(Verily, Allah forgives not (the sin of) setting up partners (in worship) with Him, but He forgives whom He wills, sins other than that,) before and mentioned the relevant Hadiths in the beginning of this Surah. Allah's statement,
(and whoever sets up partners in worship with Allah, has indeed strayed far away.) means, he will have taken other than the true path, deviated from guidance and righteousness, destroyed himself in this life and the Hereafter, and lost contentment in this life and the Hereafter. Juwaybir said that Ad-Dahhak said about Allah's statement,
إِن يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِهِ إِلاَّ إِنَـثاً
(They invoke nothing but female deities besides Him (Allah),) "The idolators claimed that the angels are Allah's daughters, saying, `We only worship them so that they bring us closer to Allah.' So they took the angels as gods, made the shapes of girls and decided, `These (idols) resemble the daughters of Allah (i.e., the angels), Whom we worship. ''' This is similar to Allah's statements,
(And they make the angels who themselves are servants of the Most Gracious (Allah) females) and,
وَجَعَلُواْ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَ الْجِنَّةِ نَسَباً
(And they have invented a kinship between Him and the Jinn). Allah's statement,
وَإِن يَدْعُونَ إِلاَّ شَيْطَـناً مَّرِيداً
(and they invoke nothing but Shaytan, a persistent rebel!) means, Shaytan has commanded them to do this and made it seem fair and beautiful in their eyes. Consequently, they are worshipping Shaytan in reality, just as Allah said in another Ayah,
(Did I not command you, O Children of Adam, that you should not worship Shaytan) Allah said that, on the Day of Resurrection, the angels shall proclaim about the idolators who worshipped them in this life:
(Nay, but they used to worship the Jinn; most of them were believers in them). Allah's statement,
(Allah cursed him), means, He expelled him and banished him from His mercy and His grace.
لاّتَّخِذَنَّ مِنْ عِبَادِكَ نَصِيباً مَّفْرُوضاً
(I will take an appointed portion of your servants) means, a fixed and known share. Muqatil bin Hayyan commented, "From every one thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine will go to the Fire and one to Paradise.''
(Verily, I will mislead them) from the true path,
(and surely, I will arouse in them false desires;) tempting them to feign repentance, arousing false hopes in them, encouraging them to delay and procrastinate with righteous deeds, deceiving them.
(and certainly, I will order them to slit the ears of cattle,) meaning, slitting their ears to designate them as Bahirah, Sa'ibah, and a Wasilah, as Qatadah and As-Suddi stated.
وَلاّمُرَنَّهُمْ فَلَيُغَيِّرُنَّ خَلْقَ اللَّهِ
(And indeed I will order them to change the nature created by Allah.) means tattooing, according to Al-Hasan bin Abi Al-Hasan Al-Basri. In his Sahih, Muslim recorded the prohibition of tattooing the face, which in one of its wordings states: "May Allah curse whoever does this.'' It is also recorded in the Sahih that Ibn Mas`ud said, "May Allah curse those who have tattoos and those who do it, who pluck their (facial) hairs and the one who does it for them, and those who make spaces between their teeth for the purpose of beauty, changing what Allah has created.'' He then said, "Why should not I curse whom the Messenger of Allah has cursed, when the Book of Allah commands it,'' referring to the Ayah,
(And whoever takes Shaytan as a Wali (protector or helper) instead of Allah, has surely suffered a manifest loss.) means, he will have lost this life and the Hereafter. Indeed, this is a type of loss that cannot be compensated or restored. Allah's statement,
(He Shaytan makes promises to them, and arouses in them false desires;) explains the true reality. Surely, Shaytan deceitfully promises his supporters and tempts them into believing that they are winners in this and the Hereafter. This is why Allah said,
وَمَا يَعِدُهُمْ الشَّيْطَـنُ إِلاَّ غُرُوراً
(and Shaytan's promises are nothing but deceptions.) Allah states that on the Day of Return,
(And Shaytan will say when the matter has been decided: "Verily, Allah promised you a promise of truth. And I too promised you, but I betrayed you. I had no authority over you), until,
إِنَّ الظَّـلِمِينَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
(Verily, there is a painful torment for the wrongdoers.) Allah's statement,
(of such (people)) refers to those who like and prefer what Shaytan is promising and assuring them of,
(The dwelling of such (people) is Hell), as their destination and abode on the Day of Resurrection,
وَلاَ يَجِدُونَ عَنْهَا مَحِيصاً
(and they will find no way of escape from it.), meaning, they will not be able to avoid, avert, evade or elude the Hellfire.
The Reward of Righteous Believers
Allah then mentions the condition of the content righteous believers and the perfect honor they will earn in the end. Allah said,
وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّـلِحَاتِ
(And those who believe and do righteous good deeds,) meaning, their hearts were truthful and their limbs obedient with the righteous acts they were commanded, all the while abandoning the evil they were prohibited from doing.
(We shall admit them to Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise)) meaning, they will think of where they want these rivers to flow and they will flow there,
خَـلِدِينَ فِيهَآ أَبَداً
(to dwell therein forever), without end or being removed from it.
وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقًّا
(Allah's promise is the truth), meaning, this is a true promise from Allah, and verily, Allah's promise shall come to pass. Allah then said,
وَمَنْ أَصْدَقُ مِنَ اللَّهِ قِيلاً
(and whose words can be truer than those of Allah) meaning, none is more truthful in statement and narration than Allah. There is no deity worthy of worship, or Lord except Him. The Messenger of Allah used to proclaim in his speech,
(The most truthful speech is Allah's Speech, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad. The worst matters are the newly invented (in religion), every newly invented matter is an innovation, and every innovation is a heresy, and every heresy is in the Fire.)
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
In continuation of the foregoing theme, it has been stated that the hypocrite, who had in his anger gone to the side of the mushriks, did not fully realize the consequences of his foolish action. For this purpose, evils of the way he adopted and the nature of the fellows he accompanied have been pointed out.
Though none worships Satan by performing devotional ceremonies before him, the one who surrenders oneself entirely to him and follows him wherever he misleads, does act like a devotee of Satan. This also makes it plain that one who obeys any other blindly, in fact, worships him.
That is, "I will mark off for myself a portion of their time, their labor and their efforts, their energies and their abilities, their wealth and their offspring, and will entice them by deception so that they will devote the major portion of these in my way."
This alludes to one of the superstitious customs of the pagan Arabs. After a she-camel had given birth to five or ten young ones, they would slit her ears and dedicate her to their god and consider it unlawful to get any work from her. Likewise, if a camel had been a partner in the birth of ten young ones, his ears were also slit to mark that he had been dedicated to a god.
This does not condemn the alterations that man makes in the creation of God for their right and proper use, for in that case the whole of human civilization will stand condemned as a seduction of Satan. It is obvious that the civilization is nothing but the right and proper use of the things created by God. What the Qur'an describes as devilish alterations is to make wrong and improper use of things against human nature and against their natural functions. Hence, all those forms that are adopted as an escape from the designs of Nature are the results of the enticement of Satan e.g. sodomy, birth control, asceticism, etc. It is equally devilish that females should be made to give up their proper functions and to perform those duties which nature has assigned to males. Instances can be multiplied to show that the disciples of Satan consider the laws of the Creator of the Universe wrong and, therefore, are trying to "reform" them.
The success of Satan depends entirely upon false promises and deceit In order to mislead individuals and communities, he presents very rosy pictures of his wrong ways to re-assure his victims. He tempts one by holding out the promise of pleasure and success. He allures some by giving the surety of national power and prosperity, while he deludes others by the prospect of the welfare of humanity. and deceives still others by telling them that his is the right way of arriving at the Truth. He also entices some by assuring them that there is no God and Hereafter and that life ends with death and others by giving them a guarantee that they would escape the consequences in the Hereafter, if there is Hereafter by the intercession of this or that saint.
He promises them and fills them with desires; but what Satan promises them is only delusion. For such-their abode shall be hell and they shall find no refuge from it. For those whose allotment is being led astray in the present ḥāl He has decreed punishment in the end maÌāl. He makes appear what appears by His deliberative power-how could even a sliver of being astray or being guided belong to anyoneḍ To fully grasp the truth of [God's] oneness tawḥīd is a rare and precious thing-those who have mastered this are few.