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Section 4: The Disbelievers and Their Leaders

Surah As-Saba- Verse 31

وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَن نُؤْمِنَ بِهَذَا الْقُرْءَانِ وَلاَ بِالَّذِي بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَلَوْ تَرَي اِذِ الظَّالِمُونَ مَوْقُوفُونَ عِندَ رَبّـِهِمْ يَرْجِعُ بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَي بَعْضٍ الْقَوْلَ يَقُولُ الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا لِلَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُوا لَوْلآ أَنتُمْ لَكُنَّا مُؤْمِنِينَ

31. “And those who disbelieve say: ‘Never will we believe in this Qur’an, nor in that which is before it, and could you see when the unjust shall be made to stand before their Lord, bandying words one with another! Those who were despised as weak will say unto those who had prided: ‘Had it not been for you, we would certainly have been believers’.”

Pagans, in fact, believe in none of the heavenly Books, and because of their obstinacy, they are not ready to accept faith and believe.

In this holy verse, the Qur’an says:

“And those who disbelieve say: ‘Never will we believe in this Qur’an, nor in that which is before it…”

The Arabic word /lan/ is used for an everlasting negation. Thus, they intend to say that if you preach for ever they will not believe, and this is evidence upon their obstinacy.

They had made their decision not to believe until future eternity, while if a truth-seeking person, for any reason, is not convinced can not deny the future probable reasons without hearing them and say that he absolutely refuses other reasons, too.

In relation to the objective meaning of the Qur’an sentence: /’allaŏina kafaru/ (those who disbelieve), some of the Islamic commentators have rendered it into pagans, some into the Jews and ‘the People of Book’, but the context of the later verses, which speaks about paganism, is an evidence that the purpose of it is ‘pagans’.

The purpose of the Qur’anic phrase: /’allaŏi bayna yadayh/ (that which is before it) is the heavenly Books which had been sent down before Qur’an.

This meaning has been applied in many verses of the Qur’an with the same sense specially after mentioning the word Qur’an; and that some commentators have said that its purpose is probably ‘Resurrection’, or is ‘the content of the Qur’an’ does not seem so probable.

However, the denial of faith in the Books of the former prophets perhaps has been for the purpose that the Qur’an prophesies of this matter that the symptoms of the Messenger of Islam and the Qur’an have clearly been mentioned in the Torah and the Bible, so in ordered to negate the prophecy of the Prophet of Islam (S), they negate other heavenly Books, too, and say that they neither believe in this heavenly Book, the Qur’an, nor in the Books before it.

Then the Qur’an refers to their situation in the Hereafter and, addressing the Prophet (S), it says:

“…and could you see when the unjust shall be made to stand before their Lord, bandying words one with another!…”

Again, it is understood from the above holy verse that one of the most important extensions of ‘injustice’ is that very ‘polytheism’ and ‘disbelief’.

The application of the Qur’anic phrase /‘inda rabbihim/ (before their Lord) refers to this matter that they will attend before the One Who has been their owner and their Lord; and what a shame is higher than this that a person is summoned to the One that he has never believed in Him and in Whose commandments, while his whole self has been built and covered with His bounties.

At this time, the ‘oppressed’, the same unaware persons who blindly followed some others, will say to the ‘oppressors’, viz., the same ones who used to pave the way of pride and domination over others, and giving them the line of satanic thought, as such: if you had not been, and if your satanic beguiling temptations had not existed, we would have been in the row of the believers.

The verse says:

“…Those who were despised as weak will say unto those who had prided: ‘Had it not been for you, we would certainly have been believers’.”

By this manner, they want to put all their sins on the shoulder of these cruel ‘oppressors’, though they were not ready to have such a decisive treatment with them in the world, because in that life weakness and vileness had dominated them and they had lost their own freedom and frankness.

But now that those false concepts, which separated the oppressors from them, have gone and the fruit of the deeds of everyone is made manifest, they stand in front of them and speak frankly, disputing with them.

Surah As-Saba- Verse 32

قَالَ الَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُوا لِلَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا أَنَحْنُ صَدَدْنَاكُمْ عَنِ الْهُدَي بَعْدَ إِذْ جَآءَكُم بَلْ كُنتُم مُّجْرِمِينَ

32. “Those who had prided shall say unto those who were despised as weak: ‘Did we turn you away from the guidance after it had come to you? Nay! You (yourselves) were guilty’.”

In this holy verse the Qur’an clearly announces that the oppressors in answer to the oppressed ones say that: they did not hinder them from the way of guidance after that guidance came to them and they were preached enough and the prophets said what they should say, and the oppressors were not responsible of it, but the oppressed themselves were sinful.

They will say:

“You, with your free will, submitted to our baseless words and came to infidelity and theism, while you forgot the logical words of the prophets.”

The verse says:

“Those who had prided shall say unto those who were despised as weak: ‘Did we turn you away from the guidance after it had come to you? Nay! You (yourselves) were guilty’.”

It is true that, by their evil temptations, the oppressors had committed a great sin, but this statement of theirs is also true that these followers should not follow them blindly, so, from this point of view, their sins are upon their own shoulders.

Surah As-Saba- Verse 33

وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا لِلَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَروُا بَلْ مَكْرُ الَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ إِذْ تَأْمُرُونَنَآ أَن نَّكْفُرَ بِاللَّهِ وَنَجْعَلَ لَهُ أَندَاداً وَأَسَرُّوا النَّدَامَةَ لَمَّا رَأَوُا الْعَذَابَ وَجَعَلْنَا الأَغْلاَلَ فِي أَعْنَاقِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا هَلْ يُجْزَوْنَ اِلاَّ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُون

33. “And those who were despised as weak shall say unto those who had prided: ‘Nay! It was a plot (of yours) by day and by night when you bade us that we should disbelieve in Allah and set up equals with Him. And they declare (their) remorse when they see the Penalty; and We will put shackles on the necks of those who disbelieved. Are they requited aught save what they used to do?”

The mental cultural deviation of the people in a society is the consequence of the constant effort of the arrogant enemies.

In this holy verse, the Qur’an says:

“And those who were despised as weak shall say unto those who had prided: ‘Nay! It was a plot (of yours) by day and by night when you bade us that we should disbelieve in Allah and set up equals with Him…”

Yes, it was you who did not desist your evil propagation and did not lose any opportunity during day and night to gain your wrong aims.

It is true that we were free in accepting you, and thus we are sinful, but you, as a factor of corruption, are responsible and guilty, too. Or, in other words, it was you who set the first base with your polluted hands, in particular that you always talked to us from the position of power.

(The application of the Qur’anic sentence /ta’murunana/ (you bade us) is the evidence for this matter.)

It is evident that the proud cannot have any answer to this statement and do not deny their participation in this great crime.

Therefore, both groups will be regretful of their deeds: the proud will be regretful for making others astray, and the oppressed ones for their unconditionally accepting these evil temptations.

The verse continues saying:

“…And they declare (their) remorse when they see the Penalty; and We will put shackles on the necks of those who disbelieved…”

Some commentators have said that this regret is probably because of the intensity of the terror they get from seeing the Divine punishment and the chains and shackles on their necks.

This will cause their tongue not to be able to speak though the same ones, in other halts of the Hereafter will cry:

“…‘Oh woe to us! Verily we were unjust’.”1

Some philologists have meant the Arabic phrase /’asarru/ in this verse in the sense of ‘declare’, in spite of those who have meant it ‘hide’, and said that this term has been used with two opposite meanings in the Arabic language, and its like is not few, but regarding to the usages of this term in the Qur’an, and other than it, this meaning is not probable, because the Arabic word /sirr/ usually comes as opposite to /‘alan/, and Raqib has also stipulated that this meaning is weak. Yet, some of the lexicologists have referred to both of them.

However, this is the consequence of their own deeds that they have provided from before.

The verse says:

“…Are they requited aught save what they used to do?”

Yes, these are the very deeds and behaviour of pagans and evil-doers that will be shown in the form of shackles of captivity put on their necks, hands and feet. In this world, too, they were captives of their low desires, money, power, and position, and, in Hereafter when the deeds will incarnate, the same captivities will appear in another form.

The above mentioned holy verse once more makes clear the incarnation of deeds, which has repeatedly been pointed out, because it implicitly says that their recompense is, in fact, the incarnation of their own deeds.

And what a meaning is more lively and clearer than this for incarnation of deeds?

The application of the Qur’anic sentence /’allaŏina kafaru/ (those who disbelieved) is an evidence that both those who tempted others proudly will be involved in this fact, and those oppressed who were tempted, and all pagans. And, basically, mentioning this quality is a hint to this fact that the cause of their punishment is their paganism.

Surah As-Saba- Verses 34-35

وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَا فِي قَرْيَةٍ مِن نَذِيرٍ إِلاَّ قَالَ مُتْرَفُوهَآ إِنَّا بِمَآ اُرْسِلْتُم بِهِ كَافِرُونَ

وَقَالُوا نَحْنُ أَكْثَرُ أَمْوَالاً وَأَوْلاَداً وَمَا نَحْنُ بِمُعَذَّبِينَ

34. “And We sent no Warner into any city except the opulent ones of it said: ‘Verily we are disbelievers in what you are sent with’.”
35. “They also said: ‘We are more (than you) in wealth and children and we shall not be punished’.”

Opposition with the holy Prophet of Islam (S) is not a new thing, while former people used to oppose other Divine prophets, too.

Since the words in previous verses were about the proud people’s temptation (seduction), the verses under discussion introduce a part of this seduction and, in the meanwhile it also consoles the holy Prophet of Islam (S) indicating that if a group of people oppose you, you may not surprise, because the opposition of the rich tyrants against the true prophets has been a constant style of theirs.

Allah says:

“And We sent no Warner into any city except the opulent ones of it said: ‘Verily we are disbelievers in what you are sent with’.”

The Qur’anic word /naŏir/ means: ‘Warner’. It refers to the Divine prophets who warned people by Allah’s punishment against their deviations, cruelties, sins, and corruptions.

Here the Arabic phrase /mutrafuha/ is the plural form of /mutraf/ derived from /taraf/ in the sense of ‘prosperity’, and /mutraf/ is used in the sense of ‘prosperity’.

The Arabic word /mutraf/ is applied for the one whose affluence of bounty and welfare of life has made him proud, and neglectful, and has caused him to be disobedient.2

Yes, those who were in the first row of the opponents of the Divine prophets (as) were usually from this group of disobedient neglectful people of prosperity.

Since, on one side, they saw the teachings of the prophets as a hinder for their pleasures and lusts, and on the other side, they were defenders of the deprive that by usurpation of whose rights had reached to this dazzling life, and on the third side, in order to guard their wealth and properly, they always used the power of government, and in all these instances they found the Divine prophets in their opposite situation, then they immediately decided to stand against them.

It is wonderful that they did not emphasize on a particular divine ordinance or instruction, but they generally said:

“…‘Verily we are disbelievers in what you are sent with’…”

They insisted not to be with them even for a step, which itself is the best proof for their obstinacy and enmity against the truth.

This is an important matter which the Qur’an has disclosed through different verses: that the deprived were often the first group of people who accepted the invitation of the Divine prophets, and the proud people, who were in prosperity, were also the first group of people who began opposition.

Certainly the deniers of the Divine prophets’ call were not allocated to this group; the factors of mischief and claimers of polytheism and superstitions were those who ceaselessly tried to forcefully drug others towards themselves.

This very meaning is also mentioned in Surah Az-Zukhruf, No. 43, verse 23; Surah Hud, No. 11, verse 116; and also in Surah Mu’minun, No. 23, verse 33.

This group oppose not only against the Divine prophets, but also against any step of improvement that may be taken from the side of any learned reformer and any studious scholar. In order to confuse the programs of the reformers, they often conspire and commit any crime they can.

Next verse refers to their futile logic to which they betake all times to prove their superiority and to beguile common people.

It announces:

“They also said: ‘We are more (than you) in wealth and children…”

They say that Allah has affection to them because He has given them both abundant wealth and plenty of human power, and this is the evidence for His grace upon them and the sign for their rank and near position to Him, so He will not punish them, the near- stationed ones!

The verse continues saying:

“…and we shall not be punished’.”

Does Allah punish His beloved? If we were banished from His presence, why would He give us so many bounties? In short, our world being bountiful itself is a clear reason for the good of our Hereafter.

Some of the commentators believe that the Qur’anic sentence: /wa ma nahnu bi mu‘aŏŏabin/ (we shall not be punished) is probably a reason that they denied the Hereafter and punishment entirely, while the later verses show that this sentence does not imply this meaning but their purpose has been in this that, for the reason of their wealth, they are nigh to Allah.

Surah As-Saba- Verse 36

قُلْ إِنَّ رَبّـِي يَبْسُطُ الرّ‌ِزْقَ لِمَن يَشَآءُ وَيَقْدِرُ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ

36. “Say: ‘Verily my Lord amplifies the sustenance for whom He pleases and straitens for whom He pleases, but most of the people do not know’.”

Giving or taking sustenance is inside the rank of Lordship and giving or taking the blessings is not as a sign of affection or wrath of Allah.

(It is possible that He takes it from a believer and gives it to a disbeliever.)

(Verily my Lord amplifies the sustenance…)

This holy verse answers to their hollow demagogical logic in the best way and knocks it out.

Addressing the Prophet (S), the Qur’an says:

“Say: ‘Verily my Lord amplifies the sustenance for whom He pleases and straitens for whom He pleases…”

All of these are according to public interests which are for the trial of people and are necessary for the system of their living, and they do not depend on the man’s rank and position with Allah.

Therefore, we should never count the amplification of sustenance as a reason for happiness, and its being straitened as a reason for wretchedness.

The verse continues saying:

“…but most of the people do not know’.”

Of course, the unaware majority of people are such, else this matter is clear for the aware ones.

  • 1. Surah Al-’Anbiya’, No. 21, verse 14
  • 2. Lisan-ul-‘Arab, Vol. 9, p. 17

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