The Quran

Commentaries for 2.9

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.9 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(They try to deceive Allah) contravene against Him and denying Him in secret. It is also said that this means that they were so daring with Allah to the extent that they thought they had deceived Him; (and those who believe), Abu Bakr and all the Companions of Muhammad Allah bless him and give him peace; (and they deceive) lie to (none save themselves; but they perceive not), they do not know that Allah informs His Prophet about that which lies secret in their hearts.
2.9 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
They would deceive God and the believers, by manifesting the opposite of the unbelief they hide, so that they can avoid His rulings in this world; and only themselves they deceive (yukhādi‘ūn), for the evil consequences of their deception will rebound upon them, as they are disgraced in this world when God makes known to His Prophet what they are hiding, and they will be punished in the Hereafter; and they are not aware, and they do not know that they are actually deceiving themselves (mukhāda‘a [although a third verbal form, from khāda‘a] actually denotes a one-way action, such as [when one says] ‘āqabtu al-lissa, ‘I punished the thief’ [using the third verbal form ‘āqaba]; the mention of ‘God’ in [this statement] is for [rhetorical] effect; a variant reading [for wa-mā yukhādi‘ūna] has wa-mā yakhda‘ūna).
2.9 Kashani - Kashani
[They would deceive God and the believers; and only themselves they deceive; and they are not aware.] Deception (mukhādaʿa) is the act of deceit from two parties. It is to manifest good [intentions] while concealing evil [ones]. To deceive God is to deceive His Messenger, on account of God's saying whoever obeys the Messenger, verily obeys God [Q. 4:80] and His saying and you threw not when you threw but God threw [Q. 8:17]; and because he [the Prophet] is His beloved. A ḥadīth has it that: 'And My servant does not cease to approach me through supererogatory acts until I love him. And when I love him, I become his hearing with which he hears and his sight with which he sees and his tongue with which he speaks and his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks'.
Their deceit of God and the believers is their outward display of belief and love while concealing disbelief and enmity; while God's and the believers' deception of these [aforementioned] is keeping the peace [with them] and applying the rules of Islam in their case by deeming their blood illicit and giving protection to their possessions and otherwise, while what lies in store for them is a painful chastisement, an evil end and a terrible outcome, as well as their degradation in this world on account of their being exposed by God's informing them [the believers, of this reality] and the revelation about their status. However, the difference between the two acts of deception is that theirs [the disbelievers'] only succeeds in destroying their souls, filling them with anguish, leaving them with nothing but the evil consequence of their deeds and punishment, multiplying for them the darkness, disbelief and hypocrisy and bringing together the reasons for the perishing, banishment and wretchedness of these [souls]; whereas, [their] being deceived by God affects to the ultimate degree and brings them the most severe destruction, as where God says And they schemed, and God schemed, and God is the best of schemers [Q. 3:54]. As a result of being extremely engrossed in this ignorance of theirs, they do not sense this manifest matter [at all].
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.
2.9 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
They would deceive God and the believers; and they only deceive themselves; and they are not aware. The harm of their deception and the punishment for it comes back to themselves so it is as if they have deceived themselves in actuality for they devalue and belittle themselves. No one suffered the harm of their actions but themselves-they cut off their own lifeblood. When there is one who knows the true nature of things the one who desires to deceive him only deceives himself. The allusion in this verse is to the one who has forgotten [God's] prior kindness. He says “mine through me from me and I” slandering in his delusion and conjecture [what should be] “Yours through You from You and You.” This delusion is the most difficult of punishments because he sees a mirage sarāb and thinks it is drink sharāb until he comes to it and finds it to be nothing and he finds God there who pays him his account in full [24:39].