Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:17-20)
By: Mohammad Sobhanie
Unstable Life and Mindset of Hypocrites
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
مَثَلُهُمْ كَمَثَلِ الَّذِي اسْتَوْقَدَ نَارًا فَلَمَّا أَضَاءَتْ مَا حَوْلَهُ ذَهَبَ اللَّـهُ بِنُورِهِمْ وَتَرَكَهُمْ فِي ظُلُمَاتٍ لَّا يُبْصِرُونَ ﴿١٧﴾ صُمٌّ بُكْمٌ عُمْيٌ فَهُمْ لَا يَرْجِعُونَ ﴿١٨﴾ أَوْ كَصَيِّبٍ مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ فِيهِ ظُلُمَاتٌ وَرَعْدٌ وَبَرْقٌ يَجْعَلُونَ أَصَابِعَهُمْ فِي آذَانِهِم مِّنَ الصَّوَاعِقِ حَذَرَ الْمَوْتِ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ مُحِيطٌ بِالْكَافِرِينَ ﴿١٩﴾ يَكَادُ الْبَرْقُ يَخْطَفُ أَبْصَارَهُمْ ۖ كُلَّمَا أَضَاءَ لَهُم مَّشَوْا فِيهِ وَإِذَا أَظْلَمَ عَلَيْهِمْ قَامُوا ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّـهُ لَذَهَبَ بِسَمْعِهِمْ وَأَبْصَارِهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ ﴿٢٠﴾
Translation: Their parable is like that of a man who kindled a fire; then, when it illuminates all around him, Allah took away their light and left them in darkness, so they could see nothing.
They are deaf, dumb, and blind; so they will not return (to their senses).
Or like a rainstorm from the sky, wherein is darkness, thunder, and lightning. They thrust their fingers in their ears to keep out the stunning thunderclap for fear of death. But, Allah ever encompasses the disbelievers.
The lighting almost snatches away their sight; whenever it flashes for them, they walk therein, and when darkness covers them, they stand still. And if Allah willed, He could have taken away their hearing and their sight; surely Allah has power over all anything.
Commentary: Hypocrites use deceptive techniques to protect their social and political interest. Deception and compromise with evil may win temporary applause but the reward will never last long. Eventually, dishonest nature of hypocrites will be exposed and society will abandon them in disgrace.
The Quran used two parables to portray unstable life and mindset of hypocrites. In the first one, a hypocrite was likened to a hiker who had lost in a stormy night in an open wilderness. He realized that he cannot survive freezing cold and darkness of the night without fire. With difficulties he kindled a fire to benefit its light and warmth; but the fire did not last long. A strong wind blew and extinguished the fire and he was left in cold and darkness again. Story of the hiker was continued in the second parable.
There was a rainstorm; the thunder became almost deafening, and the lightning nearly blinding. The hiker was in mortal fear; he pressed his fingers in his ears to keep out the thunderclap and began to walk under the lighting. He took few steps whenever it was lightning and then he plunged into darkness again. How much wiser would he be if he humbled himself and sought the light of Faith!
Indeed, hypocrites live with fear and struggle aimlessly in the darkness of error. Willful and persistence rejection of the Faith1 made irreparable damage to their conscience and faculty. Hence they cannot return back to their nature2 which loves faith and hates disbelief and wickedness3.
1- The Quran [41:5]
3- [49:7 ]