The Quran

Commentaries for 2.14

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.14 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And when they), i.e. the hypocrites, (fall in with those who believe), i.e. Abu Bakr and his companions, (they say: We believe) deep in our hearts and are genuine in our faith just as you believe deep in your hearts and are genuine in your faith; (but when they go apart to their devils), to their soothsayers and leaders who were five in number, namely, Ka'b Ibn al-Ashraf in Medina, Abu Burdah al-Aslami in Banu Aslam, Ibn al-Sawda' in Historic Syria (al-Sham), 'Abd al-Dar in Juhaynah and 'Awf Ibn 'Amir in Banu 'Amir, (they declare) to their leaders: (Lo! We are with you) we follow your religion in secret; (surely we did but mock) Muhammad (pbuh) and his Companions.
2.14 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
When they meet (laqū is actually laquyū, but the damma has been omitted, being too cumbersome for pronunciation; likewise the yā’ [is omitted], because it is unvocalised and is followed by a wāw); those who believe, they say, ‘We believe’; but when they go apart, away from them and return, to their devils, their leaders, they say, ‘We are with you, in religion; we were only mocking, them [the believers] by feigning belief.
2.14 Kashani - Kashani
When they meet those who believe: a literal quotation of their hypocrisy that is a concomitant of the presence of two [kinds of] preparedness within them, a primordial luminous one that is weak, vanquished and close to being extinguished, and by which they correspond to the believers; and an acquired dark one that is strong and vanquishing by which they are in harmony with the disbelievers. For if they did not possess a minimum of light they would not be able to mix with and befriend believers in the first place as is the case with others like the disbelievers, because of the self-evident mutual incompatibility between light and darkness in all aspects. [The word] shayṭān is constructed to the paradigm fayʿāl from [the infinitive] al-shuṭūn which means 'to go far away', their devils being profoundly removed [from the divine], banished, while their leaders have attained the utmost degree of hypocrisy. Their mocking of the believers is proof of the weakness of the light aspect within them and the strength of the dark aspect, for the one who belittles something is one for whom that thing is slight, of little weight or worth. Thus they belittle those luminous individuals because of the littleness of light within them, since it is [only] by light that the value of light can be known. Given the preponderance of darkness within them, they resort to the disbelievers and become friendly with them.
[they say, 'We believe'; but when they go apart to their devils they say, 'We are with you; we were only mocking'.]
2.14-15 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Hypocrites' Cunning and Deceit
Allah said that when the hypocrites meet the believers, they proclaim their faith and pretend to be believers, loyalists and friends. They do this to misdirect, mislead and deceive the believers. The hypocrites also want to have a share of the benefits and gains that the believers might possibly acquire. Yet,
وَإِذَا خَلَوْاْ إِلَى شَيَـطِينِهِمْ
(But when they are alone with their Shayatin), meaning, if they are alone with their devils, such as their leaders and masters among the rabbis of the Jews, hypocrites and idolators.
Human and Jinn Devils
Ibn Jarir said, "The devils of every creation are the mischievous among them. There are both human devils and Jinn devils. Allah said,
وَكَذَلِكَ جَعَلْنَا لِكُلِّ نِبِىٍّ عَدُوّاً شَيَـطِينَ الإِنْسِ وَالْجِنِّ يُوحِى بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَى بَعْضٍ زُخْرُفَ الْقَوْلِ غُرُوراً
(And so We have appointed for every Prophet enemies ـ Shayatin (devils) among mankind and Jinn, inspiring one another with adorned speech as a delusion (or by way of deception)) (6:112).
The Meaning of `Mocking
Allah said,
قَالُواْ إِنَّا مَعَكُمْ
(They say: "Truly, we are with you''). Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn `Abbas said that the Ayah means, "We are with you,
إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُسْتَهْزِءُونَ
(Verily, we were but mocking), meaning, we only mock people (the believers) and deceive them.'' Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas said that the Ayah,
إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُسْتَهْزِءُونَ
(Verily, we were but mocking), means, "We (meaning the hypocrites) were mocking the Companions of Muhammad.'' Also, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and Qatadah said similarly. Allah's statement,
اللَّهُ يَسْتَهْزِىءُ بِهِمْ وَيَمُدُّهُمْ فِي طُغْيَـنِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ
(Allah mocks at them and leaves them increasing in their deviation to wander blindly) answers the hypocrites and punishes them for their behavior. Ibn Jarir commented, "Allah mentioned what He will do to them on the Day of Resurrection, when He said,
يَوْمَ يَقُولُ الْمُنَـفِقُونَ وَالْمُنَـفِقَـتُ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ انظُرُونَا نَقْتَبِسْ مِن نُّورِكُمْ قِيلَ ارْجِعُواْ وَرَآءَكُمْ فَالْتَمِسُواْ نُوراً فَضُرِبَ بَيْنَهُم بِسُورٍ لَّهُ بَابٌ بَاطِنُهُ فِيهِ الرَّحْمَةُ وَظَـهِرُهُ مِن قِبَلِهِ الْعَذَابُ
(On the Day when the hypocrites ـ men and women ـ will say to the believers: "Wait for us! Let us get something from your light!'' It will be said: "Go back to your rear! Then seek a light!'' So a wall will be put up between them, with a gate therein. Inside it will be mercy, and outside it will be torment.) (57:13), and,
وَلاَ يَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ أَنَّمَا نُمْلِى لَهُمْ خَيْرٌ لاًّنفُسِهِمْ إِنَّمَا نُمْلِى لَهُمْ لِيَزْدَادُواْ إِثْمَاً
(And let not the disbelievers think that Our postponing of their punishment is good for them. We postpone the punishment only so that they may increase in sinfulness.) (3:178).''
He then said, "This, and its like, is Allah's mockery of the hypocrites and the people of Shirk.''
The Hypocrites suffering for their Plots
Allah stated that He will punish the hypocrites for their mockery, using the same terms to describe both the deed and its punishment, although the meaning is different. Similarly, Allah said,
وَجَزَآءُ سَيِّئَةٍ سَيِّئَةٌ مِّثْلُهَا فَمَنْ عَفَا وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ
(The recompense for an offense is an offense equal to it; but whoever forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is with Allah) (42:40), and,
فَمَنِ اعْتَدَى عَلَيْكُمْ فَاعْتَدُواْ عَلَيْهِ
(Then whoever transgresses (the prohibition) against you, transgress likewise against him) (2:194).
The first act is an act of injustice, while the second act is an act of justice. So both actions carry the same name, while being different in reality. This is how the scholars explain deceit, cunning and mocking when attributed to Allah in the Qur'an. Surely, Allah exacts revenge for certain evil acts with a punishment that is similar in nature to the act itself. We should affirm here that Allah does not do these things out of joyful play, according to the consensus of the scholars, but as a just form of punishment for certain evil acts.
Meaning of `Leaves them increasing in their deviation to wander blindly
Allah said,
وَيَمُدُّهُمْ فِي طُغْيَـنِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ
(Allah mocks at them and leaves them increasing in their deviation to wander blindly). As-Suddi reported that Ibn `Abbas, Ibn Mas`ud and several other Companions of the Messenger of Allah said that,
(and leaves them increasing) means, He gives them respite. Also, Mujahid said, "He (causes their deviation) to increase.'' Allah said;
أَيَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّمَا نُمِدُّهُمْ بِهِ مِن مَّالٍ وَبَنِينَ - نُسَارِعُ لَهُمْ فِى الْخَيْرَتِ بَل لاَّ يَشْعُرُونَ
(Do they think that by the wealth and the children with which We augment them. (That) We hasten to give them with good things. Nay, but they perceive not.) (23:55-56).
Ibn Jarir commented, "The correct meaning of this Ayah is `We give them increase from the view of giving them respite and leaving them in their deviation and rebellion.' Similarly, Allah said,
وَنُقَلِّبُ أَفْئِدَتَهُمْ وَأَبْصَـرَهُمْ كَمَا لَمْ يُؤْمِنُواْ بِهِ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَنَذَرُهُمْ فِى طُغْيَانِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ
(And We shall turn their hearts and their eyes away (from guidance), as they refused to believe in it the first time, and We shall leave them in their trespass to wander blindly). '' (6:110).
Tughyan used in this Ayah means to transgress the limits, just as Allah said in another Ayah,
إِنَّا لَمَّا طَغَا الْمَآءُ حَمَلْنَـكُمْ فِى الْجَارِيَةِ
(Verily, when the water Tagha (rose) beyond its limits, We carried you in the ship) (69:11).
Also, Ibn Jarir said that the term `Amah, in the Ayah means, `deviation'. He also said about Allah's statement,
فِي طُغْيَـنِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ
(in their deviation to wander), "In the misguidance and disbelief that has encompassed them, causing them to be confused and unable to find a way out of it. This is because Allah has stamped their hearts, sealed them, and blinded their vision. Therefore, they do not recognize guidance or find the way out of their deviation.''
2.8-16 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
They deceive themselves by imagining that their duplicity will safeguard their interests but obviously their policy will prove harmful in this world as well as in the next. A hypocrite might succeed in deceiving some people for some time but he cannot deceive all people for all times. When such a person is exposed, he loses all honour once and for all. As to the Hereafter, mere lip-service will carry no weight there because it is deeds alone that matter there.
"A disease": the disease of hypocrisy; and "Allah is increasing their disease all the more" means that He does not punish the hypocrites for their hypocrisy immediately, but gives them respite so that when their duplicity appears to succeed apparently they become more and more convinced of its efficiency and they go on becoming more and more hypocritical in their attitude and conduct.
That is,"Just as the other people of your nation have accepted Islam truly and sincerely, so should you also accept it truly and honestly, if you profess to accept it".
They regarded as tools the people who had accepted Islam sincerely and exposed themselves to troubles, hardships and dangers. In their opinion it was nothing but folly to earn the hostility of the whole country merely for the sake of truth and righteousness. They considered it wisdom not to bother about the right and the wrong at all but to look only after one's own interests.
Shayatin plural of Shaitan, is an insurgent, haughty and devilish person, or an evil genius. This word is used both for the men and the jinn. Though it has mostly been used in the Qur'an for the jinn devils, in some places it has also been applied to human devils, and from the context it can easily be judged where it refers to human and where to jinn devils. Here it refers to the Arab chiefs who were in the fore-front in their opposition to Islam.
2.14-15 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
When they meet those who believe they say “We believe”; but when they go apart to their devils they say “We are with you; we were only mocking.” God [Himself] mocks them leaving them in their insolence bewildered. The hypocrites wanted to maintain their relations with disbelievers while associating with Muslims so when they appeared before Muslims they said “We are with you” and when they were alone with those like them among the disbelievers they voiced their loyalty to them. They wanted to have relationships with both sides but they were excluded from both. God most high said “Wavering all the time-not to these neither to those” [4:143]. Similarly anyone who wants to combine the path of spiritual desire irāda with [one's habitual behavior] with ordinary people ahl al-ʿāda [should know that] this cannot be done since the two opposites cannot be combined. “The servant who has contracted with his master to be freed is still a servant until the last dirham [is paid].” When night draws nigh day slips away. Anyone who has a hodgepodge khalīṬ in every corner nāḥiyya and a heart bound rabīṬ in every nook zāwiyya is headed for disaster. First one group and then another take turns dwelling in his heart so that it is forever ruined. There is no pleasure for him in life nor does he truly possess any provision from his heart. The one who spoke for them said: I see you as someone left over from the people of Moses for they do not wait patiently for food. When the hypocrites said “we were only mocking” God most high said “God [Himself] mocks them” that is He requites them for their mocking. Similarly when people put the reins in the hands of carnal desires they are lured into the wadis of separation. Their feet are not firmly planted in a place so they wander in the labyrinth of absence. Just as he leaves the hypocrites in their insolence bewildered he prolongs the period [in which they dwell with] their confused hopes. So when the times of their deaths draw nigh their hopes are at their highest while their actions are at their lowest. That is the requital for what they did and the noxious result of what they produced. The beautification of their ugly acts in their eyes is the worst of their punishments and their being content with their listlessness is their greatest misfortune.
2.14 Wahidi - Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi
(And when they fall in with those who believe, they say: We believe) [2:14]. Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim informed us> Shaybah ibn Muhammad>'Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Qurrah> Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Nasr> Yusuf ibn Bilal> Muhammad ibn Marwan> al-Kalbi> Abu Salih> Ibn 'Abbas who said: “This verse was revealed about 'Abdullah ibn Ubayy and his followers. It so happened that they went out one day and were received by a group of Companions of Allah's Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace. 'Abd Allah ibn Ubayy said: 'See how I will bar these fools from you!' He proceeded and took hold of the hand of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, may Allah be well pleased with him, and said: 'Welcome to the truthful, the master of Banu Tamim and leader of Islam, the second person in the cave along with Allah's Messenger, who gave up his person and his wealth'. Then he took hold of the hand of 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be well pleased with him, and said: 'Welcome to the master of Banu 'Adiyy ibn Ka'b, the distinguisher and the strong in the religion of Allah, who gave up his person and wealth for Allah's Messenger'. Then he took hold of the hand of 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah ennoble his face, and said: 'Welcome to the cousin and son-in-law of Allah's Messenger, the master of Banu Hashim apart from Allah's Messenger'. Then they dispersed. 'Abd Allah told his companions: 'How did I do? When you see them do as I do'. His companions praised him. But when the Muslims returned to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and informed him of what happened, Allah revealed this verse”.