The Quran

Commentaries for 2.161

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.161 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Lo! Those who disbelieve, and die while they are disbelievers) in Allah and His Messenger; (on them is the curse of Allah) the torment of Allah (and of the angels) the curse of the angels (and of men combined) the curses directed by believers towards each other will end up as curses on these unbelievers.
2.161 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
But those who disbelieve, and die disbelieving (wa-hum kuffār, ‘they being disbelievers’, is a circumstantial qualifier) — upon them shall be the curse of God and the angels, and of people altogether, that is, they deserve such [a curse] in this life and in the next; ‘people’ here is said to be either [people] in general, or believers.
2.161 Kashani - Kashani
But those who disbelieve, [those who] are veiled from religion or [from] the Truth, and die disbelieving, that is, remained in their [state of] veiling such that their preparedness has disappeared and the light of their primordial nature extinguished by [their adherence to] the religion of the veil, and have been cut off from the means by which they would have able to lift the veil of death - upon them shall be the curse of God and the angels, and of people altogether: in other words, they have merited total distance, privation, banishment from the Truth and from the world of the angelic realm and from the natural human disposition that is represented by obliteration (ṭams).
2.159-162 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Eternal Curse for Those Who hide Religious Commandments
These Ayat sternly warn against those who hide the clear signs that the Messengers were sent with which guide to the correct path and beneficial guidance for the hearts, after Allah has made such aspects clear for His servants through the Books that He revealed to His Messengers. Abu Al-`Aliyah said that these Ayat, "were revealed about the People of the Scripture who hid the description of Muhammad.'' Allah then states that everything curses such people for this evil act. Certainly, just as everything asks for forgiveness for the scholar, even the fish in the sea and the bird in the air, then those who hide knowledge are cursed by Allah and by the cursers. A Hadith in the Musnad, narrated through several chains of narrators, that strengthens the overall judgment of the Hadith, states that Abu Hurayrah narrated that Allah's Messenger said:
«مَنْ سُئِلَ عَنْ عِلْمٍ فَكَتَمَهُ، أُلْجِمَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ بِلِجَامٍ مِنْ نَار»
(Whoever was asked about knowledge that one has, but he hid it, then a bridle made of fire will be tied around his mouth on the Day of Resurrection.)
It is also recorded by Al-Bukhari that Abu Hurayrah said, "If it was not for an Ayah in Allah's Book, I would not have narrated a Hadith for anyone:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْتُمُونَ مَآ أَنزَلْنَا مِنَ الْبَيِّنَـتِ وَالْهُدَى
(Verily, those who conceal the clear proofs, evidences and the guidance, which We have sent down,)''
Mujahid said, "When the earth is struck by drought, the animals say, `This is because of the sinners among the Children of Adam. May Allah curse the sinners among the Children of Adam.'''
Abu Al-`Aliyah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and Qatadah said that
وَيَلْعَنُهُمُ اللَّـعِنُونَ
(and cursed by the cursers) means that the angels and the believers will curse them. Moreover, a Hadith states that everything, including the fish in the sea, asks for forgiveness for the scholars. The Ayah (2:159 above) states that those who hide the knowledge will be cursed, (in this life and) on the Day of Resurrection, by Allah, the angels, all humanity, and those who curse (including the animals) each in its own distinct way. Allah knows best.
From this punishment, Allah excluded all who repent to Him:
إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ تَابُواْ وَأَصْلَحُواْ وَبَيَّنُواْ
(Except those who repent and do righteous deeds, and openly declare (the truth which they concealed).)
This Ayah refers to those who regret what they have been doing and correct their behavior and, thus, explain to the people what they have been hiding.
فَأُوْلَـئِكَ أَتُوبُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَنَا التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ
(These, I will accept their repentance. And I am the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.)
This Ayah also indicates that those who used to call to innovation, or even disbelief, and repent to Allah, then Allah will forgive them. Allah afterwards states that those who disbelieve in Him and remain in this state until they die, then:
أُولَـئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ لَعْنَةُ اللَّهِ وَالْمَلـئِكَةِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ
خَـلِدِينَ فِيهَآ
(it is they on whom is the curse of Allah and of the angels and of mankind, combined. They will abide therein (under the curse in Hell).)
Therefore, they will suffer the eternal curse until the Day of Resurrection and after that in the fire of Jahannam, where,
لاَ يُخَفَّفُ عَنْهُمُ الْعَذَابُ
(their punishment will neither be lightened)
Hence, the torment will not be decreased for them,
وَلاَ هُمْ يُنظَرُونَ
(nor will they be reprieved.)
The torment will not be changed or tempered for even an hour. Rather, it is continuous and eternal. We seek refuge with Allah from this evil end.
Cursing the Disbelievers is allowed
There is no disagreement that it is lawful to curse the disbelievers. `Umar bin Al-Khattab and the Imams after him used to curse the disbelievers in their Qunut (a type of supplication) during the prayer and otherwise. As for cursing a specific disbeliever, some scholars stated that it is not allowed to curse him, because we do not know how Allah will make his end. Others said that it is allowed to curse individual disbelievers. For proof, they mention the story about the man who was brought to be punished repeatedly for drinking (alcohol), a man said, "May Allah curse him! He is being brought repeatedly (to be flogged for drinking).'' Allah's Messenger said:
«لَا تَلْعَنْهُ فَإِنَّه يُحِبُّ اللهَ وَرَسُولَه»
(Do not curse him, for he loves Allah and His Messenger).
This Hadith indicates that it is allowed to curse those who do not love Allah and His Messenger. Allah knows best.
2.161-162 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
The literal meaning of the word kufr is "to conceal". By and by it came to be used for the concealment of the Truth and then for its rejection, as the antonym of imam n. Iman means to believe, to accept and to admit, and kufr means to disbelieve, to reject and to oppose. According to the Qur'an, one shall be guilty of kufr.
(1) If one does not believe in Allah at all or refuses to accept Him as the Supreme Authority or as one's Master and that of the entire Universe or as the only God of worship, or
(2) If one professes to acknowledge Allah but refuses to accept His commandments and Guidance as the sole source of the knowledge of Truth and of Law, or
(3) If one accepts on principle the Guidance of Allah, but refuses to accept the authority of the Messengers whom Allah has sent with His Commandments and Guidance, or
) If one accepts a particular Messenger (or Messengers) and rejects others according to one's whim or prejudices, or
(5) If one discards the whole or any part of the Islamic creed, or its code of life, or the teachings of the Messenger, or
(6) If one accepts all these things in theory but discards the Commandments of God deliberately in practice and persists in this conduct and leads a life of rebellion instead of submission.
All the above modes of thought and action are rebellion against Allah and are kufr according to the Qur'an. Besides the above usages, the Qur'an sometimes uses the word kufr in the sense of ingratitude as an antonym of shukr. Shukr means that one should be grateful only to Him Who has bestowed the blessing, should appreciate His favour,.should use and spend the blessing only according to His Will, and should submit to Him completely and faithfully like a loyal servant. On the contrary, kufr or ingratitude is that one should either refuse to acknowledge the favour of one's benefactor, and should regard it as a result of one's own ability, or as a favour and result of the influence of another one, or should depreciate the blessing bestowed by Him and waste it, or should use the blessing against His Will, or should adopt an attitude of rebellion against him inspite of His favours and blessings. Such an attitude of kufr is generally described as ingratitude, disloyalty, rebellion and treason.
2.161-162 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
But those who disbelieve and die disbelieving-upon them shall be the curse of God and the angels and of people altogether. Abiding therein: the chastisement shall not be lightened for them no respite shall be given them. Here the allusion is to those who after they have traveled the path of spiritual desire irāda find it fitting to return to the states of the people of habit ahl al-ʿāda.261 Then while they are in the grip of this estrangement [from the path] and in this condition [they] leave the world. Those are the companions of separation aṣḥāb al-furqa. There is no drawing near for their spirits or setting straight their calamity no asking for mercy from anyone. They have lost in this world and the hereafter. They are cursed by gnats in the air and stagnation in [their] water yalʿanuhum al-baqqu fī l-hawāÌi wa-l-naqʿu ʿalā l-māÌi. Abiding: that is they remain forever in their contemptible position insignificant and [find no] lessening of it or relief without kindness or favors.
2.161 Tustari - Al-Tustari
…Upon them shall be the curse of God…This means that their lot is banishment (ṭard) from the mercy of God, and alienation. In this manner, every accursed one is banished.