And even if they see all the signs, they will not believe in them: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

Allah says in His Book in surah al-A’araaf:

سَأَصْرِ‌فُ عَنْ آيَاتِيَ الَّذِينَ يَتَكَبَّرُ‌ونَ فِي الْأَرْ‌ضِ بِغَيْرِ‌ الْحَقِّ وَإِن يَرَ‌وْا كُلَّ آيَةٍ لَّا يُؤْمِنُوا بِهَا وَإِن يَرَ‌وْا سَبِيلَ الرُّ‌شْدِ لَا يَتَّخِذُوهُ سَبِيلًا وَإِن يَرَ‌وْا سَبِيلَ الْغَيِّ يَتَّخِذُوهُ سَبِيلًا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا وَكَانُوا عَنْهَا غَافِلِينَ

I shall turn away from My ayaat those who behave arrogantly on the earth, without a right, and (even) if they see all the ayaat, they will not believe in them. And if they see the way of righteousness, they will not adopt it as the Way, but if they see the way of error, they will adopt that way. That is because they have rejected Our ayaat and were heedless of them. [7:146]

Imam al-Qurtubi, in his book of tafsir, writes:

قوله تعالى‏{‏سأصرف عن آياتي الذين يتكبرون في الأرض بغير الحق‏}‏ قال قتادة‏:‏ سأمنعهم فهم كتابي‏.‏ وقاله سفيان بن عيينة‏.‏ وقيل‏:‏ سأصرفهم عن الإيمان بها‏.‏ وقيل‏:‏ سأصرفهم عن نفعها؛ وذلك مجازاة على تكبرهم‏.‏ نظيره‏{‏فلما زاغوا أزاغ الله قلوبهم‏}[‏الصف‏:‏ 5‏]‏‏.‏ والآيات على هذا المعجزات أو الكتب المنزلة‏.‏ وقيل‏:‏ خلق السماوات والأرض‏.‏ أي أصرفهم عن الاعتبار بها‏.‏ ‏{‏يتكبرون‏}‏ يرون أنهم أفضل الخلق‏.‏ وهذا ظن باطل؛ فلهذا قال‏{‏بغير الحق‏}‏ فلا يتبعون نبيا ولا يصغون إليه لتكبرهم‏.‏

Regarding Allah’s statement:

سَأَصْرِ‌فُ عَنْ آيَاتِيَ الَّذِينَ يَتَكَبَّرُ‌ونَ فِي الْأَرْ‌ضِ بِغَيْرِ‌ الْحَقِّ

I shall turn away from My ayaat those who behave arrogantly on the earth, without a right

Qataadah said [it means], “I will prohibit them from understanding My Book,” and Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah also said that. And it is said, “I will turn away belief in it from them.” And it is said, “I will turn away its benefit from them.” And that is the recompense for their prideful arrogance. This is paralleled in surah al-Saff:

فَلَمَّا زَاغُوا أَزَاغَ اللَّـهُ قُلُوبَهُمْ

And when they deviated, Allah caused their hearts to deviate [61:5]

According to these interpretations, the word ayaat takes the meaning of miracles or revealed books. But it is also said that ayaat is referring to the creation of the heavens and the earth – meaning that He will turn them away from considering them.

يَتَكَبَّرُ‌ونَ

Behave arrogantly

i.e. considering themselves to be the best of creation. And this is false thinking. And about this He said:

بِغَيْرِ‌ الْحَقِّ

without right

so they do not follow the Prophet nor do they listen to him because of their arrogant pride.

قوله تعالى‏{‏وإن يروا كل آية لا يؤمنوا بها وإن يروا سبيل الرشد لا يتخذوه سبيلا وإن يروا سبيل الغي يتخذوه سبيلا‏}‏ يعني هؤلاء المتكبرون‏.‏ أخبر عنهم أنهم يتركون طريق الرشاد ويتبعون سبيل الغي والضلال؛ أي الكفر يتخذونه دينا‏.‏ {‏ثم علل فقال‏{‏ذلك بأنهم كذبوا بآياتنا‏}‏ أي ذلك الفعل الذي فعلته بهم بتكذيبهم‏.‏ {‏وكانوا عنها غافلين‏}‏ أي كانوا في تركهم تدبر الحق كالغافلين‏.‏ ويحتمل أن يكونوا غافلين عما يجازون به

Allah’s statement:

وَإِن يَرَ‌وْا كُلَّ آيَةٍ لَّا يُؤْمِنُوا بِهَا وَإِن يَرَ‌وْا سَبِيلَ الرُّ‌شْدِ لَا يَتَّخِذُوهُ سَبِيلًا وَإِن يَرَ‌وْا سَبِيلَ الْغَيِّ يَتَّخِذُوهُ سَبِيلًا ۚ

and (even) if they see all the ayaat, they will not believe in them. And if they see the way of righteousness, they will not adopt it as the Way, but if they see the way of error, they will adopt that way

this is referring to the arrogant prideful ones. This informs us that they abandon the path of right guidance and follow the way of error and misguidance – meaning al-kufr – and they take that is religion. Therefore He said:

ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا

that is because they have rejected Our ayaat

meaning they do the actions which they do because of their denial.

وَكَانُوا عَنْهَا غَافِلِينَ

and [because] they were heedless of them

meaning they abandoned contemplating the truth just like the heedless ones. And being heedless ones carries with it the recompense of the heedless ones.

[Jaami’a li-Ahkaam al-Qur’an 7/225-226]

See also: “We guided them, but they preferred blindness over guidance”

See also: The Quraish’s Demand for a Sign: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

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2 thoughts on “And even if they see all the signs, they will not believe in them: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

  1. Pingback: Appropriate Miracles for Each People and Era: Ibn Kathir | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: The Quraish’s Demand for a Sign: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

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