The Quran

Commentaries for 2.8

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.8 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And of mankind are some who say: We believe in Allah), i.e. in the open and we are genuine in our belief, (and the last Day) and we believe in resurrection after death whereupon our deeds shall be requited, (when they believe not) i.e. secretly nor are they genuine in their belief.
2.8 Asrar - Kashf Al-Asrar
Among the people are those who say, “We have faith in God.”
This is the story of the hypocrites. The secret of the hypocrites' hypocrisy goes back to the eminence of MuṣṬafā in two respects, one in respect of jealousy and the other in respect of mercy.
MuṣṬafā was the Real's beloved. His beauty and perfection passed beyond the limits of understanding and imagination, so by virtue of jealousy God kept him behind the curtain of His protection and made the hypocrites' hypocrisy the mask of his beauty. He was veiled from the world's folk so that no one recognized him in reality, and He did not show him to anyone as he was. Thou seest them looking at thee, but they do not see [7:198]. If the hypocrites' hypocrisy had not been the mask of that shining face, all the creatures would have thrown dust on the light of the Unseen. With such a sun, such a light, and such a brilliance, a hypocrisy was needed such as that of ʿAbdallāh Ubayy Salūl and his likes. Otherwise, the radiance of that beauty would have done more to the Adamites than the beauty of Jesus did to his people such that they said, “The Messiah is the son of God” [9:30].
This can be said with a simile: The sun's disk, whose rays shine forth from the fourth heaven, has turned its face toward the fifth heaven. God created angels and entrusted that disk to them, and He created deserts full of snow in front of those angels. They lift mountain after mountain of snow from those deserts and dash them against the sun's disk so that its heat will be broken. Otherwise, the world would burn because of its shine and heat. In the same way, the hypocrisy of the hypocrites was thrown against the presence of that sun of good fortune. Otherwise, the creatures would all have bound the belt of associationism. But, that paragon of the world was all gentleness and mercy, as he said: “I am a guided mercy.” God says, “We sent thee only as a mercy to the worlds” [21:107].
2.8 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
The following was revealed concerning the hypocrites: and some people there are who say, ‘We believe in God and the Last Day’, that is, in the Day of Resurrection because it is the very last day; but they are not believers (the [plural] import of man [in man yaqūl, ‘who says’] is taken into account here, as expressed by a pronoun [hum] that expresses this [plural] meaning).
2.8 Kashani - Kashani
And some people there are who say, 'We believe, these being the second group of the wretched who are deprived of [true] belief even as they claim [to have] it when they say 'we believe' in God, because the locus of belief is the heart and not the tongue: [as in the case of where] the bedouins say, 'We believe'. Say: 'You do not believe; but rather say, “We have submitted”, for faith has not yet entered into your hearts [Q. 49:14]. The meaning of their statement 'we believe in God and [in] the Last Day', is that they are claiming possession of the two [branches of] knowledge, that of God's oneness and that of the final return (maʿād), both of which constitute the principles of religion and its foundation. In other words, [they are saying] 'we are not like the polytheists who are veiled from the Truth nor like the People of the Scripture who are barred from [true knowledge of] religion and the final return - for, the teachings of the People of the Scripture concerning the final return does not accord with the truth. Know that to disbelieve is to be veiled and where one is veiled from the truth, as in the case of the polytheists, or from religion, as in the case of the People of the Scripture; and the one who is veiled from the truth is necessarily veiled from religion the very means by which one arrives at the truth. But the one who is veiled from religion may not necessarily be veiled from the truth. These, however, claim to be free of both veils at once. Thus they are shown to be liars by having their selves deprived of faith. In other words, so long as they are such they cannot be believers; [but they are not believers.]
2.8-9 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Meaning of Nifaq
Nifaq means to show conformity - or agreement - and to conceal evil. Nifaq has several types: Nifaq in the creed that causes its people to reside in Hell for eternity, and Nifaq in deed, which is one of the major sins, as we will explain soon, Allah willing. Ibn Jurayj said of the hypocrite that, "His actual deeds are different from what he publicizes, what he conceals is different from what he utters, his entrance and presence are not the same as his exit and absence.''
The Beginning of Hypocrisy
The revelations about the characteristics of the hypocrites were revealed in Al-Madinah, this is because there were no hypocrites in Makkah. Rather the opposite was the situation in Makkah, since some people were forced to pretend that they were disbelievers, while their hearts concealed their faith. Afterwards, the Messenger of Allah migrated to Al-Madinah, where the Ansar from the tribes of Aws and Khazraj resided. They used to worship idols during the pre-Islamic period of ignorance, just as the rest of the Arab idolators. Three Jewish tribes resided in Al-Madinah, Banu Qaynuqa`-allies of Al-Khazraj, Banu An-Nadir and Banu Qurayzah-allies of the Aws. Many members of the Aws and Khazraj tribes embraced Islam. However, only a few Jews embraced Islam, such as `Abdullah bin Salam. During the early stage in Al-Madinah, there weren't any hypocrites because the Muslims were not strong enough to be feared yet. On the contrary, the Messenger of Allah conducted peace treaties with the Jews and several other Arab tribes around Al-Madinah. Soon after, the battle of Badr occurred and Allah gave victory to Islam and its people. `Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul was a leader in Al-Madinah. He was Al-Khazraj's chief, and during the period of Jahiliyyah he was the master of both tribes - Aws and Khazraj. They were about to appoint him their king when the Message reached Al-Madinah, and many in Al-Madinah embraced Islam. Ibn Salul's heart was filled with hatred against Islam and its people. When the battle of Badr took place, he said, "Allah's religion has become apparent.'' So he pretended to be Muslim, along with many of those who were just like him, as well as many among the People of the Book. It was then that hypocrisy began in Al-Madinah and among the surrounding nomad tribes. As for the Emigrants, none of them were hypocrites, since they emigrated willingly (seeking the pleasure of Allah). Rather, when a Muslim would emigrate from Makkah, he would be forced to abandon all of his wealth, offspring and land; he would do so seeking Allah's reward in the Hereafter.
The Tafsir of Ayah 2:8
Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Ibn `Abbas said that,
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ ءَامَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَبِالْيَوْمِ الأْخِرِ وَمَا هُم بِمُؤْمِنِينَ
(And of mankind, there are some who say: "We believe in Allah and the Last Day'' while in fact they do not believe) "This refers to the hypocrites among the Aws and Khazraj and those who behaved as they did.''
This is how Abu Al-`Aliyah, Al-Hasan, Qatadah and As-Suddi explained this Ayah. Allah revealed the characteristics of the hypocrites, so that the believers would not be deceived by their outer appearance, thus saving the believers from a great evil. Otherwise, the believers might think that the hypocrites were believers, when in reality they are disbelievers. To consider the sinners as righteous people is extremely dangerous, Allah said,
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ ءَامَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَبِالْيَوْمِ الأْخِرِ وَمَا هُم بِمُؤْمِنِينَ
(And of mankind, there are some who say: "We believe in Allah and the Last Day'' while in fact they do not believe) meaning, they utter these false statements only with their tongues, just as Allah said,
إِذَا جَآءَكَ الْمُنَـفِقُونَ قَالُواْ نَشْهَدُ إِنَّكَ لَرَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ إِنَّكَ لَرَسُولُهُ
(When the hypocrites come to you (O Muhammad ), they say: "We bear witness that you are indeed the Messenger of Allah.'' Allah knows that you are indeed His Messenger) (63:1).
This Ayah means that the hypocrites utter these statements only when they meet you, not because they actually believe what they are saying. The hypocrites emphasize their belief in Allah and the Last Day with their words, when that is not the case in reality. Therefore, Allah stated that the hypocrites lie in their testimony of creed, when He said,
وَاللَّهُ يَشْهَدُ إِنَّ الْمُنَـفِقِينَ لَكَـذِبُونَ
(And Allah bears witness that the hypocrites are indeed liars.) (63:1), and,
وَمَا هُم بِمُؤْمِنِينَ
(while in fact they believe not)
Allah said,
يُخَـدِعُونَ اللَّهَ وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا
(They try to deceive Allah and those who believe). The hypocrites show belief outwardly while concealing disbelief. They think that by doing this, they will mislead Allah, or that the statements they utter will help them with Allah, and this is an indication of their total ignorance. They think that such behavior will deceive Allah, just as it might deceive some of the believers. Similarly, Allah said,
يَوْمَ يَبْعَثُهُمُ اللَّهِ جَمِيعاً فَيَحْلِفُونَ لَهُ كَمَا يَحْلِفُونَ لَكُمْ وَيَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُمْ عَلَى شَىْءٍ أَلاَ إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ الْكَـذِبُونَ
(On the Day when Allah will resurrect them all together; then they will swear to Him as they swear to you. And they think that they have something (to stand upon). Verily, they are liars!) (58:18). aHence, Allah refuted their way by saying,
وَمَا يَخْدَعُونَ إلاَّ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ
(While they only deceive themselves, and perceive (it) not!) Allah stated that the hypocrites only deceive themselves by this behavior, although they are unaware of this fact. Allah also said,
إِنَّ الْمُنَـفِقِينَ يُخَـدِعُونَ اللَّهَ وَهُوَ خَادِعُهُمْ
(Verily, the hypocrites try to deceive Allah, but it is He Who deceives them) (4:142).
Also, Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Ibn Jurayj commented on Allah's statement,
إِنَّ الْمُنَـفِقِينَ يُخَـدِعُونَ اللَّهَ وَهُوَ خَادِعُهُمْ
(Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, but it is He Who deceives them), "The hypocrites pronounce, `There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah' seeking to ensure the sanctity of their blood and money, all the while concealing disbelief.''Sa`id said that Qatadah said,
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ ءَامَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَبِالْيَوْمِ الأْخِرِ وَمَا هُم بِمُؤْمِنِينَ - يُخَـدِعُونَ اللَّهَ وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا وَمَا يَخْدَعُونَ إلاَّ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ
(And of mankind, there are some who say: "We believe in Allah and the Last Day'' while in fact they believe not. They try to deceive Allah and those who believe, while they only deceive themselves, and perceive (it) not!) "This is the description of a hypocrite. He is devious, he says the truth with his tongue and defies it with his heart and deeds. He wakes up in a condition other than the one he goes to sleep in, and goes to sleep in a different condition than the one he wakes up in. He changes his mind just like a ship that moves about whenever a wind blows.''
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.
2.8 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
And some people there are who say “We believe in God and the last day”; but they are not believers. They stayed firm in their hypocrisy and persisted in deceiving the Muslims so God tore off their veils by His saying “but they are not believers.” Thus it is said: Whoever adorns himself with something other than what is in him the test exposes what he is only pretending. When their words were stripped of their meanings the harm they received from them was greater than the benefit they had imagined in them for God most high said Verily the hypocrites will be in the lowest level of the fire [4:145]. If it were not for their hypocrisy their punishment would not have been increased. It is said that when they lacked true sincerity in their states ṣidq al-aḥwāl the correct words ṣidq al-aqwāl were of no benefit to them. God most high said “God bears witness that the hypocrites truly are liars” [63:1] for they used to say “We bear witness that you are indeed the Messenger of God.” In a similar way the one who outwardly declares what he has not yet realized will immediately be exposed before the masters of realization. It has been said: O you who claim love for Sulaymā You have nothing from her not even nail clippings. You are only like a wāw in [your] love for her attached in spelling in the wrong place to ʿAmr.