82-84]

Imam al-Sa’di writes about this in his tafsir:

وقوله‏:‏  ‏(وَنُنَزِّلُ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ مَا هُوَ شِفَاءٌ وَرَحْمَةٌ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَلَا يَزِيدُ الظَّالِمِينَ إِلَّا خَسَارًا‏)  فالقرآن مشتمل على الشفاء والرحمة، وليس ذلك لكل أحد، وإنما ذلك للمؤمنين به، المصدقين بآياته، العاملين به، وأما الظالمون بعدم التصديق به أو عدم العمل به، فلا تزيدهم آياته إلا خسارًا، إذ به تقوم عليهم الحجة، فالشفاء الذي تضمنه القرآن عام لشفاء القلوب، من الشبه، والجهالة، والآراء الفاسدة، والانحراف السيئ، والقصود السيئة

Allah’s statement, “And We send down of the Qur’an that which is healing and mercy for the believers, but it does not increase the wrongdoers except in loss.” So the Qur’an is comprised of healing and mercy, but this is not for everyone. It is only for those who believe in it, and affirm its signs and act according to it. But for the wrong-doers who do not affirm it or act according to it, then it’s signs only increase them in loss. Then it is established as a hujjah (proof)  against them. So the shifa’ (healing) which the Qur’an guarantees is a general healing of the hearts from doubts, and ignorance, and corrupt opinions, and evil distortions, and bad ends.

فإنه مشتمل على العلم اليقيني، الذي تزول به كل شبهة وجهالة، والوعظ والتذكير، الذي يزول به كل شهوة تخالف أمر الله، ولشفاء الأبدان من آلامها وأسقامها‏.‏

And it is comprised of certain knowledge (‘ilm al-yaqeen) which removes every doubt and ignorance, and of preaching and remembrance which removes every desire contrary to the command of Allah, and of physical healing against pain and sickness.

وأما الرحمة، فإن ما فيه من الأسباب والوسائل التي يحث عليها، متى فعلها العبد فاز بالرحمة والسعادة الأبدية، والثواب العاجل والآجل‏.‏

And as for the mercy, then surely in the Qur’an is the means and way which urges us towards that. When the slave takes those means he has attained mercy and eternal happiness, and a reward in this life and the next.

 (‏وَإِذَا أَنْعَمْنَا عَلَى الْإِنْسَانِ أَعْرَضَ وَنَأَى بِجَانِبِهِ وَإِذَا مَسَّهُ الشَّرُّ كَانَ يَئُوسًا‏)‏ هذه طبيعة الإنسان من حيث هو، إلا من هداه الله، فإن الإنسان ـ عند إنعام الله عليه ـ يفرح بالنعم ويبطر بها، ويعرض وينأى بجانبه عن ربه، فلا يشكره ولا يذكره‏.‏

And when We bestow favor upon the disbeliever, he turns away and distances himself; and when evil touches him, he is ever despairing.” This is human nature wherever he is, except for he whom Allah has guided. For verily mankind – when Allah bestows a blessing on him – rejoices at the blessing and is wanton with it, and shows a distance from his Lord, so he neither thanks Him nor remembers Him.

‏(‏وَإِذَا مَسَّهُ الشَّرُّ)‏ كالمرض ونحوه ‏(‏كَانَ يَئُوسًا‏)‏ من الخير قد قطع ربه رجاءه، وظن أن ما هو فيه دائم أبدًا‏.‏

And when evil touches him” – such as sickness, etc. – “he is ever despairing” of goodness and he has cut off hope in his Lord, and he thinks that this situation that he is in will never end.

وأما من هداه الله فإنه ـ عند النعم ـ يخضع لربه، ويشكر نعمته، وعند الضراء يتضرع، ويرجو من الله عافيته، وإزالة ما يقع فيه، وبذلك يخف عليه البلاء‏.‏

But as for the one whom Allah has guided, then he – when Allah blesses him – humbles himself to his Lord, and is grateful for the blessing. And when he is struck by harm, he puts his hope in Allah for alleviation and removal of whatever has struck him, and that He will put a stop to this trial.

(‏قُلْ كُلٌّ يَعْمَلُ عَلَى شَاكِلَتِهِ فَرَبُّكُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنْ هُوَ أَهْدَى سَبِيلًا‏) أي‏:‏ (‏قُلْ كُلٌّ‏)‏ من الناس (‏يَعْمَلُ عَلَى شَاكِلَتِهِ‏)‏ أي‏:‏ على ما يليق به من الأحوال، إن كان من الصفوة الأبرار، لم يشاكلهم إلا عملهم لرب العالمين‏.‏ ومن كان من غيرهم من المخذولين، لم يناسبهم إلا العمل للمخلوقين، ولم يوافقهم إلا ما وافق أغراضهم‏.‏

Say, ‘Each one works according to his manner, but your Lord is most knowing of who is best guided in way.’” “Say, ‘each one” – of mankind- “works according to his manner” – meaning of what befits him of his condition. If he has the essence of righteousness, then his manner is none other than working for the Lord of all creation. And if he has an essence other than that, then he is one of those who will be met with disappointment, and nothing befits him except the actions of those who will meet with disappointment, and he only serves his own interests.

‏(‏فَرَبُّكُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنْ هُوَ أَهْدَى سَبِيلًا)‏ فيعلم من يصلح للهداية، فيهديه ومن لا يصلح لها فيخذله ولا يهديه‏.‏

But your Lord is most knowing of who is best guided in way” – He knows whom is fit for guidance, so He guides him, and He knows who is not fit for guidance, so He forsakes him and does not guide him.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman, p. 465]

See also: The Two Types of those who Believe in the Qur’an: Imam al-Sa’di

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2 thoughts on “The Qur’an is a healing and mercy for the believers, but a source of loss of the wrong-doers: Imam al-Sa’di’s tafsir of 17:82-84

  1. Pingback: The supplications of four prophets for or against their people: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: The Two Types of those who Believe in the Qur’an: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

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