The True State of the Disbeliever.

Allah, The Exalted says in The Qur’an;

خَتَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ وَعَلَىٰ سَمْعِهِمْ ۖ وَعَلَىٰ أَبْصَارِهِمْ غِشَاوَةٌ ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ

“Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, (i.e., they are closed from accepting Allah’s Guidance), and on their eyes is a covering. Theirs will be a great torment.”

(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:7)

This Surah has many virtues which have been discuss in detail in 2:10. Allah, عزوجل, starts this Surah by identifying the target audience of His book;

ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ

“This is the Book (the Qur’an), whereof there is no doubt, a guidance to those who are Al-Muttaqun [the pious believers of Islamic Monotheism who fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden) and love Allah much (perform all kids of good deeds which He has ordained)].

(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:2)

Out of His immense Mercy, Allah goes on to describe their (The Believers) qualities;

الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ

وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ مِن قَبْلِكَ وَبِالْآخِرَةِ هُمْ يُوقِنُونَ

أُولَٰئِكَ عَلَىٰ هُدًى مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

“Who believe in the Ghaib (unseen) and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and spend out of what We have provided for them [i.e. give Zakat, spend on themselves, their parents, their children, their wives, etc., and also give charity to the poor and also in Allah’s Cause- Jihad]. And who believe in that (the Qur’an and the Sunnah) which has been sent down (revealed) to you (Muhammad ﷺ) and in that which was sent down before you [the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel), etc.] and they believe with certainty in the Hereafter (Resurrection, recompense of their good and bad deeds, Paradise and Hell). They are on (true) guidance from their Lord, and they are the successful.”

(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:2-5)

Allah, عزوجل, then goes on to describe two other people-the disbelievers and hypocrites respectively. These to unfortunate groups of people are spoken about throughout the Qur’an but the way in which they are mentioned in the opening of this very powerful Surah is significant.

The disbeliever is discussed in two ayah when Allah, The Most Merciful, says;

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا سَوَاءٌ عَلَيْهِمْ أَأَنذَرْتَهُمْ أَمْ لَمْ تُنذِرْهُمْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ

خَتَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ وَعَلَىٰ سَمْعِهِمْ ۖ وَعَلَىٰ أَبْصَارِهِمْ غِشَاوَةٌ ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ

“Verily, those who disbelieve, it is the same to them whether you (O Muhammad ﷺ) warn them or do not warn them, they will not believe. Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, (i.e., they are closed from accepting Allah’s Guidance), and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be a great torment.”

(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:6-7)

Allah, عزوجل, then goes on to identify the state of the hypocrites in 13 ayahs. Here, Allahعزوجل, has spent time identifying in this mighty Surah the people whom His book is for (believers), those whom His book is not (the disbelievers), and those whom His Book will reach physically but not spiritually (the hypocrites). The discussion of The True State of the Hypocrites can be found here. For now, we shall examine The State of the Disbeliever.

Excerpts from Tafsir Ibn Kathir about this ayat:

خَتَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ وَعَلَىٰ سَمْعِهِمْ ۖ وَعَلَىٰ أَبْصَارِهِمْ غِشَاوَةٌ ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ

“Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, (i.e., they are closed from accepting Allah’s Guidance), and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be a great torment.”

(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:7)

Meaning of Khatama

As-Suddi said that,
﴿ خَتَمَ ٱللَّهُ ﴾

(Khatama Allah) means, “Allah has sealed.” Qatadah said that this Ayah means, “Shaytan controlled them when they obeyed him. Therefore, Allah sealed their hearts, hearing and sight, and they could neither see the guidance nor hear, comprehend or understand.” Ibn Jurayj said that Mujahid said,
﴿ خَتَمَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمۡ ﴾

(Allah has set a seal on their hearts), “A stamp. It occurs when sin resides in the heart and surrounds it from all sides, and this submersion of the heart in sin constitutes a stamp, meaning a seal.” Ibn Jurayj also said that the seal is placed on the heart and the hearing. In addition, Ibn Jurayj said, that `Abdullah bin Kathir narrated that Mujahid said, “The stain is not as bad as the stamp, the stamp is not as bad as the lock which is the worst type.” Al-A`mash said, “Mujahid demonstrated with his hand while saying, `They used to say that the heart is just like this – meaning the open palm. When the servant commits a sin, a part of the heart will be rolled up – and he rolled up his index finger. When the servant commits another sin, a part of the heart will be rolled up’ – and he rolled up another finger, until he rolled up all of his fingers. Then he said, `Then, the heart will be sealed.’ Mujahid also said that this is the description of the Ran (refer to 83:14).”

Al-Qurtubi said, “The Ummah has agreed that Allah has described Himself with sealing and closing the hearts of the disbelievers, as a punishment for their disbelief. Similarly, Allah said,
﴿ بَلۡ طَبَعَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيۡہَا بِكُفۡرِهِمۡ ﴾

(Nay, Allah has set a seal upon their hearts because of their disbelief) (4:155).”

He then mentioned the Hadith about changing the hearts, (in which the Prophet supplicated),
« يَا مُقَلِبَ الْقُلُوبِ ثَبِّتْ قُلُوبَنَا عَلى دِينِك »

(O You Who changes the hearts, make our hearts firm on Your religion.)

He also mentioned the Hadith by Hudhayfah recorded in the Sahih, in which the Messenger of Allah said,
« تُعْرَضُ الْفِتَنُ عَلَى الْقُلُوبِ كَالْحَصِيرِ عُودًا عُودًا، فَأَيُّ قَلْبٍ أُشْرِبَهَا نُكِتَ فِيه نُكْتَةٌ سَوْدَاءُ وَأَيُّ قَلْبٍ أَنْكَرَهَا نُكِتَ فِيهِ نُكْتَةٌ بَيْضَاءُ حَتى تَصِيرَ عَلَى قَلْبَيْنِ: عَلى أَبْيَضَ مِثْلِ الصَّفَا، فَلَا تَضُرُّهُ فِتْنَةٌ مَا دَامَتِ السَّمَوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ وَالْآخَرُ أَسْوَدُ مُرْبَادًّا كَالْكُوزِ مُجَخِّيًا لَا يَعْرِفُ مَعْرُوفًا وَلَا يُنْكِرُ مُنْكَرًا »

(The Fitan (trials, tests) are offered to the hearts, just as the straws that are sewn into a woven mat, one after another. Any heart that accepts the Fitan, then a black dot will be engraved on it. Any heart that rejects the Fitan, then a white dot will be engraved on it. The hearts will therefore become two categories: white, just like the barren rock; no Fitnah shall ever harm this category as long as the heavens and earth still exist. Another category is black, just as the cup that is turned upside down, for this heart does not recognize righteousness or renounce evil. )

Ibn Jarir said, “The truth regarding this subject is what the authentic Hadith from the Messenger of Allah stated. Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said,
« إِنَّ الْمُؤمِنَ إِذَا أَذْنَبَ ذَنْبًا كَانَتْ نُكْتَةً سَوْدَاءَ فِي قَلْبِهِ، فَإِنْ تَابَ وَنَزَعَ وَاسْتَعْتَبَ صَقِلَ قَلْبُهُ وَإِنْ زَادَ زَادَتْ حَتَّى تَعْلُوَ قَلْبَهُ، فَذلِكَ الرَّانُ الَّذِي قَالَ اللهُ تَعَالى:﴿ كَلَّا‌ۖ بَلۡۜ رَانَ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِہِم مَّا كَانُواْ يَكۡسِبُونَ ﴾

(When the believer commits a sin, a black dot will be engraved on his heart. If he repents, refrains and regrets, his heart will be polished again. If he commits more errors, the dots will increase until they cover his heart. This is the Ran (stain) that Allah described,
﴿ كَلَّا‌ۖ بَلۡۜ رَانَ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِہِم مَّا كَانُواْ يَكۡسِبُونَ ﴾

(Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (stain) which they used to earn)” (83:14).

(At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah recorded this Hadith, and At-Tirmidhi said that it is Hasan Sahih.)

The Meaning of Ghishawah

Reciting the Ayah,
﴿ خَتَمَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمۡ وَعَلَىٰ سَمۡعِهِمۡ‌ۖ ﴾

(Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing), then pausing, then continuing with,
﴿ وَعَلَىٰٓ أَبۡصَـٰرِهِمۡ غِشَـٰوَةٌ۬‌ۖ ﴾

(And on their eyes there is a Ghishawah (covering)) is accurate, for the stamp is placed on the heart and the hearing while the Ghishawah, the covering, is appropriately placed on the eyes. In his Tafsir, As-Suddi said that Ibn `Abbas and Ibn Mas`ud said about Allah’s statement,
﴿ خَتَمَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمۡ وَعَلَىٰ سَمۡعِهِمۡ‌ۖ ﴾

(Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing), “So that they neither understand nor hear. Allah also said that He placed a covering on their sight, meaning eyes, and so, they do not see.”

(Tafsir Ibn Kathir)

The disbelievers have a seal set on their hearts due to the sin that they are earning. Allah, عزوجل, through His infinite Mercy has given us all an opportunity to make choices. It is unfortunate that this group (the disbelievers) have chosen to deny their Lord and in doing so, oppress themselves. Due to the covering over their eyes they cannot see the torment they are in. Due to their hearts being sealed the cannot feel heaviness of their condition. As a result, they go and play about, defrauding others, and committing other great sins of oppression.

It is important for those who hope to be Believers, to understand the heart conditions of the disbelievers as a protection from the evil consequences of their companionship. There are many hadith that discusses the disbeliever in reference to the Signs of the Last Days. Some of which we will examine below;

Abu Huraira, رضى الله عنه, reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ , said, “Years of treachery will come over people in which liars are believed and the truthful are denied, the deceitful are trusted and the trustworthy are considered traitors, and the disgraceful will deliver speeches.” It was said, “Who are the disgraceful?” The Prophet said, “Petty men with authority over the common people.”

(Sunan Ibn Mājah 4036)

Narrated Abu Huraira رضى الله عنه :

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Time will pass rapidly, good deeds will decrease, miserliness will be thrown (in the hearts of the people) afflictions will appear and there will be much ‘Al-Harj.” They said, “O Allah’s Apostle! What is” Al-Harj? “He said,” Killing! Killing! “

( Sahih al-Bukhari 7061, See Hadith No. 63, Vol. 8)

Understanding the hearts of the disbelievers and avoiding the evil consequences of association with their likes is essential for spiritual preservation. We ask Allah to give us spiritual maturity and wisdom during these times. We also ask Him to make us one of those who act upon the knowledge they receive despite the worldly consequences of doing so just like our brother in the hadith below. Ameen.

Abu Sa’id al-Khudri رضى الله عنه reported:

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: The Dajjal would come forth and a person from amongst the believers would go towards him and the armed men of the Dajjal would meet him and they would say to him: Where do you intend to go? He would say: I intend to go to this one who is coming forth. They would say to him: Don’t you believe in our Lord? He would say: There is nothing hidden about our Lord. They would say: Kill him.

Then some amongst them would say: Has your master (Dajjal) not forbidden you to kill anyone without (his consent)? And so they would take him to the Dajjal and when the believer would see him, he would say: O people. he is the Dajjil about whom Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) has informed (us).

The Dajjal would then order for breaking his head and utter (these words): Catch hold of him and break his head. He would be struck even on his back and on his stomach. Then the Dajjal would ask him: Don’t you believe in me? He would say: You are a false Masih.

He would then order him to be torn (into pieces) with a saw from the parting of his hair up to his legs. After that the Dajjal would walk between the two pieces. He would then say to him: Stand, and he would stand erect. He would then say to him: Don’t you believe in me? And the person would say: It has only added to my insight concerning you (that you are really the Dajjal).

He would then say: O people, he would not behave with anyone amongst people (in such a manner) after me. The Dajjal would try to catch hold of him so that he should kill him (again). The space between his neck and collar bone would be turned into copper and he would find no means to kill him.

So he would catch hold of him by his hand and feet and throw him (into the air) and the people would think as if he had been thrown in the Hell-Fire whereas he would be thrown in Paradise. Thereupon Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: He would be the most eminent amongst persons in regard to martyrdom in the eye of the Lord of the world.

(Sahih Muslim 2938 c)

We must remember, that Allah has his party (the believers) and the accursed Shaytan has his party (the disbelievers). In his work; “Al-Furqaan Bayna Awliyaa Ar-Rahmaan wa Awliyaa Ash-Shaytaan (The Criteria Between the Friends of Allah and the Friends of the Devil)”, Ibn Taymiyya رَحِمَهُ ٱللّٰه says;

“So, if a person is in contact with filthy and disgusting things which are loved by shaitaan,
or hangs out in bathrooms and vacant lots which are frequented by the devils or eats
snakes and scorpions and hornets, dogs ears which are one of the unclean animals, or
drinks urine or other such filth which are loved by shaitaan. Or if he calls to other than
Allah and seeks aid from created beings, and turns his face toward them or prostrates in
the direction of his “Shaikh”, and does not purify his deen purely for the Lord of the worlds.
Or if he is in contact with dogs and fire, and hangs out in animal pens and dirty places, or
graveyards, especially the graveyards of the disbelievers such as the Jews, Christians or
other associationists. Or if he dislikes hearing the recitation of the Qur’an, and is repelled
by it and seeks out the hearing of poetry and songs, preferring the sound of the pipes of
shaitaan (music) to the sound of the words of the Merciful. These are the signs of the allies of the devil, not the allies of the Merciful (Ar-Rahmaan).

(Ibn Taymiyyah)

We can see here some of the wicked sins the disbelievers are engaged in that has caused Allah عزوجل, to place a seal on their hearts. Their conditions are beyond our ability to change as the Turner of Hearts has turned them away from His religion. Allah guides whom He Wills to Islam and He turns away whom He Wills.

We thank Allah for giving us food and drink and making us Muslims. Ameen.

Published by Umm Nadia Taliah Muhammad

Striving to be a faithful servant of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَ. Mother of six. Forever a student, In shaa Allah- in the areas of Qur'an, Sunnah, and Islamic Herbal Herbal Medicine.

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