Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Allah hath sealed their hearts), stamped their hearts, (and their hearing, and on their eyes there is a covering), on their eyes there is a shield (and theirs will be an awful doom) an awful torment in the Hereafter. This refers in particular to the Jews Ka'b Ibn al-Ashraf, Huyayy Ibn Akhtab and Judayy Ibn Akhtab. It is also said that it refers to the idolaters of Mecca 'Utbah [Ibn Rabi'ah], Shaybah [Ibn Rabi'ah] and al-Walid [Ibn al-Mughirah].
The seal of estrangement was placed on someone's heart, and he remained in unbelief. The seal of perplexity was placed on another's heart, and he remained in lassitude. That one was a stranger, driven away, the road lost, and this one was helpless, stuck in the road, kept back from the Friend by other than the Friend.
Any talk that keeps you back from the road-let it be unbelief or faith.
Any picture that holds you back from the Friend-let it be ugly or beautiful. [DS 51]
Not everyone who escapes from unbelief joins with the Real, unless he has escaped from himself. Someone who escapes from unbelief reaches familiarity, but someone who escapes from himself reaches friendship. A thousand way stations stand between familiarity and friendship, and a thousand valleys between love and the Friend.
In love for You I have never arrived at a way station
in which the mind was not bewildered at the arrival.
God has set a seal on their hearts, impressing on them and making certain that no good enters them; and on their hearing, [in which He has] deposited something so that they cannot profit from the truth they hear; and on their eyes is a covering, that is, a veil so that they do not see the truth; and for them there will be a mighty chastisement, that is, intense and everlasting.
God has set a seal on their hearts, and on their hearing; and on their eyes is a covering; and for them there will be a mighty chastisement], [all of this] refers to the foremost group of the wretched ones who are subject to the overwhelming divine power (qahr ilāhī) for whom no warning is of any use and who have no means to being saved from the Fire: 'those are the ones against whom the word of your Lord was fulfilled: that they shall not believe' [cf. Q. 10:33] and thus was the word of your Lord fulfilled against those who disbelieve: that they shall be the inhabitants of the Fire [Q. 40:6] all paths shall be closed to them and the gates [of hell] shall be sealed shut upon them. For the heart is the divine waymark of the senses, the locus of inspiration from which they are veiled by its [the heart's] being sealed; while the hearing and the sight are the human waymarks of the senses, the pure ones which constitute the two gates of understanding and the capacity to take heed. These [wretched ones] are thus denied the use of these two [waymarks] because meaning is unable to penetrate from them into the heart. Thus they have no access inwardly to the unveiling knowledge of experiential taste, nor outwardly to taught and acquired knowledge and so they are interned in the prisons of darkness: how mighty therefore is their chastisement!
(Khatama Allah) means, "Allah has sealed.'' Qatadah said that this Ayah means, "Shaytan controlled them when they obeyed him. Therefore, Allah sealed their hearts, hearing and sight, and they could neither see the guidance nor hear, comprehend or understand.'' Ibn Jurayj said that Mujahid said,
خَتَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ
(Allah has set a seal on their hearts), "A stamp. It occurs when sin resides in the heart and surrounds it from all sides, and this submersion of the heart in sin constitutes a stamp, meaning a seal.'' Ibn Jurayj also said that the seal is placed on the heart and the hearing. In addition, Ibn Jurayj said, that `Abdullah bin Kathir narrated that Mujahid said, "The stain is not as bad as the stamp, the stamp is not as bad as the lock which is the worst type.'' Al-A`mash said, "Mujahid demonstrated with his hand while saying, `They used to say that the heart is just like this - meaning the open palm. When the servant commits a sin, a part of the heart will be rolled up - and he rolled up his index finger. When the servant commits another sin, a part of the heart will be rolled up' - and he rolled up another finger, until he rolled up all of his fingers. Then he said, `Then, the heart will be sealed.' Mujahid also said that this is the description of the Ran (refer to 83:14).''
Al-Qurtubi said, "The Ummah has agreed that Allah has described Himself with sealing and closing the hearts of the disbelievers, as a punishment for their disbelief. Similarly, Allah said,
بَلْ طَبَعَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهَا بِكُفْرِهِمْ
(Nay, Allah has set a seal upon their hearts because of their disbelief) (4:155).''
He then mentioned the Hadith about changing the hearts, (in which the Prophet supplicated),
(The Fitan (trials, tests) are offered to the hearts, just as the straws that are sewn into a woven mat, one after another. Any heart that accepts the Fitan, then a black dot will be engraved on it. Any heart that rejects the Fitan, then a white dot will be engraved on it. The hearts will therefore become two categories: white, just like the barren rock; no Fitnah shall ever harm this category as long as the heavens and earth still exist. Another category is black, just as the cup that is turned upside down, for this heart does not recognize righteousness or renounce evil. )
Ibn Jarir said, "The truth regarding this subject is what the authentic Hadith from the Messenger of Allah stated. Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said,
(When the believer commits a sin, a black dot will be engraved on his heart. If he repents, refrains and regrets, his heart will be polished again. If he commits more errors, the dots will increase until they cover his heart. This is the Ran (stain) that Allah described,
(Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing), then pausing, then continuing with,
وَعَلَى أَبْصَـرِهِمْ غِشَـوَةٌ
(And on their eyes there is a Ghishawah (covering)) is accurate, for the stamp is placed on the heart and the hearing while the Ghishawah, the covering, is appropriately placed on the eyes. In his Tafsir, As-Suddi said that Ibn `Abbas and Ibn Mas`ud said about Allah's statement,
(Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing), "So that they neither understand nor hear. Allah also said that He placed a covering on their sight, meaning eyes, and so, they do not see.''
We mentioned that four Ayat in the beginning of Surat Al-Baqarah described the believers. The two last Ayat (2:6-7) describe the disbelievers. Afterwards, Allah begins to describe the hypocrites who show belief and hide disbelief. Since the matter of the hypocrites is vague and many people do not realize their true reality, Allah mentioned their description in detail. Each of the characteristics that Allah used to described them with is a type of hypocrisy itself. Allah revealed Surat Bara'ah (chapter 9) and Surat Al-Munafiqun (chapter 63) about the hypocrites. He also mentioned the hypocrites in Surat An-Nur (24) and other Surahs, so that their description would be known and their ways and errors could be avoided. Allah said,
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
That is, they refused to believe and fulfil all or any of the above mentioned six conditions.
It does not mean that Allah had sealed up their hearts, so they refused to believe. But it means that when they rejected the above-mentioned pre-requisites of belief and chose and adopted for themselves a way contrary to the one presented by the Qur'an, Allah sealed up their hearts and ears. The Qur'an simply states a law of Nature: if one takes a biased view of something and deliberately nourishes prejudices against it in his mind, he can neither see any virtue in it nor hear anything in its favour nor open his heart to consider it dispassionately. This is the law of Nature and, as it is Allah's law, the act of sealing up of the hearts and the ears and the covering of the eyes has been attributed to Him.
God has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing; and on their eyes is a covering; and for them will be a mighty chastisement. The seal on something prevents anything from entering it or coming out. Similarly the Real سبحانه has determined that the ignorance and error in the hearts of His enemies will not be removed nor will any insight or guidance enter into them. There is a covering of forsakenness over the hearing of their hearts. The faculties of hearing have been blocked from receiving the speech of the Real with respect to belief so the whisperings of Satan and the murmurings hawājis of their lower selves distract [the heart] from listening to the intuitions khawāṬir that come from the Real. As for the elect the intuitions that come from different kinds of knowledge ʿulūm and preoccupation with the results to questions in their hearts-these distract their hearts from the secrets of the Real coming to them without intermediary. That is only for the elect of the elect. For this reason the Messenger of God ﷺ said “There have been inspired men muḥaddathūn in communities and if there is one in my community it is ʿUmar.”This inspired one is singled out from the elect just as the one who possesses different types of knowledge is singled out from among ordinary people. There is a covering over the eyes of outsiders so they will not see either by the “sight” baṣar of different kinds of knowledge or by the inner sight baṣīra of realities. And for them will be a mighty chastisement because of their supposing that they have something and their heedlessness of what they have been given in tribulation in the present fī l-ḥāl and the end wa-l-maÌāl in their separation in the here and now fī l-ʿājili furqatihi and their burning in what is to come wa-fī l-ājil ḥurqatihi.