17:46

Allah, The Exalted, says in The Qur’an:

وَجَعَلْنَا عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ أَكِنَّةً أَن يَفْقَهُوهُ وَفِي آذَانِهِمْ وَقْرًا ۚ وَإِذَا ذَكَرْتَ رَبَّكَ فِي الْقُرْآنِ وَحْدَهُ وَلَّوْا عَلَىٰ أَدْبَارِهِمْ نُفُورًا

“And We have put coverings over their hearts lest they should understand it (the Qur’an), and in their ears deafness. And when you make mention of your Lord Alone [La ilaha illallah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah) Islamic Monotheism in the Qur’an, they turn on their backs, fleeing in extreme dislike.”

(Surah Al-Isra, 17:46)

Excerpts from Tafsir Ibn Kathir about this ayah:

The Veil over the Hearts of the Idolators

Allah says to His Messenger Muhammad: `When you recite Qur’an to these idolaters, We put an invisible veil between you and them.’ Qatadah and Ibn Zayd said, “It is coverings over their hearts,” as Allah says:
﴿ وَقَالُواْ قُلُوبُنَا فِىٓ أَڪِنَّةٍ۬ مِّمَّا تَدۡعُونَآ إِلَيۡهِ وَفِىٓ ءَاذَانِنَا وَقۡرٌ۬ وَمِنۢ بَيۡنِنَا وَبَيۡنِكَ حِجَابٌ۬ ﴾

(And they say: “Our hearts are under coverings (screened) from that to which you invite us; and in our ears is deafness, and between us and you is a screen) meaning, there is something that is stopping and preventing your words from reaching us.
﴿ حِجَابً۬ا مَّسۡتُورً۬ا ﴾

(an invisible veil.) meaning something which covers, or that cannot be seen, so there is a barrier between them and guidance. This is the interpretation that Ibn Jarir (may Allah have mercy on him) thought was correct. Al-Hafiz Abu Ya`la Al-Mawusili recorded that Asma’ bint Abi Bakr (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “When the Ayah,
﴿ تَبَّتۡ يَدَآ أَبِى لَهَبٍ۬ وَتَبَّ ﴾

(Perish the two hands of Abu Lahab and perish he!) (111:1) was revealed, the one-eyed woman Umm Jamil (the wife of Abu Lahab) came with a stone pestle in her hand, screaming, `What was sent to us is somebody blameworthy, or, we reject somebody blameworthy (Abu Musa – one of the narrators – said, it is I who am not sure what was said); we shun his religion and disobey whatever he commands!’ The Messenger of Allah was sitting with Abu Bakr by his side. Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, said, `This woman has come and I am afraid she will see you.’ The Prophet said,
« إِنَّهَا لَنْ تَرَانِي »

(Certainly she will not see me.) and he recited Qur’an through which he was protected from her:
﴿ وَإِذَا قَرَأۡتَ ٱلۡقُرۡءَانَ جَعَلۡنَا بَيۡنَكَ وَبَيۡنَ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِٱلۡأَخِرَةِ حِجَابً۬ا مَّسۡتُورً۬ا ﴾

(And when you recite the Qur’an, We put between you and those who believe not in the Hereafter, an invisible veil). She came and found Abu Bakr, but she did not see the Prophet. She said, `O Abu Bakr, I have heard that your companion is lampooning me.’ Abu Bakr said, `No, by the Lord of this House (the Ka`bah), he is not lampooning you.’ Then she went away, saying, `The Quraysh know that I am the daughter of their master.”’
﴿ وَجَعَلۡنَا عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِہِمۡ أَكِنَّةً ﴾

(And We have put coverings over their hearts,) Akinnah (coverings) is the plural of Kinan, which covers the heart.
﴿ أَن يَفۡقَهُوهُ ﴾

(lest they should understand it,) means, lest they should understand the Qur’an.
﴿ وَفِىٓ ءَاذَانِہِمۡ وَقۡرً۬ا‌ۚ ﴾

(and in their ears deafness) something that will stop them from hearing the Qur’an in such a way that they will understand it and be guided by it.
﴿ وَإِذَا ذَكَرۡتَ رَبَّكَ فِى ٱلۡقُرۡءَانِ وَحۡدَهُ ۥ ﴾

(And when you make mention of your Lord Alone in the Qur’an,) means, when you declare Allah to be One in your recitation, and say La Ilaha Illallah,
﴿ وَلَّوۡاْ ﴾

(they turn) means they turn away
﴿ عَلَىٰٓ أَدۡبَـٰرِهِمۡ نُفُورً۬ا ﴾

(on their backs, fleeing in extreme dislike.) As Allah says:
﴿ وَإِذَا ذُكِرَ ٱللَّهُ وَحۡدَهُ ٱشۡمَأَزَّتۡ قُلُوبُ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِٱلۡأَخِرَةِ‌ۖ ﴾

(And when Allah Alone is mentioned, the hearts of those who believe not in the Hereafter are filled with disgust (from the Oneness of Allah).) (39:45)
﴿ وَإِذَا ذَكَرۡتَ رَبَّكَ فِى ٱلۡقُرۡءَانِ ﴾

(And when you make mention of your Lord Alone in the Qur’an,) Commenting on this Ayah, Qatadah said that when the Muslims said La Ilaha Illallah, the idolaters disliked this and found it intolerable. Iblis and his troops hated it, but Allah insisted on supporting it so that it would prevail over those who opposed it. Whoever uses it against his opponent will prevail, and whoever fights for it will be victorious. Only the Muslims of the Arabian Peninsula, which can be traversed by a rider in a few nights, knew it and accepted it, out of all mankind.

(Tafsir Ibn Kathir)

Examining The Heart ( قُلُوبِهِمْ)

In the ayah we are examining;

وَجَعَلْنَا عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ أَكِنَّةً أَن يَفْقَهُوهُ وَفِي آذَانِهِمْ وَقْرًا ۚ وَإِذَا ذَكَرْتَ رَبَّكَ فِي الْقُرْآنِ وَحْدَهُ وَلَّوْا عَلَىٰ أَدْبَارِهِمْ نُفُورًا

“And We have put coverings over their hearts lest they should understand it (the Qur’an), and in their ears deafness. And when you make mention of your Lord Alone [La ilaha illallah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah) Islamic Monotheism in the Qur’an, they turn on their backs, fleeing in extreme dislike.”

(Surah Al-Isra, 17:46)

Here, when Allah سُبْحَانَ وَ تَعَالَىٰ talks about the heart, he uses the word; قُلُوبِهِمْ. This reference to the heart makes apparent several qualities which I will list and describe here;

  1. ١َوْيَاْخُذَهُمْ فِيْ تَقَلُّبِهِمْ: To be seized. This is similar to the seizing Allah describes in Surah An-Nahl when He says; أَوْ يَأْخُذَهُمْ عَلَىٰ تَخَوُّفٍ فَإِنَّ رَبَّكُمْ لَرَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ [“Or that He may catch them with gradual wasting (of their wealth and health)? Truly! Your Lord is indeed full of Kindness, Most Merciful.”] (16:47)
  2. To change or become altered. ١ِنْقَلَبَ : “It or he was or became altered or changed from its or his mode or manner of being; it turned back to its former state or it became inverted or turned upside down.”
  3. To be redirected or turned away. اَعْقَا بِكُمْ اِنْقَلَبْتُمْ عَى : “You will be turned back on your heels”. This is like the ayah: يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن تُطِيعُوا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يَرُدُّوكُمْ عَلَىٰ أَعْقَابِكُمْ فَتَنقَلِبُوا خَاسِرِينَ [O you who believe! If you obey those who disbelieve, they will send you back on your heels, and you will turn back (from Faith) as losers.] (3:149)

Now we can understand with better insight what occurred in the heart of Abu Lahab’s wife. It was enough that her heart contained opposition to the Prophet ﷺ, with the due to her ignorance and disbelief. What was worse (for her) is her action of approaching The Prophet ﷺ, which invoked Abu Bakr’s the alarm and fear that she may cause harm to the Prophet ﷺ . Thus making her guilty of annoying Allah سُبْحَانَ وَ تَعَالَى and His Messenger ﷺ as Allah سُبْحَانَ وَ تَعَالَى says in The Qur’an:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُؤْذُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ لَعَنَهُمُ اللَّهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ عَذَابًا مُّهِينًا

“Verily, those who annoy Allah and His Messenger, Allah has cursed them in this world, and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating torment.”

(Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:57)

What Allah سُبْحَانَ وَ تَعَالَى says about His curse;

Imam Ahmad رَحِمَهُ ٱللّٰهُ reported, in his book, “Zuhd’, a Hadith Qudsi in which Allahسُبْحَانَ وَ تَعَالَى said: “I am Allah. There is no god but Me. If I am pleased, I bestow My Grace upon My Servant, and there is no limit to My Blessings. If I am Angry, I Curse, and My Curse reaches the seventh offspring of a person.”

Abu جزاكلله خير Huraira reported that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:When Allah loves a servant, He calls Gabriel and says: Verily, I so and so; you should also love him, and then Gabriel begins to love him. Then he makes an announcement in the heaven saying: Allah loves so and so and you also love him, and then the inhabitants of the Heaven (the Angels) also begin to love him and then there is conferred honor upon him in the earth; and when Allah is angry with any servant He calls Gabriel and says: I am angry with such and such and you also become angry with him, and then Gabriel also becomes angry and then makes an announcement amongst the inhabitants of heaven: Verily Allah is angry With so-and so, so you also become angry with him, and thus they also become angry with him. Then he becomes the object of wrath on the earth also.

(Sahih Muslim)

In invoking The Curse of Allah عزوجل upon herself, she cut herself off from benefitting from Allah عزوجل (hearing and understanding the Qur’an) and His Messenger (even seeing his face!)

Allah عزوجل further distanced her heart from Him, His Messenger ﷺ , and His Religion in allowing her to leave the confrontation with Abu Bakr جزاكلله خير with her heart in a state of justification- Abu Bakr’s جزاكلله خير denying that The Prophet ﷺ was saying poetry about her and her saying “The Quraysh know that I am the daughter of their master.” Furthering her disbelief and opposition.

In this ayah we have many beneficial lessons for The Believers which I will attempt to name some here:

  1. Allahعزوجل will aid His believing servants; مَن كَانَ يَظُنُّ أَن لَّن يَنصُرَهُ اللَّهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ فَلْيَمْدُدْ بِسَبَبٍ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ ثُمَّ لْيَقْطَعْ فَلْيَنظُرْ هَلْ يُذْهِبَنَّ كَيْدُهُ مَا يَغِيظُ [Whoever thinks that Allah will not help him (Muhammad ﷺ) in this world and in the Hereafter, let him stretch out a rope to the ceiling and let him strangle himself. Then let him strangle himself. Then let him see whether his plan will remove that whereat he rages!] (Surah Al Hajj, 22:15), بَلِ اللَّهُ مَوْلَاكُمْ ۖ وَهُوَ خَيْرُ النَّاصِرِينَ [Nay, Allah is your Maula (Patron, Lord, Helper, Protector), and He is the Best of helpers.] (Surah Al-Imran, 3:150), إِن يَنصُرْكُمُ اللَّهُ فَلَا غَالِبَ لَكُمْ ۖ وَإِن يَخْذُلْكُمْ فَمَن ذَا الَّذِي يَنصُرُكُم مِّن بَعْدِهِ ۗ وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ [If Allah helps you, none can overcome you; and if He forsakes you, who is there after Him that can help you? And in Allah (Alone) let believers put their trust.] (Surah Al-Imran, 3:160)
  2. Allah سُبْحَانَ وَ تَعَالَىٰ, intervenes between belief and disbelief protecting the Believers from all harm as long as their total trust is in Him. يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَجِيبُوا لِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ ۖ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَحُولُ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَأَنَّهُ إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ – 8:24 وَلَوْ عَلِمَ اللَّهُ فِيهِمْ خَيْرًا لَّأَسْمَعَهُمْ ۖ وَلَوْ أَسْمَعَهُمْ لَتَوَلَّوا وَّهُم مُّعْرِضُونَ [“Had Allah known of any good in them, He would indeed have made them listen, they would but have turned away with aversion (to the truth). O you who believe! Answer Allah (by obeying Him ) and (His) Messenger when he (ﷺ) calls you to that which will give you life, and know that Allah comes in between a person and his heart (i.e., He prevents an evil person to decide anything). And verily, to Him you shall (all) be gathered.”] (Surah Al-Anfal, 8:23-24) When one understands these ayat, it becomes apparent that arguing with those who disbelieve on any matter is futile. For there is no need in raising a complaint with creation when can do so with The Creator. Creation may not respond, however, for the believer, who is on the side of right, Allah is Sufficient. The believer should always use the weapon of duaa to Allah عزوجل for aid and trust that help will eventually come. This keeps the environment peaceful (despite the presence of an enemy), the heart tranquil through patience (despite oppression and annoyance), and Allah عزوجل pleased through service and obedience. Truly, I bear witness that AllahuAkbar (Allah is greater than everything). Through these acts of obedience to Allah عزوجل, disbelievers are also shown good ways; وَمَا لَنَا أَلَّا نَتَوَكَّلَ عَلَى اللَّهِ وَقَدْ هَدَانَا سُبُلَنَا ۚ وَلَنَصْبِرَنَّ عَلَىٰ مَا آذَيْتُمُونَا ۚ وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُتَوَكِّلُونَ – 14:12 [And why should we not put our trust in Allah when He indeed has guided us our ways? And we shall certainly bear with patience all the hurt you may cause us, and in Allah alone let those who trust, put their trust.”] (Surah Ibrahim, 14:12)
    1. In order to have access to this protection, one must know (without a shadow of doubt) that Allah is as He says He is; Al Batin (The Innermost), Adh-Dhaahir (The Uppermost), Al-Baseer (The All-Seeing), Al-Jabbaar (The Exalted and Almighty Compeller), Al-Haafidh (The Protector), Al-Haseeb (The Reckoner Who suffices), Al-Hafeedh (The Guardian), Al-Hakeem (The One Fully Wise), Al-Khabeer (The Fully Aware), Al-Khaaliq (The Creator and Maker of Everything), Ar-Raqeeb (The Ever Watchful Guardian), As-Samee’ (The All-Hearing), Ash-Shaheed (The Witness), As-Samad (The Perfect Lord and Master upon Whom the Whole of Creation Depends), Al-Aalim (The All-Knower of the Seen and Unseen), Al-Azeez (The Almighty or the Invincible), Al-Fattah (The Judge and Opener Who distinguishes the truth from falsehood), Al-Qaadir (The Fully Able One), Al-Qaahir (The Invincible Subduer), Al-Qadeer (The All-Powerful), Al-Qareeb (The One Who is Near to the Servants), Al-Qawiyy (The One Perfect in Strength), Al-Qahhaar (The Overwhelming Subduer Who is Never Overcome), Al-Mu’min (The True and Trustworthy, The Granter of Security), Al-Mateen (The Strong), Al-Mujeeb (The Responsive), Al-Muheet (The All-Encompassing), Al-Muqeet (The All -Powerful Maintainer), Al-Mawlaa (The Patron Lord or the Master and Supporter), Al-Muhaymin (The Trustworthy and Ever Watchful Witness, An-Naseer (The Helper), Al-Wakeel (The Trustworthy Disposer of Affairs), Al-Waliyy (The Guardian Lord), Al-Hakam (The Judge), Al-Mu’akhkir (The One Who Puts Back). SubhanAllah! When remembering The Beautiful and Holy Names of Allah سُبْحَانَ وَ تَعَالَىٰ, we see clearly that even the greatest of opponents is like a small ant! We thank Allah for His Mercy and Kindness.
  3. Pride, The Harboring of Anger, and Oppression are from the blameworthy characteristics of Shaytan who is cursed in this life and the next. Those who follow his custom (in these acts) towards the believers will incur the wrath of Allah.

Abdullah bin Imam Ahmad reported in the book, Az-Zuhd of his father, on the authority of Malik bin Dinar who said: “Allah سُبْحَانَ وَ تَعَالَىٰ revealed to one of the Prophets of the Children of Israel tell his people: ‘Do not follow the path of My Enemies; do not assume the form of My Enemies; do not board the ships of My Enemies; do not eat the food of My Enemies; thus they would become like My Enemies.”

A Warning to Those Who Believe:

There will necessarily come times of hardships as Allah سُبْحَانَ وَ تَعَالَىٰ has promised to test His slaves. Oftentimes, these hardships will arise due to disbelievers and hypocrites who are the enemies of Islam. The advice previously mentioned- that is, to stay patient for Allah’s سُبْحَانَ وَ تَعَالَىٰ sake is a protection from the greatest harm. What is the greatest harm? That harm is the harm, that will render one’s Tawheed null and void and turn good deeds into dust. It is the oppressive harm of shirk that one does to himself. What I am mentioning to you my respected brothers and sisters is the harm of Ash-Shirk al-Khafi (The inconspicuous Shirk). This shirk entails being inwardly dissatisfied with the condition Allah has written for you. When the believer is tried and tested with hardship patience and thinking good about Allah سُبْحَانَ وَ تَعَالَىٰ is the only recourse for success. May Allah سُبْحَانَ وَ تَعَالَىٰ bless you to be grateful for your condition (His Favors), patient when tested, and repentant when you sin. May He سُبْحَانَ وَ تَعَالَىٰ protect you from all harm and guide you always. Allahumma Ameen.

Note:

Ash-Shirk al-Khafi is expiated by saying three times everyday:

“O Allah! I take your refuge from that I should ascribe anything as partner in Your worship, being conscious of that, and I beg Your pardon for that sin which I am not aware of.”

Narrated AbuAyyash عزوجل narrated:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: If anyone says in the morning: “There is no god but Allah alone who has no partner; to Him belong the dominions, to Him praise is due, and He is Omnipotent (has full power over everything),” he will have a reward equivalent to that for setting free a slave from among the descendants of Isma’il. He will have ten good deeds recorded for him, ten evil deeds deducted from him, he will be advanced ten degrees, and will be guarded from the Devil till the evening. If he says them in the evening, he will have a similar recompense till the morning.

The version of Hammad says: A man saw the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) in a dream and said: Messenger of Allah! AbuAyyash is relating such and such on your authority.

He said: AbuAyyash has spoken the truth.

Abu Dawud said: Isma’il b. Ja’far, Musa al-Zim’i and ‘Adb Allah b. Ja’far transmitted it from Suhail, from his father on the authority of Ibn ‘A’ish.

(Sunan Abi Dawud)

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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