Allah, The Exalted, says in The Qur’an:
كَلَّا ۖ بَلْ ۜ رَانَ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِم مَّا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ
“Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (covering of sins and evil deeds) which they used to earn.”
(Surah Al-Mutaffifin, 83:14)
Excerpt from Tafsir Ibn Kathir about this ayah:
Then Allah continues saying,
﴿ كَلَّاۖ بَلۡۜ رَانَ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِہِم مَّا كَانُواْ يَكۡسِبُونَ ﴾
(Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (covering) which they used to earn.) meaning, the matter is not as they claim, nor as they say: “Verily, this Qur’an is tales of the ancients.” Rather, it is the Word of Allah, His inspiration and His revelation to His Messenger . The only thing that blocked their hearts from believing in it is the dark covering cast over it from the many sins and wrong they committed that has covered up their hearts. Thus, Allah says,
﴿ كَلَّاۖ بَلۡۜ رَانَ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِہِم مَّا كَانُواْ يَكۡسِبُونَ ﴾
(Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (covering) which they used to earn.) This dark covering known as Rayn overcomes the hearts of the disbelievers, the covering of Ghaym is for the righteous, and the covering of Ghayn is for those who are near to Allah. Ibn Jarir, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nisa’i, and Ibn Majah all recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said,
« إِنَّ الْعَبْدَ إِذَا أَذْنَبَ ذَنْبًا كَانَتْ نُكْتَةٌ سَوْدَاءُ فِي قَلْبِهِ، فَإِنْ تَابَ مِنْهَا صُقِلَ قَلْبُهُ، فوَإِنْ زَادَ زَادَتْ، فَذلِكَ قَوْلُ اللهِ تَعَالَى:﴿ كَلَّاۖ بَلۡۜ رَانَ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِہِم مَّا كَانُواْ يَكۡسِبُونَ ﴾
(Verily, when the servant commits a sin, a black spot appears in his heart. If he repents from it, his heart is polished clean. However, if he increases (in the sin), the spot will continue to increase. That is the statement of Allah: ((Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (covering) which they used to earn.)) At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Sahih.” The wording of An-Nasa’i says,
« إِنَّ الْعَبْدَ إِذَا أَخْطَأَ خَطِيئَةً نُكِتَ فِي قَلْبِهِ نُكْتَةٌ سَوْدَاءُ ، فَإِنْ هُوَ نَزَعَ وَاسْتَغْفَرَ وَتَابَ صُقِلَ قَلْبُهُ ، فَإِنْ عَادَ زِيدَ فِيهَا حَتَّى تَعْلُو قَلْبَهُ فَهُوَ الرَّانُ الَّذِي قَالَ اللهُ تَعَالَى:﴿ كَلَّاۖ بَلۡۜ رَانَ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِہِم مَّا كَانُواْ يَكۡسِبُونَ ﴾
(Whenever the servant commits a wrong, a black spot is put in his heart. So, if he refrains from it, seeks forgiveness and repents, his heart is polished clean. But if he returns to the sin, the spot will increase until it overcomes his (entire) heart, and this is the Ran that Allah mentions when He says: (Nay, but on their hearts is the Ran (covering) which they used to earn.))
Here Allah سُبْحَانَ وَ تَعَالَىٰ, is describing the state of the disbeliever. Their hearts are covered with a blackness that prevents them from accepting the Light of Faith. The blackness is a stain-earned by many sins. Due to his or her sins and lack of repentance, the disbeliever has prevented themselves from accepting the message of Islam. They have oppressed themselves through this evil action and repentance is the only way free from this terrible prison.
In his work; “Spiritual Disease and it’s Cure”, Ibn al-Qayyim َحِمَهُ ٱللّٰهُ, provides beneficial insights on how sins darken the heart;
“Sins blind the heart ‘s insight, blot out its light, and block all
means towards its right guidance. When Imam Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, saw signs of remarkable knowledge in Imam Shafi’i, he told him: “I see that Allah ~ has cast a light upon you, so do not extinguish it with the darkness of disobedience to Him (by committing a misdeed).” When a person continues to do misdeeds, the original light,
which Allah ~ had cast in his/her heart, continues to decrease, as the darkness of sins takes over, until it overwhelms the whole heart, and casts it in the world of darkness; the world of self-destruction.
This darkness spreads in the limbs until it reaches the face, turning it into a gloomy disillusioned figure. This effect is also carried over to the Life After Death, and
adds to the darkness of the grave. The Prophet ~ said: “These graves are filled with darkness, over its people, but Allah sheds light on them, with my prayer upon them.”
On the Day of Resurrection, all people would be gathered with their faces raised high and clearly seen by everyone. The faces of sinners will be blackened, like charcoal. It is a punishment which is not equal in weight to all the worldly
desires; so one must be patient in this world.”
Look at how the scholars of previous times addressed one another! Such care and concern, insight and firmness in admonishing. May Allah increase us in knowledge. Ameen!. As Muslims it is our duty to preserve the Light of Faith within each other by warning one another from committing sins and thus covering our hearts with the Ran.
Narrated by Abu Hurayrah رضى الله عنه :
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: The believer is the believer’s mirror, and the believer is the believer’s brother who guards him against loss and protects him when he is absent.
In the ayat we are examining (كَلَّا ۖ بَلْ ۜ رَانَ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِم مَّا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ – 83:14, “Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (covering of sins and evil deeds) which they used to earn.”) Allah uses the “قُلُوبِهِم (qulubihim)” to describe the heart. We know (from previous chapters) that the “qalb” is something that is between the two fingers of Allah and is constantly turning as Allah سُبْحَانَ وَ تَعَالَى, wills. In this ayat, the turning of the heart is in reference to the black casts that comes over it. Here we can derive that the turning of the heart mentioned in this ayat is done by the actions of the person (i.e., their committing sins). It must further be noted that a believer is not safe from this type of turning of the heart. When sins are committed by a believer they have willfully decided to take on the heart of the disbeliever. In fact, when they sin, they are a disbeliever!
Narrated by Abu Hurayrah رضى الله عنه:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “When an adulterer commits illegal sexual intercourse, then he is not a believer at the time he is doing it; and when somebody drinks an alcoholic drink, then he is not believer at the time of drinking, and when a thief steals, he is not a believer at the time when he is stealing; and when a robber robs and the people look at him, then he is not a believer at the time of doing it. ” Abu Huraira in another narration, narrated the same from the Prophet (ﷺ) with the exclusion of robbery.
This condition of the heart can only be remedied through repentance and striving hard in The Path of Allah. One must not find excuses to delay repentance and turning him or herself away from repentance. This behavior weakens the heart and may lead to Allah عزوجل, forgetting them completely!
In his same book, Ibn al- Qayyim رَحِمَهُ ٱللّٰهُ has informed us about how sins weaken the heart;
“Sins affect one’s heart so it fails to glorify the Lord عزوجل and weakens its sense of tranquility. If one’s heart was filled with sobriety it would not have dared to commit any sin. Some deceived people say: “What induces me sometimes to commit sins is the hope of benefiting from Allah’s Mercy, not the weakness of glorifying Him in my heart.”
This is simply self-deception; because glorifying Allah عزوجل in
one’s heart means glorifying His Sanctity, which would
oppose the committing of any sins.
Those who boldly indulge in disobeying Allah عزوجل do not
consider Him with the correct estimation due to Him عزوجل.
This is a punishment from Allah ~ which removes the sense
of fear from the hearts of His Servants, so that sinners would
despise his/her the way he/she disrespected the Commands
of Allah عزوجل-
People love another person according to his/her level of love
for Allahعزوجل ; they fear his/her according to the level of
his/her fear of Allah; they praise him/her according to the
level of his/her praise for Allah عزوجل. How could a person
violate the sanctity of Allah عزوجلand not expect people to
violate his/her sanctity?
Allah ~ has stated in His Book (the Qur’an) the punishment
due for sins. He ~ cast the big sinners into a state of
disbelief for what they had earned. He ~ sealed their hearts
with their sins, and forgot them the way they had forgotten
their Lord. He ~ wasted them the way they had wasted His
Religion. Allah ~ stated in His Book, after describing the
prostration of all His Creatures to Him: (Whomsoever
Allah disgraces, none can honour him); when they
despised the act of prostrating to Allah ~ and refused to
perform it, He ~ disgraced them; and no one could honour
them after they had been humiliated by Allah ~-
Sins may lead a person to become forgotten by Allah ~
It is a punishment for a sinner, indulging in sins, to
eventually be forgotten by Allah عزوجل’ and left alone with the
devil. This is a stage of destruction for which there is no
hope of safety. For Allah عزوجل has said: (0 you who believe!
Fear Allah and keep your duty to Him. And let every
person look to what he has sent forth for the morrow,
and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what you
do. And be not like those who forgot Allah, and He
caused them to forget themselves. Those are the Fasiqun
(rebellious and disobedient to Allah)
Allahعزوجل ordered us to fear Him (be mindful of Him in all our
actions) and warned us not to imitate those who have
become disobedient to Him. He عزوجل informed us that He
punished those who had rejected righteousness, by letting
them forget themselves – i.e. to forget the benefits which
could save them from the Punishment in the Hereafter.
Allah ~ made them forget the Right Path, which would lead
them to the Eternal Life in Paradise where they could enjoy
its perfect blessings.
You may see the sinner selfishly wasting benefits for
him/her self, as his heart is made heedless of remembrance
Allah عزوجل; he/she follows his/her own lusts, so his/her deeds
have been lost, because he/she rejects the priceless Reward
of Allah for the meagre affairs of this world
A sinner only has him/her self to blame, for he/she is unjust
to him/her self, not to Allah عزوجل- Allah عزوجلis the Provider of
all Blessings, and is not in need of anything from His
Ibn al-Qayyim on “The Ran”
Abu Salih reported, on the authority of Abu Hurayrah رضى الله عنه.
that the Prophet ﷺ said: “When a believer sins there is a
black spot (placed) on his heart, yet if he repents and asks
pardon his heart is polished; but if he does more, it increases
till it gains ascendancy over his heart. That is the ‘rust’
mentioned by Allah عزوجل . Most High: ( Nay, but on their
hearts is the Raan (covering of sins and evil deeds).
Imam Ahmad reported, on the authority of Wahb, who said:
“The Lord عزوجل said, in some of His Revelations, to the
Children of Israel: ‘When I am obeyed, I am pleased. When
I am pleased, I bestow My Blessing and there is no end to it.
When I am disobeyed, I am Angry. And when I am Angry
(with My Servant), I curse him, and my Curse reaches his
Due to a lack of repentance, the disbeliever who persists in disbelief has gone beyond bounds. Their hearts (through their own actions) are under a cover of darkness. Just as their hearts are veiled from Allah عزوجل in this life, it will be so in the next;
كَلَّا إِنَّهُمْ عَن رَّبِّهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ لَّمَحْجُوبُونَ
“Nay! Surely they (evil-doers) will be veiled from seeing their Lord that Day.”
(Surah Al Mutaffifin, 83:15)
May At-Tawwab forgive us, guide us, and always cause us to turn back in repentance to Him. Ameen.