The Quran

Commentaries for 45.23

Al Jathiya (Kneeling) - الجاثية

45.23 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Hast thou seen) O Muhammad (him who maketh his desire his god) the one who worships a deity because of the whim of his ego; whenever his ego desires something, he worships it-this refers to al-Nadr Ibn al-Harith-and it is also said that this refers to Abu Jahl; as it is said that this refers to al-Harith Ibn Qays, (and Allah sendeth him astray) from faith (purposely) as Allah knows he is among the folk of error, (and sealeth up his hearing) and Allah places a covering on his hearing so that he does not hear the Truth (and his heart) and a covering on his heart so that he does not understand the Truth, (and setteth on his sight a covering) and places a covering on his sight so that He does not see the Truth? (Then who will lead him) who will guide him to the religion of Allah (after Allah) has sent him astray? (Will ye not then heed) by means of the Qur'an and understand that Allah is one, without partners?
45.23 Asrar - Kashf Al-Asrar
Who then will guide them after God?
Once God has made them roadless, who in the entire world will bring them back to the road? From whom will they gain the means of approach when the road to the means of approach has been blocked to them? Today the tree of despair has grown old for them, instances of abandonment have come forth, and the destructiveness of justice has brought forth the dust of wealth. Tomorrow the caller of justice will begin the shout of abandonment:
45.23 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
Have you then seen, inform Me [about], him who has taken as his god his [own] desire, [that is] whatever [new] stone he may desire after [having desired] some other stone, considering this [new one] to be better, and whom God has led astray knowingly, on His part, exalted be He, that is to say, knowing him to be of those who follow misguidance before he was created, and set a seal upon his hearing and his heart, so that he cannot hear guidance or understand it, and laid a covering, a darkness, over his sight?, so that he cannot perceive guidance (here one should understand as implied the second direct object of [the verb] a-ra’ayta, ‘have you seen’, namely: a-yahtadī, ‘can he find guidance?). So who will guide him after God?, that is to say, after His leading him astray? In other words, he will not find guidance. Will you not then remember?, [will you not then] be admonished? (tadhakkarūna: one of the two tā’ letters [of the original form tatadhakkarūna] has been assimilated with the dhāl).
45.21-23 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Life and the Death of the Believers and the Disbelievers are not Equal
Allah the Exalted states here that the believers and the disbelievers are never equal. Allah said in another Ayah,
لاَ يَسْتَوِى أَصْحَـبُ النَّارِ وَأَصْحَـبُ الْجَنَّةِ أَصْحَـبُ الْجَنَّةِ هُمُ الْفَآئِزُونَ
(Not equal are the dwellers of the Fire and the dwellers of the Paradise. It is the dwellers of Paradise that will be successful.) (59:20) Allah said here,
أَمْ حَسِبَ الَّذِينَ اجْتَرَحُواْ السَّيِّئَـتِ
(Or do those who earn evil deeds think) those who commit and practice evil,
أَن نَّجْعَلَهُمْ كَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّـلِحَـتِ سَوَآءً مَّحْيَـهُمْ وَمَمَـتُهُمْ
(that We shall hold them equal with those who believe and do righteous good deeds, in their life and their death) treat them equally in the present life of the world and in the Hereafter
سَآءَ مَا يَحْكُمُونَ
(Worst is the judgement that they make.) `worst is the thought that they have about Us and about Our justice, thinking that We will ever make the pious and the wicked equal in the Hereafter or this life.' At--Tabarani recorded that Shu`bah said that `Amr bin Murrah narrated that Abu Ad-Duha said that Masruq said that Tamim Ad-Dari once stood in voluntary prayer through the night until the morning only reciting this Ayah,
أَمْ حَسِبَ الَّذِينَ اجْتَرَحُواْ السَّيِّئَـتِ أَن نَّجْعَلَهُمْ كَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّـلِحَـتِ
(Or do those who earn evil deeds think that We shall hold them equal with those who believe and do righteous good deeds) Allah said in reply:
سَآءَ مَا يَحْكُمُونَ
(Worst is the judgement that they make.) Allah said,
وَخَلَقَ اللَّهُ السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضَ بِالْحَقِّ
(And Allah has created the heavens and the earth with truth,) meaning, in justice,
وَلِتُجْزَى كُلُّ نَفْسٍ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ وَهُمْ لاَ يُظْلَمُونَ
(in order that each person may be recompensed what he has earned, and they will not be wronged.) Allah the Exalted said,
أَفَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَـهَهُ هَوَاهُ
(Have you seen him who takes his own lust as his god), who abides by his lust, and whatever his lust portrays as good he implements it, and whatever his lust portrays as evil, he abandons it! Allah's statement,
وَأَضَلَّهُ اللَّهُ عَلَى عِلْمٍ
(And Allah left him astray with knowledge, ) has two meanings. One of them is that Allah knew that this person deserves to be misguided, so He left him astray. The second meaning is that Allah led this person astray after knowledge reached him and the proof was established before him. The second meaning includes the first meaning, but not the opposite. Allah said,
وَخَتَمَ عَلَى سَمْعِهِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَجَعَلَ عَلَى بَصَرِهِ غِشَـوَةً
(and sealed his hearing and his heart, and put a cover on his sight.) so he does not hear what benefits him, understands not what would lead him to the guidance and sees not the evidence with which he can be enlightened. This is why Allah said,
فَمَن يَهْدِيهِ مِن بَعْدِ اللَّهِ أَفَلاَ تَذَكَّرُونَ
(Who then will guide him after Allah Will you not then remember) Allah said in a similar Ayah,
مَن يُضْلِلِ اللَّهُ فَلاَ هَادِيَ لَهُ وَيَذَرُهُمْ فِى طُغْيَـنِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ
(Whomsoever Allah sends astray, none can guide him; and He lets them wander blindly in their transgressions.) (7:186).
45.23 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
"To make one's lust one's god" implies that one should become a slave of one's lusts and desires: one should do whatever one likes whether God has forbidden it, and should not do what one dislikes, whether God has made it obligatory. When a man starts obeying somebody like this, it means that his deity is not God but the one whom he is obeying without question, no matter whether he calls him his lord (with the tongue) or not, and carves out an image of him and worship: him or not. For when he has worshiped him directly without question, it is enough to make him a deity and after this practical shirk one cannot be absolved from the guilt of shirk only because one did not call the object of one's worship one's deity with the tongue, nor prostrated oneself before it. The other major commentators also have given the same commentary of this verse. Ibn Jarir says: the forbidden things by Allah as forbidden, nor regarded the things made lawful by Him as lawful." Abu Bakr al-Jassas gives this meaning: "He obeys his lusts as one should obey one's God." Zamakhshari explains it, thus: "He is obedient to the lusts of his self: He follows his self wherever it beckons him, as if he serves him as one should serve one's God. " (For further explanation, scc E.N. 56 of Al Furqan, E.N. 63 of Saba, E N. 53 of Ya Sin, and E.N. 38 of Ash-Shura).
The words adalla hulla-hu 'ala 'ilm-in may either mean: "The person in spite of being knowledgeable was driven astray by Allah, for he had become a slave of his lusts ;" or "Allah, by virtue of His knowledge that he had made his lusts his god, drove him astray."
For the commentary of letting a person go astray and setting a seal upon his heart and ears and a coveting on his eyes, scc AI-Baqarah: 7, 18, AIAn'am:25 and E.N. 28, Al-A'raf: 100, At-Taubah: 87, 93, Yunus: 74 and E.N. 73, Ar-Ra'd: 27, Ibrahim: 4, 27, An-Nahl: 108, Bani Isra'il: 46, Ar-Rum; 59, Fatir: 8 and E.N.'s 16, 17, and E.N. 54 of Al-Mu'minun).
From the context in which this verse occurs, it becomes obvious that only those people deny the Hereafter, who want to serve their lusts and who regard belief in the Hereafter as an obstacle to their freedom. Then, once they. have denied the Hereafter, their servitude of the self goes on increasing and they go on wandering further into deviation. They commit every kind of evil without feeling any qualms; they do not hesitate to usurp the rights of others; they cannot be expected to restrain themselves when there is an opportunity for them to commit an excess or injustice only because of a regard for justice and truth in their hearts. The events and incidents that can serve as a warning for a man, are witnessed by them too, but they draw the wrong conclusion that whatever they are doing is right and they should do the same. No word of advice moves them; no argument, which can stop a man from evil, appeals to them; but they go on devising and furnishing more and more arguments to justify their unbridled freedom, and their minds remain day and night engaged only in devising ways and means of fulfilling their own interests and desires in every possible way instead of engaging in a good thought. This is an express proof of the fact that the denial of the Hereafter is destructive for human morals. The only thing that can restrain man within the bounds of humanity is the feeling that man is not irresponsible but has to render an account of his deeds before God. Being devoid of this feeling even if a person is highly learned, he cannot help adopting an attitude and behavior worse than that of the animals.
45.23 Tustari - Al-Tustari
Have you not seen him who has taken as his god his [own] desire...?He said:That is to say, have you considered the one who is submersed in the delights that his lower self [is deriving] from this world, being neither scrupulous (wariʿ) nor mindful of God (taqī)? Hence, he pursues his own will (murād), and does not take the path of emulation (iqtidāʾ), but prefers the lusts of this world over the bliss of the life to come. So, how will he be able to attain the high ranks and sublime stations (manāzil saniyya) in the Hereafter?
…and whom God led astray knowingly…?He said:That is, with God’s prior knowledge [concerning him] that He would withdraw from him His protection and aid.His words: