31 - Luqman

4 Tafsir(s) related to verse 31.1

Al-Jalalayn

Alif lām mīm: God knows best what He means by these [letters].

Ibn Al Kathir

The Doomed are preoccupied with Idle Talk and They turn away from the Ayat of Allah

When Allah mentions the blessed -- who are those who are guided by the Book of Allah and benefit from hearing it, as He says:

اللَّهُ نَزَّلَ أَحْسَنَ الْحَدِيثِ كِتَـباً مُّتَشَـبِهاً مَّثَانِيَ تَقْشَعِرُّ مِنْهُ جُلُودُ الَّذِينَ يَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ ثُمَّ تَلِينُ جُلُودُهُمْ وَقُلُوبُهُمْ إِلَى ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ

(Allah has sent down the Best Statement, a Book, its parts resembling each other (and) oft-repeated. The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it. Then their skin and their heart soften to the remembrance of Allah) (39:23). He connect that with mention of the doomed, those who turn away from the Qur'an and do not benefit from hearing the Words of Allah. Instead, they turn to listening to flutes and singing accompanied by musical instruments. As Ibn Mas`ud commented about the Ayah:

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَشْتَرِى لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ

(And of mankind is he who purchases Lahu Al-Hadith to mislead (men) from the path of Allah), he said, "This -- by Allah -- refers to singing.''

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَشْتَرِى لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ

(And of mankind is he who purchases Lahw Al-Hadith to mislead (men) from the path of Allah without knowledge, ) Qatadah said: "By Allah, he may not spend money on it, but his purchasing it means he likes it, and the more misguided he is, the more he likes it and the more he prefers falsehood to the truth and harmful things over beneficial things.'' It was said that what is meant by the words

يَشْتَرِى لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ

(purchases idle talks) is buying singing servant girls. Ibn Jarir said that it means all speech that hinders people from seeing the signs of Allah and following His path. His saying:

لِيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ

(to mislead (men) from the path of Allah) means, he does this to oppose Islam and its followers.

وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُواً

(and takes it by way of mockery.) Mujahid said, "This means mocking the path of Allah and making fun of it.''

أُوْلَـئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ

(For such there will be a humiliating torment.) Just as they showed no respect to the signs and path of Allah, so they will be shown no respect on the Day of Resurrection, and they will be subjected to a painful, ongoing torment. Then Allah says:

وَإِذَا تُتْلَى عَلَيْهِ ءَايَـتُنَا وَلَّى مُسْتَكْبِراً كَأَن لَّمْ يَسْمَعْهَا كَأَنَّ فِى أُذُنَيْهِ وَقْراً

(And when Our Ayat are recited to such a one, he turns away in pride, as if he heard them not -- as if there were deafness in his ear.) means, when these Qur'anic verses are recited to one who is fond of idleness and play, he turns away from them and does not want to hear them. He turns a deaf ear to them as if he can hear nothing, because it annoys him to hear them since he gains no benefit from them and has no interest in them.

فَبَشِّرْهُ بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ

(So announce to him a painful torment.) i.e., on the Day of Resurrection, which will hurt him just as much as listening to the Book of Allah and its verses hurt him.

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

That is, "verses of the Book which is full of wisdom and whose every teaching is based on wisdom."

That is, "These verses give guidance to the Right Way and have been sent down as a mercy from God. But the people who can profit by this mercy and guidance are only those who adopt a righteous attitude, who wish to become good, who crave for their own well-being, whose quality is that they avoid the evil when they are warned of it, and follow the good when they are shown the ways to it. As for the wicked and mischievous people, they will neither profit by this guidance nor receive any share from this mercy. "

It does not mean that "the righteous people" bear only these three qualities. By using the common epithet of "righteous" for them, it has been pointed out that they refrain from all those evils which this Book forbids and practice all those good things which this Book enjoins. Then, the three qualities of the "righteous" have been especially mentioned in order to show that all other good acts depend on these three things. They establish the Salat which engenders God-worship and piety as a permanent habit with them; they pay the Zakat which strengthens the spirit of sacrifice in them, subdues the love of the world and arouses a desire for the goodwill of Allah; and they believe in the Hereafter, which instills the sense of responsibility and answerability, which does not allow them to live like an animal, which is free to graze at will in the pasture, but like a man who is fully conscious of the fact that he is not independent but the slave of a Master before Whom he is answerable for all his activities of life. Owing to these three qualities, these "righteous" people are not the kind of the righteous persons who happen to do good just by chance, who may commit evil as often and as freely as they would do good. Contrary to this, these qualities inculcate in them an enduring system of thought and morality owing to which goodness issues forth from them in a regulated and systematic manner, and the evil, if at all committed, is committed just by chance. They do not have any deep-rooted motives, which might be arising from their own system of thought and morality and leading them on to the evil way under their own nature impulse.

At the time when these verses were sent down, the disbelieves of Makkah thought, and said so openly, that Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) and those who accepted his message were wasting and ruining their lives. Therefore, it was rejoined with full force and emphasis: "..these are the ones who will attain true success." That is, 'They will not ruin themselves as you seem to dunk in your ignorance, but they in fact are the ones who alone will attain true success, and the utter failures will be those who have refused to adopt this way."

Here the one who regards 'true success" as confined to the world, in the sense of material prosperity, will be wholly missing the Qur'anic concept of it. To understand the real concept of the true success one should study the following verses of the Qur'an along with the relevant E.N.'s: AI-Baqarah: 2-5, AI-'Imran: 102, 130, 200, AI-Ma'idah: 35, 90, AI-An'am: 21, AI-A'raf; 7, 8, 157, At-Taubah: 88, Yunus: 17, An-Nahl: 116, Al-Hajj: 77, Al-Mu'minun: 117, An-Nur:,51, Ar-Rum: 38.

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

And from his narration on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that he said regarding the interpretation of Allah's saying (Alif. Lam. Mim.): '(Alif. Lam. Mim.) He says: I am Allah, I know; it is also said that it is an oath by which Allah swore.