“Do not Follow that of which you have no Knowledge”: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

In surah al-Israa – also sometimes referred to as surah Bani Israa’eel -, Allah commands:

وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ ۚ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَـٰئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا

And do not follow that of which you have no knowledge. Certainly the hearing, and the sight, and the heart of each of those you will be questioned. [17:36]

The scholars of tafsir have differed regarding the meaning of this command. Ibn al-Jawzi summarized the different opinions in his book of tafsir by writing:

وللمفسرين في المراد به أربعة أقوال : ـ
أحدها: لا ترم أحدا بما ليس لك به علم، رواه العوفي عن ابن عباس .ـ
والثاني: لا تقل: رأيت، ولم تر، ولا سمعت، ولم تسمع، رواه عثمان بن عطاء، عن أبيه، عن ابن عباس، وبه قال قتادة .ـ
والثالث: لا تشرك بالله شيئا، رواه عطاء أيضا عن ابن عباس .ـ
والرابع: لا تشهد بالزور، قاله محمد بن الحنفية .ـ

There were four different opinions among the mufassiroon as to the intended meaning of this phrase:

1) Do not levy accusations of which you do not have knowledge against anyone. al-‘Awfi transmitted this from ibn ‘Abbaas.

2) Do not say, “I saw such-and-such” when you did not see it, nor say “I heard such-and-such” when you did not hear it. ‘Uthman ibn ‘Ataa’ transmitted this from his father from ibn ‘Abbaas, and Qataadah also mentioned this.

3) Do not associate any partners with Allah. ‘Ataa also narrated this from ibn ‘Abbaas.

4) Do not bear false witness. And this is what Muhammad ibn Haneefiyyah said.

[Zad al-Maseer 5/36]

Imam ibn Jarir al-Tabari also mentioned these different positions in his own tafsir along with their chains of narration. He then concluded with the following reconciliation of those opinions by writing: Continue reading

“Are you recompensed except for what you used to do?”: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote the following in his tafsir of surah al-Naml:

قوله تعالى : ومن جاء بالسيئة فكبت وجوههم في النار هل تجزون إلا ما كنتم تعملون . قال ابن كثير – رحمه الله – في تفسير هذه الآية : وقال ابن مسعود ، وابن عباس ، وأبو هريرة ، وأنس بن مالك – رضي الله عنهم – وعطاء ، وسعيد بن جبير ، وعكرمة ، ومجاهد ، وإبراهيم النخعي ، وأبو وائل ، وأبو صالح ، ومحمد بن كعب ، وزيد بن أسلم ، والزهري ، والسدي ، والضحاك ، والحسن ، وقتادة ، وابن زيد ، في قوله تعالى : ومن جاء بالسيئة ، يعني الشرك . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَمَن جَاءَ بِالسَّيِّئَةِ فَكُبَّتْ وُجُوهُهُمْ فِي النَّارِ‌ هَلْ تُجْزَوْنَ إِلَّا مَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ

And whoever comes with an evil deed – their faces will be overturned into the Fire, [and it will be said], “Are you recompensed except for what you used to do?” [27:90]

Ibn Kathir (may Allah have mercy on him) said in his tafsir of this ayah:

Ibn Mas’ood, ibn ‘Abbaas, Abu Hurayrah, Anas ibn Maalik (may Allah be pleased with all of them), as well as ‘Ataa’, Sa’eed ibn Jubayr, ‘Ikrimah, Mujaahid, Ibrahim al-Naka’ee, Abu Waa’il, Abu Saalih, Muhammad ibn K’ab, Zayd ibn Aslam, al-Zuhri, al-Suddi, al-Dhihhaak, al-Hasan, Qataadah, and ibn Zayd all said regarding Allah’s statement, “And whoever comes with an evil deed” – meaning: al-shirk.

وهذه الآية الكريمة تضمنت أمرين : ـ

And this noble ayah includes two issues:

الأول : أن من جاء ربه يوم القيامة بالسيئة كالشرك يكب وجهه في النار . ـ

First: That whoever comes to his Lord of the Day of Judgement with an evil deed such as al-shirk then he will be cast down on his face into the Hell-fire.

والثاني : أن السيئة إنما تجزى بمثلها من غير زيادة ، وهذان الأمران جاءا موضحين في غير هذا الموضع ; كقوله تعالى في الأول منهما : إنه من يأت ربه مجرما فإن له جهنم لا يموت فيها ولا يحيا [ 20 \ 74 ] ، وكقوله تعالى في الثاني منهما : ومن جاء بالسيئة فلا يجزى إلا مثلها الآية [ 6 \ 160 ] ، وقوله تعالى : ومن جاء بالسيئة فلا يجزى الذين عملوا السيئات إلا ما كانوا يعملون [ 28 \ 84 ] ، وقوله تعالى : جزاء وفاقا [ 78 \ 26 ] . ـ

Second: That evil deeds are repaid with an equal amount without any addition.

These two issues come clearly in many places in the Qur’an, such as Allah’s statement regarding the first of these two points: Continue reading

Whoever is guided or errs, it is only for or against himself: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote in one portion of his book of tafsir:

قوله تعالى من اهتدى فإنما يهتدي لنفسه ومن ضل فإنما يضل عليها ، ذكر جل وعلا في هذه الآية الكريمة : أن من اهتدى فعمل بما يرضي الله جل وعلا ، أن اهتداءه ذلك إنما هو لنفسه ، لأنه هو الذي ترجع إليه فائدة ذلك الاهتداء ، وثمرته في الدنيا والآخرة ، وأن من ضل عن طريق الصواب فعمل بما يسخط ربه جل وعلا ، أن ضلاله ذلك إنما هو على نفسه ، لأنه هو الذي يجني ثمرة عواقبه السيئة الوخيمة ، فيخلد به في النار . ـ

Allah’s statement:

مَّنِ اهْتَدَىٰ فَإِنَّمَا يَهْتَدِي لِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَن ضَلَّ فَإِنَّمَا يَضِلُّ عَلَيْهَا

Whoever is guided is only guided for [the benefit of] his soul. And whoever errs only errs against it. [17:15]

Allah mentioned in this noble ayah that whoever is guided and therefore acts according to that with which Allah is pleased, then his guidance to that is only for the sake of his own self, because it is to him that the benefits and fruits of that return both in this worldly life and in the hereafter. And that whoever errs from the correct path and therefore acts according that with which Allah is displeased, that his misguidance is only against his own self, because it is to him that the outcomes of the punishment of grave misdeeds is accrued, so he will dwell eternally in the Hell-fire.

وبين هذا المعنى في مواضع كثيرة ، كقوله : من عمل صالحا فلنفسه ومن أساء فعليها الآية [ 41 \ 46 ] ، وقوله : من كفر فعليه كفره ومن عمل صالحا فلأنفسهم يمهدون [ 30 \ 44 ] ، وقوله : قد جاءكم بصائر من ربكم فمن أبصر فلنفسه ومن عمي فعليها وما أنا عليكم بحفيظ [ 6 \ 104 ] ، وقوله : فمن اهتدى فإنما يهتدي لنفسه ومن ضل فإنما يضل عليها وما أنا عليكم بوكيل [ 10 \ 108 ] ، [ ص: 64 ] والآيات بمثل هذا كثيرة جدا ، وقد قدمنا طرفا منها في سورة ” النحل ” . ـ

And He explained this meaning in many places, such as His statement: Continue reading

The Nine Signs given to Moosaa: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

In his tafsir of surah al-Israa, Imam Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote:

قوله تعالى : ولقد آتينا موسى تسع آيات بينات

Allah’s statement:

وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا مُوسَىٰ تِسْعَ آيَاتٍ بَيِّنَاتٍ

“And We had certainly given Moosaa nine clear signs” [17:101]

الآية . قال بعض أهل العلم : هذه الآيات التسع ، هي : العصا ، واليد ، والسنون ، والبحر ، والطوفان ، والجراد ، والقمل ، والضفادع ، والدم ، آيات مفصلات . ـ

Some of the people of knowledge said: these nine signs are the staff, the hand, famine, the sea, flooding, locusts, lice, frogs and blood as clear signs.

وقد بين جل وعلا هذه الآيات في مواضع أخر ; كقوله : فألقى عصاه فإذا هي ثعبان مبين ونزع يده فإذا هي بيضاء للناظرين [ 7 \ 107 – 108 ] ، وقوله : ولقد أخذنا آل فرعون بالسنين ونقص من الثمرات الآية [ 7 \ 130 ] ، وقوله : فأوحينا إلى موسى أن اضرب بعصاك البحر فانفلق فكان كل فرق كالطود العظيم [ 26 \ 63 ] وقوله : فأرسلنا عليهم الطوفان والجراد والقمل والضفادع والدم آيات مفصلات [ 7 \ 133 ] إلى غير ذلك من الآيات المبينة لما ذكرنا ، وجعل بعضهم الجبل بدل ” السنين ” وعليه فقد بين ذلك قوله تعالى : وإذ نتقنا الجبل فوقهم كأنه ظلة [ 7 \ 117 ] ، ونحوها من الآيات . ـ

And Allah has clarified these signs in other places, such as His statement: Continue reading

The command to treat parents with ihsaan: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Allah says in surah al-Israa’:

وَقَضَىٰ رَ‌بُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا ۚ إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِندَكَ الْكِبَرَ‌ أَحَدُهُمَا أَوْ كِلَاهُمَا فَلَا تَقُل لَّهُمَا أُفٍّ وَلَا تَنْهَرْ‌هُمَا وَقُل لَّهُمَا قَوْلًا كَرِ‌يمًا

And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word. [17:23]

Commenting on this ayah, Imam al-Shinqitee wrote the following:

قوله تعالى : وَقَضَى رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا

Allah’s statement, “And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment“.

 أمر جل وعلا في هذه الآية الكريمة بإخلاص العبادة له وحده ، وقرن بذلك الأمر بالإحسان إلى الوالدين . ـ

In this noble ayah, He commanded them with sincerity of worship towards Him alone. And He paired that with the command to have excellent treatments towards parents.

وجعله بر الوالدين مقرونا بعبادته وحده جل وعلا المذكور هنا ذكره في آيات أخر ; كقوله في سورة ” النساء ” : واعبدوا الله ولا تشركوا به شيئا وبالوالدين إحسانا الآية [ 4 \ 36 ] ، وقوله في البقرة : وإذ أخذنا ميثاق بني إسرائيل لا تعبدون إلا الله وبالوالدين إحسانا الآية [ 2 \ 83 ] ، وقوله في سورة لقمان : أن اشكر لي ولوالديك إلي المصير [ 31 \ 14 ] ، ـ

He made mention of Birr al-Waalidayn (good treatment towards parents) paired with worshiping Him alone both here and in other ayaat, such as His statement in surah al-Nisaa’, Continue reading

The two blindnesses and deafnesses of Banu Israa’eel: Imam al-Shinqitee

Allah describes the Ahl al-Kitaab in surah al-Maa’idah by saying:

وَحَسِبُوا أَلَّا تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ فَعَمُوا وَصَمُّوا ثُمَّ تَابَ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْهِمْ ثُمَّ عَمُوا وَصَمُّوا كَثِيرٌ‌ مِّنْهُمْ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ بَصِيرٌ‌ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ

“And they thought there would be no [resulting] punishment, so they became blind and deaf. Then Allah turned to them in forgiveness; then [again] many of them became blind and deaf. And Allah is Seeing of what they do.”

[al-Qur’an 5:71]

The mufassiroon brought forth different explanations for the significance of the sequence of events in this ayah and what specifically is being referenced here. Imam al-Shinqitee insightfully indicated that this is further explained by the ayaat at the beginning of surah al-Israa’. He wrote: Continue reading

What Allah has told us in His Book is sufficient: Ibn Kathir

The tafsir of ibn Kathir has been widely praised for it’s upright methodology and adherence to authentic statements in explaining the Speech of Allah. In the midst of discussing some of the ayaat at the beginning of surah al-Isra, specifically those that mention the Banu Israa’eel‘s defeat in previous times by an unidentified enemy, Ibn Kathir begins by presenting the differing views of the mufassiroon on this enemy’s identity, and then he makes the following point:

وقد وردت في هذا آثار كثيرة إسرائيلية لم أر تطويل الكتاب بذكرها؛ لأن منها ما هو موضوع، من وضع بعض زنادقتهم، ومنها ما قد يحتمل أن يكون صحيحًا، ونحن في غُنْيَة عنها، ولله الحمد. وفيما قص الله تعالى علينا في كتابه غنية عما سواه من بقية الكتب قبله، ولم يحوجنا الله ولا رسوله إليهم. وقد أخبر الله تعالى أنهم لما بغوا وطغوا سلط الله عليهم عدوهم، فاستباح بَيْضَتَهم، وسلك خلال بيوتهم وأذلهم وقهرهم، جزاء وفاقًا، وما ربك بظلام للعبيد؛ فإنهم كانوا قد تمردوا وقتلوا خلقا من الأنبياء والعلماء.

Many reports from Jewish sources were narrated about this, but I did not want to make this book too long by mentioning them, because some of them are fabricated, concocted by their heretics, and it is possible that some of them are accurate, but we have no need of them, alhamdulillaah. What Allah the Exalted has told us in His Book  is sufficient and we have no need of what is in the other books that came before. And neither Allah nor His Messenger required us to refer to them. Allah informed us that when they [the Banu Israa’eel] committed transgression and aggression, Allah gave their enemies power over them, to destroy their country and enter the innermost parts of their homes, and to humiliate them and subject; a befitting punishment. And your Lord is never unfair or unjust to His servants, for they had rebelled and killed many of the Prophets and scholars.

  [Tafsir ibn Kathir 5/47]

See also: The two blindnessess and deafnesses of Banu Israa’eel: Imam al-Shinqitee

See also: The condition of the Europeans at the end of time

A definition and brief history of Masjid al-Aqsa: Ibn Taymiyah

Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah offers a clarification on the definition of Masjid al-Aqsa and a short history in his brief  work entitled Ziyaarah Bait al-Maqdis. In it he writes:

فالمسجد الأقصى اسم لجميع المسجد الذي بناه سليمان عليه السلام, وقد صار بعض الناس يسمي الأقصى؛ المصلى الذي بناه عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه مقدمه، والصلاة في هذا المصلى بناه عمر للمسلمين أفضل من الصلاة في سائر المسجد، فان عمر بن الخطاب لما فتح بيت المقدس وكان على الصخرة زبالة عظيمة، لأن النصارى كانوا يقصدون إهانتها مقابلة لليهود الذين يصلون إليها، فأمر عمر رضي الله عنه بازالة النجاسة عنها، وقال لكعب الأحبار أين ترى أن نبني مصلى للمسلمين؟ فقال خلف الصخرة . فقال يا ابن اليهودية خالطتك اليهودية، بل أبنيه أمامها فإنّ لنا صدور المساجد ،

So al-Masjid al-Aqsa is the name for the whole of the place of worship which was built by Sulayman (‘alaihis salaam). Some people started to give the name of ‘al-Aqsa’ – ‘the farthest’ – to the prayer-place which was built by ʿUmar Ibn Al-Khattaab (radiAllaahu ‘anhu) in front of it. Praying in this prayer-place which ʿUmar built for the Muslims is better than praying in the rest of the mosque, because when ʿUmar conquered Jerusalem there was a huge garbage dump on the rock, since the Christians wanted to show their scorn for the place towards which the Jews used to pray. So ʿUmar issued orders that the filth be removed and he said to Kaʾb [al-Ahbar], ‘Where do you think we should build a place of prayer for the Muslims?’ He said, ‘Behind the Rock.’ So he replied, ‘You son of a Jewish woman! Are you influenced by your Jewish ideas! Rather I will build it in front of it.’*

ولهذا كان أئمة الامة اذا دخلوا المسجد قصدوا الصلاة في المصلى الذي بناه عمر، وقد ورى عن عمر رضي الله عنه أنه صلى في محراب داود، وأما الصخرة فلم يصلي عندها عمر رضي الله عنه ولا الصحابة, ولا كان على عهد الخلف الراشدين عليها قبة، بل كانت مكشوفة في خلافة عمر، وعثمان، وعلي، ومعاوية، ويزيد، ومروان، ولكن لما تول  ابنه عبد الملك الشام ووقع بينه وبين ابن الزبير الفتنة، كان الناس يحجون فيجمعون بابن الزبير، فأراد عبد الملك أن يصرف الناس عن ابن الزبير، فبنى القبة على الصخرة وكساها في الشتاء والصيف ليرغب الناس في زيارة بيت المقدس، ويشتغلوا بذلك عن اجتماعهم بابن الزبير،

Hence when the Imaams of this Ummah entered the Masjid, they would go and pray in the prayer-place that was built by ʿUmar. And it is narrated from ‘Umar that he prayed in the mihrab of Dawood. With regard to the Rock, neither ʿUmar nor any of the Sahaabah prayed there, and there was no dome over it during the time of the Khulafaa’ al-Raashideen (Rightly-Guided Caliphs). It was open to the sky during the Khilaafah of ʿUmar, ʿUthmaan, ʿAli, Muʿaawiyah, Yazeed and Marwaan. But when it came to his son, ‘Abd al-Malik al-Shaam, and the fitnah occurred between him and ibn al-Zubair, the people were making Hajj and joining ibn al-Zubair [who controlled the city of Mecca at that time], so ‘Abd al-Malik wanted to distract the people from ibn al-Zubair, so he built a dome on top of the Rock and covered it in the winter and in the summer in order to encourage people to visit Jerusalem, and so he kept them occupied from joining ibn al-Zubair.

واما اهل العلم من الصحابة والتابعين لهم بإحسان، فلم يكونوا يعظمون الصخرة فانها قبلة المنسوخة، كما ان يوم السبت . كان عيداً في شريعة موسى عليه السلام، ثم نسخ في شريعة محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم بيوم الجمعة، فليس للمسلمين أن يخصوا يوم السبت ويوم الأحد بعبادة، كما تفعل اليهود والنصارى، وكذلك الصخرة إنما يعظمها اليهود و بعض النصارى

And as for the scholars among the Sahaabah and those who followed them in truth, they did not venerate the Rock because it was an abrogated Qiblah, just as is the case with Saturday. It [i.e. Saturday] was an ‘eid in the sharee’ah of Moosaa (‘alaihis salaam), then it was abrogated in the sharee’ah of Muhammad (salaAllahu ‘alaihi was-salaam) with Friday. And it is not appropriate for the Muslims to single out Saturday or Sunday for worship as the Jews and Christians do. Similarly with the Rock; it was only venerated by the Jews and some of the Christians.

[Majmoo’a al-Rasaa’il al-Kubraa 2/61]

Translator’s notes:

* Ka’b al-Ahbar was one of the Jewish Rabbis who had become a Muslim. ‘Umar rebuked him because his suggestion to build the prayer-place behind (i.e. on the north side of )the Rock would mean that when they congregation would prayer, they would have to pray directly towards the abrogated qibla of the Rock in order to also face the ordained qibla of the Ka’aba. ‘Umar wanted there to be no confusion, so he built the prayer-place to the south of the Rock.

Here is a diagram of Masjid al-Aqsa:

aqsa 1

-And according to ibn Taymiyyah’s description, Masjid al-Aqsa is all of what is contained within the black box, including Dome of the Rock and the prayer-place built by ‘Umar. This was previously the site of the temple built by the Prophet Sulayman, which was later demolished (see Qur’an 17:7), then rebuilt during the time of ‘Uzayr, then demolished again a few decades after Allah raised ‘Eesaa up to Himself. It has never been rebuilt however the site remains an honored place and the place to which Allah brought His Prophet on the night of al-Israa’ w’al-Mi’raaj, even though there was neither the Dome of the Rock nor the prayer-place of ‘Umar at that time.

-The golden dome in the center is the Dome of the Rock, built by ‘Abd al-Malik during his Khilaafah (65-86 a.h./685-705 c.e.)

-The building on the southern end  is the prayer-place built by ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab, known as Jaami’a al-Qibli and sometimes referred to as Masjid al-Aqsa itself, although the definition of Masjid al-Aqsa encompasses the entire area. And Allah knows best

Posted Muharram 21, 1435 (11/25/13)

See also: The Blessings of al-Shaam as mentioned in the Qur’an: ibn Taymiyah

See also: “Jerusalem is not a place which is called sacred”: Ibn Taymiyah

“We know best of what they listen to, when they listen to you”: Imam al-Sa’di on 17:45-48

Allah informs us in His Book about certain qualities of the disbelievers and their aversion to even considering the truth which He has sent when He says:

وَإِذَا قَرَ‌أْتَ الْقُرْ‌آنَ جَعَلْنَا بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَ‌ةِ حِجَابًا مَّسْتُورً‌ا ﴿٤٥﴾ وَجَعَلْنَا عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ أَكِنَّةً أَن يَفْقَهُوهُ وَفِي آذَانِهِمْ وَقْرً‌ا ۚ وَإِذَا ذَكَرْ‌تَ رَ‌بَّكَ فِي الْقُرْ‌آنِ وَحْدَهُ وَلَّوْا عَلَىٰ أَدْبَارِ‌هِمْ نُفُورً‌ا ﴿٤٦﴾ نَّحْنُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يَسْتَمِعُونَ بِهِ إِذْ يَسْتَمِعُونَ إِلَيْكَ وَإِذْ هُمْ نَجْوَىٰ إِذْ يَقُولُ الظَّالِمُونَ إِن تَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا رَ‌جُلًا مَّسْحُورً‌ا ﴿٤٧﴾ انظُرْ‌ كَيْفَ ضَرَ‌بُوا لَكَ الْأَمْثَالَ فَضَلُّوا فَلَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ سَبِيلًا

And when you recite the Qur’an, We put between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter a concealed partition. (45) And We have placed over their hearts coverings, lest they understand it, and in their ears a heaviness. And when you mention your Lord alone in the Qur’an, they turn back in aversion. (46) We know best of what they listen to, when they listen to you. And when they take secret counsel, when the wrongdoers say “You follow none but a bewitched man.” (47) Look how they strike for you comparisons; but they have strayed, so they cannot [find] a way. [17:45-48]

Imam al-Sa’di writes in his tafsir:

يخبر تعالى عن عقوبته للمكذبين بالحق الذين ردوه وأعرضوا عنه أنه يحول بينهم وبين الإيمان فقال‏:‏

Allah informs us about the punishment of those who deny the truth, those who rebut and turn away from it, that He prevents them from al-eemaan. He said:
{‏وَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ الْقُرْآنَ‏}‏ الذي فيه الوعظ والتذكير والهدى والإيمان والخير والعلم الكثير‏.‏

And when you recite the Qur’an” in which there is admonition, remembrance, guidance, al-eemaan, goodness and much ‘ilm.

‏{‏جَعَلْنَا بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ حِجَابًا مَسْتُورًا‏}‏ يسترهم عن فهمه حقيقة وعن التحقق بحقائقه والانقياد إلى ما يدعو إليه من الخير‏.‏

We put between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter a concealed partition” concealing from them its true understanding and certainty of its truth and complying with the good to which it calls.

‏{‏وَجَعَلْنَا عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ أَكِنَّةً‏}‏ أي‏:‏ أغطية وأغشية لا يفقهون معها القرآن بل يسمعونه سماعا تقوم به عليهم الحجة، ‏{‏وَفِي آذَانِهِمْ وَقْرًا‏}‏ أي‏:‏ صمما عن سماعه، ‏{‏وَإِذَا ذَكَرْتَ رَبَّكَ فِي الْقُرْآن‏}‏ داعيا لتوحيده ناهيا عن الشرك به‏.‏

And We have placed over their hearts coverings” – meaning: enveloping and overwhelming so that their hearts do not understand the Qur’an even though they hear it clearly, so it is established as a hujjah (proof) against them. “And in their ears a heaviness” – meaning: a deafness in their hearing. “And when you mention your Lord alone in the Qur’an” calling them thereby to al-tawheed and prohibiting them from al-shirk.

‏{‏وَلَّوْا عَلَى أَدْبَارِهِمْ نُفُورًا‏}‏ من شدة بغضهم له ومحبتهم لما هم عليه من الباطل، كما قال تعالى‏:‏ ‏{‏وَإِذَا ذُكِرَ اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ اشْمَأَزَّتْ قُلُوبُ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ وَإِذَا ذُكِرَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ دُونِهِ إِذَا هُمْ يَسْتَبْشِرُونَ‏}‏

“They turn back in aversion” from the extremity of their hatred for it and their love for what they follow of falsehood, as Allah said, “And when Allah is mentioned alone, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter shrink with aversion, but when those [worshipped] other than Him are mentioned, immediately they rejoice.” [39:35]

‏{‏نَحْنُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يَسْتَمِعُونَ بِهِ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ إنما منعناهم من الانتفاع عند سماع القرآن لأننا نعلم أن مقاصدهم سيئة يريدون أن يعثروا على أقل شيء ليقدحوا به، وليس استماعهم لأجل الاسترشاد وقبول الحق وإنما هم متعمدون على عدم اتباعه، ومن كان بهذه الحالة لم يفده الاستماع شيئا ولهذا قال‏:‏ ‏{‏إِذْ يَسْتَمِعُونَ إِلَيْكَ وَإِذْ هُمْ نَجْوَى‏}‏ أي‏:‏ متناجين ‏{‏إِذْ يَقُولُ الظَّالِمُونَ‏}‏ في مناجاتهم‏:‏ ‏{‏إِنْ تَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا رَجُلًا مَسْحُورًا‏}‏ فإذا كانت هذه مناجاتهم الظالمة فيما بينهم وقد بنوها على أنه مسحور فهم جازمون أنهم غير معتبرين لما قال، وأنه يهذي لا يدري ما يقول‏.‏

We know best of what they listen to” – meaning: We only prevented them from benefiting when they hear the Qur’an because We know that their intentions are evil, wanting to find something so that they can at least vilify the Qur’an, and not listening to it for guidance of accepting the truth, but they only intend to not follow it. And whoever is in this condition, he does not benefit at all from hearing it and this is as Allah said, “when they listen to you. And when they take secret counsel” – meaning: those who make secret conversations – “when the wrongdoers say” – in their secret conversations” – “‘You follow none but a bewitched man” so when they have their secret conversations their is wrongdoing amongst them and they predicate these conversations on the idea that he is bewitched, so they assert that claim without even considering what he has said, and they assert that he is just babbling and he does not know what he himself says.

قال تعالى‏:‏ ‏{‏انْظُرْ‏}‏ متعجبا ‏{‏كَيْفَ ضَرَبُوا لَكَ الْأَمْثَالَ‏}‏ التي هي أضل الأمثال وأبعدها عن الصواب ‏{‏فَضَلُّوا‏}‏ في ذلك أو فصارت سببا لضلالهم لأنهم بنوا عليها أمرهم والمبني على فاسد أفسد منه‏.‏

Allah says, “Look” – in astonishment – “how they strike for you comparisons” which are the most misguided of comparisons and the farthest away from being correct. “But they have strayed” in that or it has become a cause of their misguidance because they predicated their affair on that and based it upon the most corrupt of corruptions.

‏{‏فَلَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ سَبِيلًا‏}‏ أي‏:‏ لا يهتدون أي اهتداء فنصيبهم الضلال المحض والظلم الصرف‏.‏

“So they cannot [find] a way” – meaning: they are not guided to any sort of guidance, so pure misguidance and sheer wrong-doing is appointed for them.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman]

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