Two Kinds of People and How to Deal with Them: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Allah issues the following command in surah al-A’raaf:

خُذِ الْعَفْوَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْعُرْفِ وَأَعْرِضْ عَنِ الْجَاهِلِينَ

Take what is given freely, command the good, and turn away from the ignorant. [7:199]

In part of his tafsir of this ayah, al-haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir mentioned:

وقال بعض العلماء : الناس رجلان : فرجل محسن ، فخذ ما عفا لك من إحسانه ، ولا تكلفه فوق طاقته ولا ما يحرجه . وإما مسيء ، فمره بالمعروف ، فإن تمادى على ضلاله ، واستعصى عليك ، واستمر في جهله ، فأعرض عنه ، فلعل ذلك أن يرد كيده ، كما قال تعالى : ( ادفع بالتي هي أحسن السيئة نحن أعلم بما يصفون وقل رب أعوذ بك من همزات الشياطين وأعوذ بك رب أن يحضرون ) [ المؤمنون : 96 – 98 ]ـ

One of the scholars said:

There are two kinds of people: 1) The first is a good person. Accept the good behavior that he freely shows to you and don’t charge him with anything above his ability or make things difficult for him.

As for 2) the bad person, then enjoin him to do good, but if he continues in his misguided ways and is unresponsive to your attempts, instead persisting in his ignorant behavior, then turn away from him. Perhaps that will foil his schemes, as Allah said:

ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ السَّيِّئَةَ ۚ نَحْنُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يَصِفُونَ * وَقُل رَّبِّ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ هَمَزَاتِ الشَّيَاطِينِ * وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ رَبِّ أَن يَحْضُرُونِ

Repel evil with that which is better. We know what they utter. * And say, “Lord, I seek refuge in You from the whisperings of the shayaatin. * And I seek refuge in You, Lord, lest they be present with me.” [23:96-98]

ـ [ ص: 533 ] وقال تعالى : ( ولا تستوي الحسنة ولا السيئة ادفع بالتي هي أحسن فإذا الذي بينك وبينه عداوة كأنه ولي حميم وما يلقاها ) أي هذه الوصية ( إلا الذين صبروا وما يلقاها إلا ذو حظ عظيم وإما ينزغنك من الشيطان نزغ فاستعذ بالله إنه هو السميع العليم ) [ فصلت : 34 – 36 ] وقال في هذه السورة الكريمة أيضا : ( وإما ينزغنك من الشيطان نزغ فاستعذ بالله إنه سميع عليم ) فهذه الآيات الثلاث في ” الأعراف ” و ” المؤمنون ” و ” حم السجدة ” ، لا رابع لهن ، فإنه تعالى يرشد فيهن إلى معاملة العاصي من الإنس بالمعروف والتي هي أحسن ، فإن ذلك يكفه عما هو فيه من التمرد بإذنه تعالى ; ولهذا قال : ( فإذا الذي بينك وبينه عداوة كأنه ولي حميم ) ثم يرشد تعالى إلى الاستعاذة به من شيطان الجان ، فإنه لا يكفه عنك الإحسان ، وإنما يريد هلاكك ودمارك بالكلية ، فإنه عدو مبين لك ولأبيك منقبلك . ـ

And He said:

وَلَا تَسْتَوِي الْحَسَنَةُ وَلَا السَّيِّئَةُ ۚ ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ * وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا

Good and evil are not equal. Repel with that which is better, and then the one with whom you had enmity will become like a devoted friend. * But none is granted that …

i.e. granted the ability to put this command into practice

إِلَّا الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا ذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ * وَإِمَّا يَنزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّـهِ ۖ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

… except for those who are steadfastly patient, and none is granted that except those greatly blessed. * And if a shaytaan comes to you with a suggestion, seek refuge in Allah. He is certainly the All-Hearing, All-Knowing. [41:34-36]

And He also said in this very same surah:

وَإِمَّا يَنزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّـهِ ۚ إِنَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

And if a shaytaan comes to you with a suggestion, seek refuge in Allah. He is certainly the All-Hearing, All-Knowing. [7:200]

So these three ayaat in surahs al-A’raaf, al-Mu’minoon, and Ha Meem Sajdah sufficiently convey this message, for in them Allah guides us to deal with sinful human beings with good behavior and in the best ways. That is sufficient to protect one from their harm, Allah-willing. That is why Allah said:

فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ

 then the one with whom you had enmity will become like a devoted friend.

Then Allah guides us to seek refuge in Him from the shayaatin of Jinn. Good treatment towards them will not be effective against them, for their only want is to completely ruin and destroy you. The Shaytaan is an unmistakable enemy to you and to your father before you.

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 3/532-533]

See also: Dealing with the human shayaateen and the jinn shayaateen: Imam al-Shinqitee

See also: Three Levels of Responding to People’s Harms: Tafsir al-Sa’di

One thought on “Two Kinds of People and How to Deal with Them: Tafsir ibn Kathir

  1. Pingback: Dealing with the human shayaateen and the jinn shayaateen: Imam al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

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