Fate of Disbelievers: Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:161-162) By: Mohammad Sobhanie

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Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:161-162)

By: Mohammad Sobhanie

 

Fate of Disbelievers

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَمَاتُوا وَهُمْ كُفَّارٌ أُولَـٰئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ لَعْنَةُ اللَّـهِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ ﴿١٦١﴾ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۖ لَا يُخَفَّفُ عَنْهُمُ الْعَذَابُ وَلَا هُمْ يُنظَرُونَ ﴿١٦٢﴾ وَإِلَـٰهُكُمْ إِلَـٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۖ لَّا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الرَّحْمَـٰنُ الرَّحِيمُ ﴿١٦٣

Translation:

2:159 Indeed, those who disbelieve and die while they are disbelievers – upon them will be the curse of Allah and of the angels and the people, all together,

2:160 Abiding eternally therein. The punishment will not be lightened for them, nor will they be reprieved.

2:163 And your god is one God. There is no deity [worthy of worship] except Him, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.

Commentary: Allah (SWT) issues a stern warning to those who die in the state of disbelief, [(الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَمَاتُوا وَهُمْ كُفَّارٌ)] that He would deprive them from His mercy and blessing of forgiveness in the Hereafter [(أُولَـٰئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ لَعْنَةُ اللَّـهِ)]. The angels and the people would invoke Allah (SWT) to deny disbelievers from His mercy as well [(وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ)].

Three dreadful fates are awaiting the disbelievers, according to verse 2:162. These are 1) they will abide in the Hell Fire forever [(خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا)], 2) their punishment will not be lightened [(لَا يُخَفَّفُ عَنْهُمُ الْعَذَابُ)] and 3) they would not be reprieved either [(وَلَا هُمْ يُنظَرُونَ)].

Disbelievers are those who make a conscious decision to denounce their faith after weighing the facts. The Quran considers disbelievers as “the enemy of God” [(أَعْدَاءِ اللَّـهِ), Fussilat 41:26-28], and those who evoke Allah’s (SWT) anger upon themselves [(الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ), Al-Fatiha 1:7]. Islamic literatures differentiate between disbelievers and unbelievers. The latter group are outside of the faith since they either are not convinced of validity of the faith or have not been exposed to it. Contrary to disbelievers, unbelievers have no animosity and enmity towards the faith; they have just gone astray from the faith [(الضَّالِّينَ), Al-Fatiha 1:7].

In the end, the aforementioned verses assert that there is no deity [(إِلَـٰهٌ)] worth to worship and obey except Allah (SWT); He is the Most Gracious [(الرَّحْمَـٰنُ)] and the Ever Merciful [(الرَّحِيمُ)].

The Eternal Punishment:  The word [(خَالِدِينَ)] means eternity or a very long but finite period of time [TafseereNamoona, Vol. 9, P. 239]. Depending on the choice of the word, the aforementioned verse states that that disbelievers and hypocrites will abide either forever or for a long period of time in the Hell Fire [(خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا)]:

خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۖ لَا يُخَفَّفُ عَنْهُمُ الْعَذَابُ وَلَا هُمْ يُنظَرُونَ ﴿١٦٢

2:162 Abiding eternally therein. The punishment will not be lightened for them, nor will they be reprieved.

Some suggested that “the eternal punishment” in the above verse implies a punishment that is given for a very long but finite period of time. Supporters of this view argued that Allah’s mercy and compassion has no bound and everyone, after paying their due punishment, will eventually go to Paradise. Furthermore, the lifespan of humans on Earth are limited. Hence, one can be guilty only for a limited extent. With this premise, how could one be punished perpetually in the Hereafter for a limited amount of sin that he had committed on Earth? Should punishment not be proportional to guilt?

However, this interpretation is not in agreement with other verses of the Quran, which stress that the eternal punishment for disbelievers is never ending [(خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا), An-Nisa, 4:169, Al-Ahzab 33:65, Al-Jinn 72:23].  The disbelievers will not get out of the Fire [(وَمَا هُم بِخَارِجِينَ مِنْهَا), Al-Ma-ida, 5:37].

Let us look at the argument from different perspective. An individual consumes intoxicants for an extended time; consequently, he causes non-healing damage to his liver. Symptoms of a damaged liver are jaundice, abdominal pain and swelling, persistent itchy skin, etc. A patient with severe liver damage suffers excoriating pain and discomfort regardless of how many years he lives on Earth. The point is that this individual consumed intoxicant for a limited period of time but his pain and suffering will be with him as long he lives on Earth.

Just as intoxicants cause physical harm to a body, sins inflict spiritual diseases on the soul. On the Day of Judgment, one cannot enter the Paradise until his soul is fully healed from all spiritual diseases [(وَنَزَعْنَا مَا فِي صُدُورِهِم مِّنْ غِلٍّ), Al-A’raf 7:43]. In the Hereafter, one cannot enjoy the blessings of Paradise unless he/she is spiritually cleansed first. The Quran, in Chapter Al-A’raf, mentions that “the companions of the Fire will call to the companions of Paradise, “Pour upon us some water or from whatever Allah has provided you.” They will say, “Indeed, Allah has forbidden them both to the disbelievers.”

وَنَادَىٰ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ أَصْحَابَ الْجَنَّةِ أَنْ أَفِيضُوا عَلَيْنَا مِنَ الْمَاءِ أَوْ مِمَّا رَزَقَكُمُ اللَّـهُ ۚ قَالُوا إِنَّ اللَّـهَ حَرَّمَهُمَا عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ ﴿٥٠

It is worth mentioning that the verse does not say that the companions of Paradise do not want to give, rather the verse says “Allah has forbidden them (fruits and drink) to disbelievers”. This is analogous to an ulcer patient who cannot enjoy a fresh fruit in this world. One has to heal spiritually first so he can enjoy bounties and blessings of Paradise.

The healing process would be as follows:

Allah (SWT) would multiply the rewards of one’s good deeds to compensate for one’s sin [(مَن جَاءَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ عَشْرُ أَمْثَالِهَا) Al-An’am 6:150, and (إِنَّ الْحَسَنَاتِ يُذْهِبْنَ السَّيِّئَاتِ) Hud 11:114]. He (SWT) also forgives some eligible individuals through intercession. Otherwise, healing and cleansing would be over time in the Hell Fire which would be excruciating and painful. Following this process, he/she would be admitted to Paradise.

Unfortunately, the disbelievers and hypocrites mentioned in the above verses inflicted a fatal spiritual wound on themselves. No matter how long they stay in the Hell Fire, their spiritual deceases and wounds do not get healed. If it could heal, for sure, they would not stay forever in the fire. Their status is like an individual who inflicted a fatal physical wound on himself which does not cure and heal with time.

Allah (SWT) loves his creation and He does not hold grudges against anyone. It is the sin which shields man from the blessing of Allah (SWT). Once the symptom of a sin spreads all over the entire soul [(وَأَحَاطَتْ بِهِ خَطِيئَتُهُ)], then man forever denies himself the divine blessings of the Hereafter:

بَلَىٰ مَن كَسَبَ سَيِّئَةً وَأَحَاطَتْ بِهِ خَطِيئَتُهُ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ ۖ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ ﴿٨١

2:81 Yes, whoever earns evil and his sin has encompassed him – those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide therein eternally.

 

Appendix:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَظَلَمُوا لَمْ يَكُنِ اللَّـهُ لِيَغْفِرَ لَهُمْ وَلَا لِيَهْدِيَهُمْ طَرِيقًا ﴿١٦٨﴾ إِلَّا طَرِيقَ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ۚ وَكَانَ ذَٰلِكَ عَلَى اللَّـهِ يَسِيرًا ﴿١٦٩

4:169 Indeed, those who disbelieve and commit wrong [or injustice] – never will Allah forgive them, nor will He guide them to a path.

4:170 Except the path of Hell; they will abide therein forever. And that, for Allah, is [always] easy.

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَعَنَ الْكَافِرِينَ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ سَعِيرًا ﴿٦٤﴾ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ۖ لَّا يَجِدُونَ وَلِيًّا وَلَا نَصِيرًا ﴿٦٥

33:64 Indeed, Allah has cursed the disbelievers and prepared for them a Blaze.

33:65 Abiding therein forever, they will not find a protector or a helper.

إِلَّا بَلَاغًا مِّنَ اللَّـهِ وَرِسَالَاتِهِ ۚ وَمَن يَعْصِ اللَّـهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَإِنَّ لَهُ نَارَ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ﴿٢٣

72:23 But [I have for you] only notification from Allah, and His messages.” And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger – then indeed, for him is the fire of Hell; they will abide therein forever.

الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَوْ أَنَّ لَهُم مَّا فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا وَمِثْلَهُ مَعَهُ لِيَفْتَدُوا بِهِ مِنْ عَذَابِ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ مَا تُقُبِّلَ مِنْهُمْ ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ ﴿٣٦﴾ يُرِيدُونَ أَن يَخْرُجُوا مِنَ النَّارِ وَمَا هُم بِخَارِجِينَ مِنْهَا ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّقِيمٌ ﴿٣٧

5:36 Indeed, those who disbelieve – if they should have all that is in the earth and the like of it with it by which to ransom themselves from the punishment of the Day of Resurrection, it will not be accepted from them, and for them is a painful punishment

5:37 They will wish to get out of the Fire, but never are they to emerge therefrom, and for them is an enduring punishment.

وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَا تَسْمَعُوا لِهَـٰذَا الْقُرْآنِ وَالْغَوْا فِيهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَغْلِبُونَ ﴿٢٦﴾ فَلَنُذِيقَنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا عَذَابًا شَدِيدًا وَلَنَجْزِيَنَّهُمْ أَسْوَأَ الَّذِي كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ ﴿٢٧﴾ ذَٰلِكَ جَزَاءُ أَعْدَاءِ اللَّـهِ النَّارُ ۖ لَهُمْ فِيهَا دَارُ الْخُلْدِ ۖ جَزَاءً بِمَا كَانُوا بِآيَاتِنَا يَجْحَدُونَ ﴿٢٨

41:26 And those who disbelieve say, “Do not listen to this Qur’an and speak noisily during [the recitation of] it that perhaps you will overcome.”

41:27 But We will surely cause those who disbelieve to taste a severe punishment, and We will surely recompense them for the worst of what they had been doing.

41:28 That is the recompense of the enemies of Allah – the Fire. For them therein is the home of eternity as recompense for what they, of Our verses, were rejecting.

مَن جَاءَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ عَشْرُ أَمْثَالِهَا ۖ وَمَن جَاءَ بِالسَّيِّئَةِ فَلَا يُجْزَىٰ إِلَّا مِثْلَهَا وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ ﴿١٦٠

6:150 Whoever comes [on the Day of Judgement] with a good deed will have ten times the like thereof [to his credit], and whoever comes with an evil deed will not be recompensed except the like thereof; and they will not be wronged.    

وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ طَرَفَيِ النَّهَارِ وَزُلَفًا مِّنَ اللَّيْلِ ۚ إِنَّ الْحَسَنَاتِ يُذْهِبْنَ السَّيِّئَاتِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ ذِكْرَىٰ لِلذَّاكِرِينَ ﴿١١٤

11:114 And establish prayer at the two ends of the day and at the approach of the night. Indeed, good deeds do away with misdeeds. That is a reminder for those who remember.

 

 

 

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