Here Allah mentions the destiny of the righteous in the Hereafter, those who believe in Allah and His Messenger and do righteous deeds in accordance with the Laws of Allah.
لَهُمْ جَنَّـتُ النَّعِيمِ
(for them are Gardens of Delight.) means, there they will enjoy all kinds of delights and pleasures, food, drink, clothing, dwelling-places, means of transportation, women, a light of beauty and delightful sounds, which have never crossed the mind of any human being. They will stay there forever, never leaving and never desiring change.
وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقًّا
(It is a promise of Allah in truth.) meaning, this will undoubtedly come to pass, for it is a promise from Allah, and Allah never breaks His promise, because He is the Most Generous Bestower Who does what He wills and is able to do all things.
(And He is the All-Mighty,) Who has subjugated all things and to Whom all things submit,
(the All-Wise.) in what He says and what He does, Who has made this Qur'an a guidance to the believers.
(And We send down of the Qur'an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe, and it increases the wrongdoers nothing but loss.) (17:82)
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
That is, "On the one hand, there is this Mercy and Guidance sent down by Allah, of which some people arc taking full advantage, and on the other, there are also some unfortunate people living side by side with the fortunate ones, who are adopting this sort of attitude as against the Revelations of Allah. "
The words lahv al-hadith in the Text imply such a thing as may allure and absorb a listener completely and make him heedless of everything else around him. Lexically, there is nothing derogatory in these words, but in custom and usage they apply to evil and useless and vain things, such as gossip, nonsensical talk, joking and jesting, legends and tales, singing and merry-making, etc.
"To buy" alluring tales may also mean that the person concerned adopts falsehood instead of the Truth, turns away from the guidance and turns to those things which can neither benefit him in the world nor in the Hereafter. But this is the metaphorical meaning. The real meaning of the sentence is that a person should purchase an absurd and useless thing for his money, and this is supported by many traditions. Ibn Hisham has related on the authority of Ibn Ishaq that when the disbelievers of Makkah could not stop the message of the Holy Prophet from spreading in spite of their best efforts, Nadr bin Harith said to the people of Quraish: "The way you are counteracting this man will avail you nothing. He has lived a lifetime among you. Until now he was the best of your men morally: he was the most truthful and the most trustworthy person among you. Now you say that he is a sorcerer and enchanter and a poet and a madman. Who will believe all this? Don't the people know the way the sorcerers talk? Don't they know the enchanters and the way they conduct their business? Are they unaware of poetry and of. the states of madness? Which of these accusations sticks to Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) by exploiting which you would turn the people's attention away from him? Look! I will tell you how to deal with him." Then he left Makkah for Iraq and managed to get from there legends and tales about the kings of Iran and Rustam and Isfandyar and started to arrange tale-telling parties to distract the people from the Qur'an and to absorb them in the tales. (Ibn Hisham. vol. I, pp. 320-321). The same tradition has been cited by Vahidi in Asbab un Nazul on the authority of Kalbi and Muqatil. And according to Ibn 'Abbas, Nadr had bough singing girls also for the purpose. Whenever he heard that someone was coming under the Holy Prophet's influence, he would impose a singing girl an him with the instruction: "Feed him and entertain him with your songs so that he is absorbed in you and distracted from the other side." This was the same device which the arch-criminals of the nations have been employing in every age. They try to get the common people so absorbed in fun and sport and musical entertainment's in the name of culture that they are left with no time and sense to attend to the serious problems of life, and in their heedlessness they do not even feel what destruction they are being driven to.
The same commentary of lahv al-hadith has been reported from a large number of the Companions and their immediate followers. 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud was asked, 'What does lahv al-hadith mean in this verse ?" He said thrice emphatically. 'By God! it means singing." (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Shaibah. Hakim, Baihaqi). Similar traditions have been reported from scholars like 'Abdullah bin' Abbas, Jabir bin 'Abdullah, Mujahid, 'Ikrimah, Said bin Jubair, Hasan Basri: and Makhul. Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim and Tirmidhi have related on the authority of Hadrat Abu Umamah Baheli that the Holy Prophet said, "It is not lawful to buy and sell and trade in singing girls nor is it lawful to take their price." In another tradition, the last sentence is to the effect:... it is unlawful to eat their price". Yet another tradition from Abu Umamah is to the effect: To teach music to slave-girls and to trade in them is not lawful and their price is forbidden." AII these Ahadith also elucidate that the verse containing lahv al-hadith was sent down in this very connection. Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn al-'Arabi has related in the Ahkam alQur'an a Hadith from Hadrat 'Abdullah bin Mubarak and Imam Malik on the authority of Hadrat Anas, saying, that the Holy Prophet said: 'He who hears the song of a singing-girl in a musical concert, will have molten lead poured into his ear on the Day of Judgment" (In this connection, one should also note that the culture" of music in those days flourished almost entirely through the slave-girls: Free women had not yet become "artists". That is why the Holy Prophet spoke about trading in slave-girls, and described their wages and earnings as their price. and used the word qaynah for the singing-girl, which is specifically used for a slave-girl in Arabic).
"Without any knowledge" may be connected with "buys" and also "lead...astray". In the first case, it would mean: 'The ignorant foolish person buys this alluring thing and does not know that he is buying a ruinous thing at the cost of a highly valuable thing. On the one hand, there are the Divine verses which are full of wisdom and guidance, which he can obtain without any cost, but he turns away from them. On the other, there are these absurd things, which are disastrous for his morals and he is expending his wealth to obtain them. " In the second case, it would mean: "He has come out to guide the people without any knowledge: he does not know what burden of sin he is taking on himself by trying to lead the people astray from Allah's Way."
That is, This person wants to make fun of the Divine Revelations by alluring and absorbing the people in legends and tales and music. He intends that the invitation of the Qur'an should be derided and ridiculed and laughed away. He plans to fight the Religion of God with the strategy that as soon as Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) should come out to recite Revelations of God to the people, there should be a charming, sweet-voiced damsel giving her performance in a musical concert. on the one hand, and a glib-tongued story teller telling tales and legends of Iran, on the other, and the people should become so absorbed in these cultural activities" that they may not be in a mood to hear anything about God and the morals and the Hereafter."
This punishment will be in accordance with their crime. They want to debase and disgrace God's Religion, His Revelations and His Messenger; God will rake His vengeance on them by giving them a disgraceful torment.
Instead of saying 'There are blessings of Paradise (Gardens) for them," it has been said, there are blissful Gardens for them." In the first case, it would have meant this: "They will enjoy the blessings but the Gardens will not belong to them." In the second case, it automatically becomes evident that the whole Gardens will be handed over to them, and they will take advantage of their blessings as an owner does of his own possession, and not like the one who is allowed to use something without giving him ownership rights over it."
That is, "Nothing can withhold Him from fulfilling His promise, and whatever He does, He does strictly according to the demands of wisdom and justice. The object of mentioning these two attributes of Allah after saying: This 'is a true promise of Allah", is to stress that Allah neither violates His promise willfully nor is there in this universe any such power as can prevent Him from fulfilling His promise. Therefore, there can be no chance that one may not receive what Allah has promised to give as a reward for faith and righteous deeds. Moreover, Allah's open promise to bestow this reward is wholly based on His wisdom and His justice. He does not misjudge: it cannot be that He may deprive a deserving person of his reward, and reward a non-deserving one instead. The people characterized by taste faith and righteous deeds indeed deserve this reward and Allah will bestow this on them only."