Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Then, even after that) after bringing 'Amil back to life and informing you about his murderer, (your hearts were hardened) dry and barren (and became as rocks, or worse than rock, for hardness. For indeed there are rocks from out which rivers gush, and indeed there are some which split asunder so that water floweth from them. And indeed there are some which fall down) from the top of mountains to the bottom (for the fear of Allah) but your hearts are not moved by fear of Allah. (Allah is not unaware of) will not leave unpunished (what ye do) of transgressions; and it is said the meaning is: what you hide of transgression.
Then your hearts became hardened after that, so they were like stones or even harder. And there are stones from which rivers come gushing, and among them are those that split and water comes forth from them, and among them are those that fall down in fear of God.
In the case of the ignorant, the hardening of the heart is unkindness, lack of mercy, and distance from the path of the Real. In the case of the recognizers, the purifiers, and the limpid, hardening is the strength of the heart, the state of stability, the perfection of knowledge, and the state of limpidness. Abū Bakr used to show it from himself. Whenever he saw that someone was weeping and twisting in himself because of listening to the Qur'an, he would say, “I was like that until the hearts became hardened.”
This hardening is an allusion to the perfection of the state of the recognizers and the majesty of the level of the sincerely truthful. At the beginning of the work and the outset of desire the beginners shout, wail, cry, and weep, for passion has not yet fully established its rulership. When
the work reaches perfection, the limpidness of recognition becomes strong and the ruling power of passion fully establishes its rulership. Then that shouting and wailing are put aside, and joy and revelry arrive. With the tongue of their state they say,
“At first when passion for that beauty was new
my neighbors did not sleep at night because of my weeping.
Now I weep less because my passion has increasedWhen fire takes over, there's little smoke.”
There are stones from which rivers come gushing, and among them are those that split and water comes forth from them, and among them are those that fall down in fear of God. He made hard stones more excellent than cruel hearts and superior to them. He is saying, “Water comes from stone, and it becomes soft, and in fear of God it falls into the desert. But a cruel heart in the makeup of an estranged man does not moan in fear of God or weep in remorse, nor do mercy and tenderness enter into it.”
The stories say that one of God's prophets was passing through a desert and saw a small stone from which was flowing a great deal of water, much greater than the measure of the stone.
The prophet stood there and wondered at its state. “What is the state of this stone? What is this water flowing from it?”
The Exalted Lord brought that stone into speech for him. It said, “O prophet of the Real! This water you see is my weeping. From the day it reached me that the Exalted Lord says, 'Its fuel is men and stones' [66:6], I have wept in remorse and fear.”
The prophet said, “Lord God, give it security from the Fire!” Revelation came to him, “I have given it security from the Fire.”
The prophet went away and came back another day. He saw that the stone was weeping just like before-the water was flowing. He remained in wonder at that. The Exalted Lord made the stone speak again. It said, “O prophet of God! Why do you wonder at my weeping? God has given me security from the Fire. My first weeping was from remorse and sorrow, but this weeping is from happiness and gratitude.”
The Pir of the Tariqah said, “O God, I have a long weeping in my head. I do not know if I weep from remorse or from joy. Weeping from remorse is the portion of an orphan, weeping from joy the portion of a candle. What is it to weep from joy? That story is long.”
Then your hearts became hardened, O you Jews, they [your hearts] became stiffened against acceptance of the truth, thereafter, that is, after what is mentioned of the bringing back to life of the slain man and the other signs before this; and they are like stones, in their hardness, or even yet harder, than these; for there are stones from which rivers come gushing, and others split (yashshaqqaq: the initial tā’ [of the root-form yatashaqqaq] has been assimilated with the shīn), so that water issues from them; and others come down, from on high, in fear of God, while your hearts are unmoved, unstirred and not humbled; And God is not heedless of what you do, but instead, He gives you respite until your time comes (ta‘malūna, ‘you do’: a variant reading has ya‘malūna, ‘they do’, indicating a shift to the third person address).
Then your hearts became hardened [thereafter], in other words, after the duration became prolonged and the languor of the extent of the interval with one variegation (talwīn) after another and one attitude after another, your hearts became hardened because of the frequency with which you pursue [this-worldly] matters, corporeal pleasures and being surrounded by ego-centric attributes; and they are like stones, that are unaffected by the engravings of knowledge, or, something, even yet harder, than that, such as iron, for example. He then illustrates how stones are more malleable than these [hearts of theirs], since the state of these [stones] are limited to [one of] the three aspects mentioned. This means that hearts are of four [kinds]: a heart that is illumined by the divine light, obliterated by it, ploughing deep into the sea of knowledge, ensconced in it, so that there gushes forth from it rivers of knowledge, whoever drinks from them lives forever, as is the case with the hearts of the people of God, the foremost [towards God], and this is what is alluded to in His statement: for there are stones from which rivers come gushing; [or] a heart that drank from knowledge, learnt and absorbed [it] and people profited from it, as is the case with the hearts of the scholars deeply-rooted in knowledge, and this is what is alluded to in His statement: and others split so that water issues from them; [or] a heart that is humble, pliant, submits and is obedient, as is the case with the hearts of [God's] servants and pious renouncers from among the Muslims, and this is what is alluded to in His statement: and others come down in fear of God;. The lowest of its states is that it comes down in fear of God, that is to say, to obey what God has commanded in the way of inclining to the centre compliantly. There then remains that heart which is not affected at all by knowledge and has not been made more pliant by fear, rejecting guidance, arrogant, filled with caprice, and rebellious, such that there is no substance that resembles it, since all [substances] receive what God has commanded: consider how even iron can be made malleable when required. The Prophet said: 'The similitude of the guidance and knowledge with which God has sent me is as the abundant rain that falls on a land, of which one part is wholesome and receives the water and produces plentiful herbage and grass, while another part is subservient, retains the water by which God makes the people profit so that they drink, water and sow; another part on which it falls is a plain that does neither retains water nor produces herbage: that is the similitude of the one who acquires an understanding of religion, learns and acts [by it], and the similitude of the one who does nothing of the sort, rejecting the guidance of God that I have been sent with.
Thus did he [the Prophet] illustrate the last three [kinds of] hearts, while the first of the four is the Muḥammadan heart. And God is not heedless of what you do: a threat for those with hardened hearts, meaning that God is looking [over them] and veils them from His light and abandons them in their darknesses. The verses that you recite constitute the exoteric aspect of this [interpretation given]; however, [symbolic] interpretation is more appropriate.
(Has not the time come for the hearts of those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah ـ Islamic Monotheism) to be affected by Allah's Reminder (this Qur'an), and that which has been revealed of the truth, lest they become as those who received the Scripture (the Tawrah) and the Injil (Gospel)) before (i.e. Jews and Christians), and the term was prolonged for them and so their hearts were hardened And many of them were Fasiqun (the rebellious, the disobedient to Allah)) (57:16). v In his Tafsir, Al-`Awfi said that Ibn `Abbas said, "When the dead man was struck with a part of the cow, he stood up and became more alive than he ever was. He was asked, `Who killed you' He said, `My nephews killed me.' He then died again. His nephews said, after Allah took his life away, `By Allah! We did not kill him' and denied the truth while they knew it. Allah said,
فَهِىَ كَالْحِجَارَةِ أَوْ أَشَدُّ قَسْوَةً
(And became as stones or even worse in hardness). ''
And by the passage of time, the hearts of the Children of Israel were unlikely to accept any admonishment, even after the miracles and signs they withnessed. Their hearts became harder than stones, with no hope of ever softening. Sometimes, springs and rivers burst out of stones, some stones split and water comes out of them, even if there are no springs or rivers around them, sometimes stones fall down from mountaintops out of their fear of Allah. Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Ibn `Abbas said that,
(And indeed, there are stones out of which rivers gush forth, and indeed, there are of them (stones) which split asunder so that water flows from them, and indeed, there are of them (stones) which fall down for fear of Allah), means, "Some stones are softer than your hearts, they acknowledge the truth that you are being called to,
وَمَا اللَّهُ بِغَـفِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ
(And Allah is not unaware of what you do).''
Solid Inanimate Objects possess a certain Degree of Awareness
Some claimed that the Ayat mentioned the stones being humble as a metaphor. However, Ar-Razi, Al-Qurtubi and other Imams said that there is no need for this explanation, because Allah creates this characteristic - humbleness - in stones. For instance, Allah said,
(On the Day of Resurrection it will testifiy for those who kiss it.)
There are several other texts with this meaning. The scholars of the Arabic language disagreed over the meaning of Allah's statement,
فَهِىَ كَالْحِجَارَةِ أَوْ أَشَدُّ قَسْوَةً
(And became as stones or even worse in hardness) after agreeing that `or' here is not being used to reflect doubt. Some scholars said that `or' here means, `and'. So the meaning becomes, "As hard as stones, and harder.'' For instance, Allah said,
وَلاَ تُطِعْ مِنْهُمْ ءَاثِماً أَوْ كَفُوراً
(And obey not a sinner or a disbeliever among them) (76:24), and,
عُذْراً أَوْ نُذْراً
(To cut off all excuses or to warn) (77:6).
Some other scholars said that `or' here means, `rather'. Hence, the meaning becomes, `As hard as stones. Rather, harder.' For instance, Allah said,
(And We sent him to a hundred thousand (people) or even more) (37:147), and,
فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنَى
(And was at a distance of two bows' length or (even) nearer) (53:9).
Some other scholars said that this Ayah means their hearts are only of two types, as hard as stone or harder than stone. Further, Ibn Jarir commented that this Tafsir means that some of their hearts are as hard as stone and some hearts are harder than stone. Ibn Jarir said that he favored this last Tafsir, although the others are plausible. I - Ibn Kathir - say that the last Tafsir is similar to Allah's statement,
مَثَلُهُمْ كَمَثَلِ الَّذِى اسْتَوْقَدَ نَاراً
(Their likeness is as the likeness of one who kindled a fire) (2:17), and then His statement,
(As for those who disbelieved, their deeds are like a mirage in a desert) (24:39), and then His statement,
أَوْ كَظُلُمَـتٍ فِى بَحْرٍ لُّجِّىٍّ
(Or (the state of a disbeliever) is like the darkness in a vast deep sea) (24:40).
This then means that some of them are like the first example, and some others are like the second example. Allah knows best.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
The wording of the Qur'an clearly shows that the murdered man came to life for a little while and told the name of his murderer. However, there is some ambiguity concerning the method applied for discovering the murderer, that is, the striking of the dead body of the murdered man with a piece of "the sacrificed cow". A method similar to this described in Deut. 21: 1-9, confirms the interpretation put forward by the ancient scholars, that is, the dead body was struck with a piece of the flesh of the sacrificed cow and it came to life. In this way, a Sign of Allah was shown and at the same time it was demonstrated that the object of their worship was so powerless that its slaughter did not cause any harm. On the contrary, its slaughter proved useful.
Then your hearts became hardened thereafter or even yet harder; for there are stones from which rivers come gushing and others split so that water issues from them; and others come down in fear of God; And God is not heedless of what you do. He explained that even though they witnessed weighty signs and had seen clear proofs when [divine] solicitude ʿināya did not help them and God did not decree guidance hidāya for them the many signs only increased their hardness qaswa and brought misery upon misery shaqwa for them from the hiding places of the [divine] preordination. He compared their hearts to stones because [stones] do not grow or thrive and their hearts likewise do not understand and are not aware. Then He explained that [their hearts] are even harder than stones for there are stones from which rivers come gushing and upon which the traces of the fear of God appear. But their hearts are empty of all good. How can it not be so when [their hearts] were made to suffer the turning of the Real from them muniyat bi-iʿrāḌi al-ḥaqqi ʿanhā and were singled out for the removal of all good from them wa-khuṣṣat bi-intizāʿi al-khayrāt minhā.