Ayat no. 66-67
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
And if We please We would certainly put out their eyes, then they would run about groping for the way, but how should they see? And if We please We would surely transform them in their place, then they would not be able to go on, nor will they return. (36:66-67)
The apparent meaning of the verse is that if We wish We can rub out their eyes. The Arabic word ‘Tamas’ means rubbing out in such a way that no sign of it remains. ‘Tamas’ means total erasing and rubbing out after which there will not be any sign or mark that an eye existed at that place.
…then they would run about groping for the way,
That is they would proceed on a path, which is straight, without any curve, but they cannot see. How can one go on the right path whose eyes are totally removed?
And if We please We would surely transform them in their place, then they would not be able to go on, nor will they return. (36:67)
Meaning, if We wish we may disfigure them. Arabic word ‘Maskh’ means to transform the shape badly. It means to take away the beautiful shape of man and turn him into an ugly beast.
in their place,
That means, We can do this without any delay.
…then they would not be able to go on, nor will they return.
After this the path of going ahead or turning back is closed on them. They can neither advance nor retreat.
These two verses are among the most threatening verses from God for common disbelievers. Though, apparently, they were revealed in Mecca, they hint at all deniers. Everyone who did not believe in God and in the Hereafter and who said jokingly, “These are meaningless talks of the ancient people, it is superstition.”
If God wills, He makes such people blind in such a way that their eyes are also blotted out. He did the same to the rebellious people of Prophet Lut.
When the angels of punishment arrived at Lut’s, his people rushed to his house demanding that the guests be handed over to them for committing sodomy. Lut admonished them in every manner but to no avail. Then Lut said in a sorrowful way, “If only I had the strength to deflect them.”
One of these angels signaled and all of them became blind. No sign of an eye remained on their face.
And if We please We would certainly put out their eyes…
O one who has become bold in sinning and who is accustomed to voyeurism! God is able to blind you in such a way that there will not remain any trace thereof.
Here is one fine point to ponder. Why is the calamity of “Tamas” mentioned among several other calamities? The secret, perhaps, is that the punishment is proportionate to the sin. One who refuses to see the Truth, which is so manifest, deserves to be blinded. If you can observe the power of God and see life and death, how do you then deny Qiyamat?
A narration in Usul Kafi says: One of the wise sayings of Luqman is, “I wonder about the one who does not believe in Qiyamat and in becoming alive after his death when he dies and becomes alive every night and day.” Sleep is the brother of death.
When you are asleep it is your minor death. When you wake up it is as if you have become alive again. Thus you see life and death every day and night and ignore the truth asking, “Will we, after we are dead, become alive again?”
What! when we are dead and have become dust? That is a far (from probable) return. (50:3)
After this blindness they are unable to find the path.
but how should they see?
How will you see? So long as this bounty is not snatched away from you, observe the Signs of God. Take benefit from it. Know you Lord better. Do something for the accounting of the Day of Judgment.
Another hint is about the haste in punishment. The one whose heart is blind in this world will, on the Day of Judgment, find himself blind in the eyes also.
And whoever is blind in this, he shall (also) be blind in the hereafter; and more erring from the way. (17:72)
Meaning that if We want We can make them blind like their hearts are blind.
The lesson here is for the thankfulness for the bounty of the faculty of sight. A man’s looking or seeing is different from the looking and seeing of a cow. His seeing signifies his taking lessons.
And if We please We would surely transform them in their place, then they would not be able to go on, nor will they return.
Arabic “Maskh” means to change the shape into an ugly and a horrible one. Here it means changing man’s shape into that of a beast. According to the lexicon it is a change for the worse. It could be transforming into a pig, monkey, snake or anything else. A narration says, “A monkey or a pig would look beautiful when compared to it.”
Allah says, “If We so wish We may disfigure them at their place. O one who left the path of religion and took the path of desires and passions! We may, if We so desire, change your outward appearance into your inward state.”
Pig is an example of uncontrolled desires. It eats up every dirty thing and has no parallel in carnal desires. Sometimes it moves long distances while copulating. One who acts like a pig in gratifying his carnal desires and that does not fear committing a prohibited deed, is actually a pig. His face will, on the Day of Judgment, become like that of a pig. If God so wills, such disfiguration can take place here also and very swiftly.
Prophet Muhammad (‘s) is reported to have said that Allah says about him in a Holy verse:
We have not sent you but as a mercy for the worlds. (21:107)
One of the mercies relating to the Prophet (‘s) is that in case of past communities the people’s internal conditions used to manifest very soon. Shapes of a number of people had been changed badly. But, for the followers of Muhammad (‘s), God has put a veil over it.
According to a narration, a scholar believing in Torah, and his teacher were with Prophet Moosa (‘a). When Moosa (‘a) did not see them for quite a long time, he asked Jibraeel (‘a) about their fate. Jibraeel replied, “Look at the gate of the house.” Moosa saw a dog and exclaimed, “This is strange! What has happened?” His interior has become manifest in this way! Jibraeel said, “He was always after wealth.”
The wealth worshipper man’s interior is like an animal. An ant is very greedy in gathering provision. Anyone whose only ambition is to gather wealth is bound to get the shape of an animal in the Hereafter.
Asrarus Salat by Shahid Thani (a.m.) has a tradition related from the Holy Prophet (‘s): “One who turns his face this side and that, during Prayer, does he not fear that God Almighty will make his face like a donkey?”
The Shahid says, “What is meant here is the form of the heart.” His otherworldly appearance will be like that of a donkey. He does not know before whom or in front of whom he is standing. What does he intend to do? We should try to emulate the Imams. Amirul Mo-mineen (‘a) and Hasan Mujtaba (‘a) were trembling at the time of Prayer. At least do not be disrespectful. One, who does not show respect for God Almighty, is no different from an animal.
If Allah wishes He can make the otherworldly appearance manifest here in this world also. But for this Ummah of Muhammad (‘s) the matter is postponed till the Day of Judgment.
O Lord! Who displays the goodness and Who hides the bad deeds!
O God! Make my interior like my outward appearance, that is, good looking. May it not be so that I remain like a man in this world, but God forbid, I become an animal (in the Hereafter).
In a narration it is said that there are some whose faces are like men but their hearts like Satan’s.