A Warning For Those Who Desire to be Seen: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Allah says in surah Faatir:

مَن كَانَ يُرِيدُ الْعِزَّةَ فَلِلَّـهِ الْعِزَّةُ جَمِيعًا 

إِلَيْهِ يَصْعَدُ الْكَلِمُ الطَّيِّبُ وَالْعَمَلُ الصَّالِحُ يَرْفَعُهُ

وَالَّذِينَ يَمْكُرُونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ ۖ وَمَكْرُ أُولَـٰئِكَ هُوَ يَبُورُ

Whoever desires ‘izzah, then to Allah belongs all the ‘izzah

Good speech ascends to Allah and righteous action raises it

And those who plot evil will have a severe punishment, and the plots of such people will perish [Faatir 35:10]

We have already translated several articles on this ayah. See here for a brief explanation of the entire ayah from sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di, here for an explanation of the first section from sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee, and here for an explanation of the second section from the statements of the sahabah and the tabi’oon. What follows is an explanation of the last section from al-haafidh ibn Kathir:

وقوله : ( والذين يمكرون السيئات ) : قال مجاهد ، وسعيد بن جبير ، وشهر بن حوشب : هم المراءون بأعمالهم ، يعني : يمكرون بالناس ، يوهمون أنهم في طاعة الله ، وهم بغضاء إلى الله [ ص: 538 ] عز وجل ، يراءون بأعمالهم ، ( ولا يذكرون الله إلا قليلا ) [ النساء : 142 ] . وقال عبد الرحمن بن زيد بن أسلم : هم المشركون . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَالَّذِينَ يَمْكُرُونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ

And those who plot evil …

Mujahid, Sa’eed ibn Jubayr and Shahr ibn Hawshab explained this by saying, “These are the people who like for their deeds to be seen by others,” meaning: they deceive people; the people are tricked into thinking that these pretenders are working in obedience to Allah when in fact they harbor resentment towards Allah and only want for their actions to be seen by others

وَلَا يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّـهَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا

and they do not remember Allah except for only a little [al-Nisaa’ 4:142]

However ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Zayd ibn Aslam explained this ayah to be referring to the mushrikoon.

والصحيح أنها عامة ، والمشركون داخلون بطريق الأولى ، ولهذا قال : ( لهم عذاب شديد ومكر أولئك هو يبور ) ، أي : يفسد ويبطل ويظهر زيفهم عن قريب لأولي البصائر والنهى ، فإنه ما أسر عبد سريرة إلا أبداها الله على صفحات وجهه وفلتات لسانه ، وما أسر أحد سريرة إلا كساه الله رداءها ، إن خيرا فخير ، وإن شرا فشر . فالمرائي لا يروج أمره ويستمر إلا على غبي ، أما المؤمنون المتفرسون فلا يروج ذلك عليهم ، بل يكشف لهم عن قريب ، وعالم الغيب لا تخفى عليه خافية . ـ

The correct understanding is that this ayah is general and therefore the mushrikoon are of course also included in its meaning. Following from this, Allah said:

لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ ۖ وَمَكْرُ أُولَـٰئِكَ هُوَ يَبُورُ

There will be a severe punishment for them, and the plots of such people will perish.

meaning: their plots will degenerate and fail, and their falseness will soon become plain to see for anyone with insight and intellect. For whenever a person seeks to hide something away, Allah causes it to appear on the very pages of his face and chatter of his tongue. No one hides something away except that Allah clothes him in it as if it were the very shawl on his back. If it was something good, then it will appear as good; if bad then bad. The one who only desires to be seen by others will not be able to conceal his reality or maintain appearances to anyone except a fool, but he will not be able to conceal his true nature from the believers who possess insight. On the contrary, the truth will be uncovered shortly. And there is no secret that is hidden from the Knower of the unseen.

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 6/537-538]

See also: “Whoever desires ‘Izzah …”: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

See also: “Good speech ascends to Allah and righteous action raises it”: Narration-based Tafsir

See also: “To Him ascends good speech, and righteous works raise it”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

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3 thoughts on “A Warning For Those Who Desire to be Seen: Tafsir ibn Kathir

  1. Pingback: “To Him ascends good speech, and righteous works raise it”: Tafsir al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: “Whoever desires ‘Izzah …”: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: “Good speech ascends to Allah and righteous action raises it”: Narration-based Tafsir | Tulayhah

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