Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:16)
By: Mohammad Sobhanie
Characteristics of Hypocrites
Trading Guidance for Error
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
أُولَـٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرَوُا الضَّلَالَةَ بِالْهُدَىٰ فَمَا رَبِحَت تِّجَارَتُهُمْ وَمَا كَانُوا مُهْتَدِينَ ﴿١٦﴾
Translation: They (hypocrites) have traded guidance for error. Their commerce has not profited them, and they have missed the true guidance.
Commentary: Our present life is the single opportunity we have to invest our precious time and worldly possessions for the benefit of our eternal life. Mankind can seek two paths in life; one path is the pursuit of illicit lust and indecency while the other path seeks freedom from temptation and a virtuous life. People taking the former path traded their present life for the Hellfire, while those who followed the latter path earned the eternal Paradise.1
The people of the Prophet’s era had a unique opportunity to become devout companions of the Prophet and help him in promoting the divine religion. The righteous people took advantage of this opportunity and supported the Prophet with their life and wealth, and they are promised the reward of eternal life in paradise.2
Whereas, disbelievers and hypocrites rejected deliberately the guidance and chose error instead. They invested their time and resources battling the Prophet. Contrary to their objectives, the religion of God prevailed3, and the hypocrites not only failed to achieve their goals, but also they devastated their eternal life.4.
The Imam Ali stated that in this world devoted servants of Allah earn divine mercy and eternal paradise. Disbelievers and hypocrites with their deeds earned Allah’s wrath and the eternal hellfire5.
1- Nahjul Balagha, Aphorism # 133
2- The Quran [9-111, 61:10-13]
4- [4:145 ]
5- Nahjul Balagha, Aphorism # 131