Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Between them) between Paradise and hell (is a veil) a wall. (And on the Heights are men) on the wall are men-whose good deeds are of the same amount as their evil deeds; it is also said these are men of knowledge and experts in law but who held doubts about provision (who know them all) all those who enter hell and those who enter Paradise (by their marks) they know those who enter hell by their darkened faces and blue eyes and those who enter Paradise by their lightened faces: at once handsome and radiant. (And they) the people on the wall (call unto the dwellers of the Garden: Peace be unto you) O people of Paradise! (They enter it not) yet (although they hope (to enter)) i.e. the people on the wall.
And upon the Ramparts are men who recognize everyone by their marks.
What men are they that the Exalted Lord should call them men!? They are men over whom the wind of solicitude and breeze of kind favor has suddenly passed from the side of Proximity.
When the north wind passes over the rose, the rose leaves its scent in the garden.
When the wind of solicitude passes over them, it brings their hearts to life with the light of recognition, it makes their spirits sweet-scented with the perfume of union with Him, and it brightens their secret cores with the polish of solicitude. It lets them enjoy the togetherness of aspiration and the beauty of conduct so that they may lift their aspirations entirely away from the creatures and busy themselves with love for the Real.
Yearning for You has perplexed the yearner in Your street.
Separated from the creatures, he is happy with rags.
His eyes are like a circle of pearls from the burning in his liver, his sighs like a string of coral from the fire in his heart.
Hence in this world the Exalted Lord lets them gaze down on the secret cores and states of the servants, and in the afterworld He will let them gaze down on the way stations and degrees of the faithful. He will make their station above that of the creatures so that they will know everyone, but no one will know them. They will recognize everyone, but no one will recognize them. This is why He says, “who recognize everyone by their marks.” Everyone has a mark, and their mark is their marklessness. Everyone has remained with an attribute in himself, and their attribute is selflessness. The hell-dwellers are held back from the Real by the shackle of opposition, the paradise-dwellers are at ease in paradise with their own shares, but He keeps them away from both and gives them an overview of all.
The Pir of the Tariqah said, “O God, how lovely are the days of Your friends with You, how beautiful their practice in hoping to have a vision of You, how sweet their conversation in the road of searching for You, how magnificent their time when in Your work!”
And between them, that is, [between] the inhabitants of Paradise and those of the Fire, is a veil, a barrier, said to be the wall of the Heights, and on the Heights, which is, the wall of Paradise, are men, whose good deeds and evil deeds are equal, as [is stated] in the hadīth, who know each, of the inhabitants of Paradise and those of the Fire, by their mark — glowing faces in the case of the believers and blackened [ones] in the case of the disbelievers, for they are able to see them, their position being high — and they call to the inhabitants of Paradise: ‘Peace be upon you!’ God, exalted be He, says: They, that is, those men of the Heights, have not entered it, Paradise, although they aspire, to enter it. Al-Hasan [al-Basrī] said, ‘God causes them to have this aspiration only because He desires to be generous to them’. Al-Hākim reported that Hudhayfa [b. al-Yamān] said, ‘While they are in this situation, God appears to them and says “Get up and enter Paradise, for I have forgiven you”.’
And between them is a veil, that is, among the people of the Garden and among the people of the Fire there is a veil by which each one of them is veiled from the next person. What is meant by the people of the Garden here is the people who receive the reward for deeds in the way of the pious ones, the ascetics and the devout whose Garden shall be the garden of souls, otherwise they are the people of the garden of hearts and spirits who are not veiled from the people of the Fire. And on the Heights, that is, at the topmost part of that veil, which is the veil of the heart that separates the two parties, one to the right and another to its left, there are men, the knowers, the folk of God and His elect, who know each, one of the two parties, by their mark: they greet the inhabitants of the Garden by extending [to them] the causes of purification, adornment and the lights of the heart and [by] effusing good things and blessings upon them. They have not yet entered the Garden because of their being disengaged from the garments of the attributes of souls and their goodly things and [because of] their rising above their stage such that no bliss can distract them from the presential vision of the Essence and the contemplation of the self-disclosures of the attributes; although they aspire, that these enter [it] so that they might acquire something of their light and be illumined by the rays issuing from the countenances of these and find intimacy in their presence.
After Allah mentioned that the people of Paradise will address the people of the Fire, He stated that there is a barrier between Paradise and the Fire, which prevents the people of the Fire from reaching Paradise. Ibn Jarir said, "It is the wall that Allah described,
(So a wall will be put up between them, with a gate therein. Inside it will be mercy, and outside it will be torment.) 57:13 It is also about Al-A`raf that Allah said,
وَعَلَى الاٌّعْرَافِ رِجَالٌ
(and on Al-A`raf will be men).'' Ibn Jarir recorded that As-Suddi said about Allah's statement,
(And between them will be a screen) "It is the wall, it is Al-A`raf.'' Mujahid said, "Al-A`raf is a barrier between Paradise and the Fire, a wall that has a gate.'' Ibn Jarir said, "Al-A`raf is plural for `Urf, where every elevated piece of land is known as `Urf to the Arabs.'' As-Suddi said, "Al-A`raf is so named because its residents recognize (Ya`rifun) the people. Al-A`raf's residents are those whose good and bad deeds are equal, as Hudhayfah, Ibn `Abbas, Ibn Mas`ud and several of the Salaf and later generations said.'' Ibn Jarir recorded that Hudhayfah was asked about the people of Al-A`raf and he said, "A people whose good and bad deeds are equal. Their evil deeds prevented them from qualifying to enter Paradise, and their good deeds qualified them to avoid the Fire. Therefore, they are stopped there on the wall until Allah judges them.'' Ma`mar said that Al-Hasan recited this Ayah,
لَمْ يَدْخُلُوهَا وَهُمْ يَطْمَعُونَ
(and at that time they will not yet have entered it (Paradise), but they will hope to enter (it).) Then he said, "By Allah! Allah did not put this hope in their hearts, except for an honor that He intends to bestow on them.'' Qatadah said; "Those who hope are those among you whom Allah informed of their places.'' Allah said next,
(And when their eyes will be turned towards the dwellers of the Fire, they will say: "Our Lord! Place us not with the people who are wrongdoers.'') Ad-Dahhak reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "When the people of Al-A`raf look at the people of the Fire and recognize them, they will supplicate, `O Lord! Do not place us with the people who are wrongdoers.'''
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
The people on 'the Heights' will be those with pending cases. While their positive sides will not be so strong as to merit admission into Paradise, their negative sides will not be so weak as to condemn them to Hell. Therefore they will wait for the decisions of their cases on 'the Height' between Paradise and Hell.
And on the Heights are men…He said:The People of the Heights are the people of gnosis (maʿrifa). God, Exalted is He, said: …who know each by their mark [7:47]. Their standing is due to the honour (sharaf) they enjoy in the two abodes and with the inhabitants of both, and the two angels know them. Likewise [God] enabled them to see into (ashrafahum) the secrets of His servants and their states in this world. His words, Exalted is He: