Wednesday 3 April 2024

Not their eyes but hearts that are blinded (selected verses from Qur'an)

Accepting and bowing to the truth has always been contested since time immemorial. No one wants to deviate what one knows or what one's ancestors have passed down to the coming generations. The arrogance of being superior has always tried to overshadowed the humility which one attains when truth dawns upon them. 

And this has been so when it comes to accepting the Divine truth that has been revealed to the messengers and prophets. The history is replete with such denials of truth right from the Prophet Nuh (Noah) to all the following prophets including Ibraheem (Abraham), Musa (Moses), Eesa (Jesus) and the last of the prophets Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. That is why it is said in Qur'an: O Muhammad, "you are not the only one being denied, all Prophets were denied before you."

When it comes to believing, one can see the truth from one's naked eye, like all the Divine creations all around us, proving to us that such creations are even beyond the comprehension of a human being, for how can a creation can create something. Yet their hearts do not accept the truth and the remain oblivious and blinded of the truth that prophets and messengers of Allah have tried to bring home to them.

This is the very theme of the 46th verse of Surah 22. Al Hajj that we share today and see how eminent Muslim scholars have explained this very thought provoking verse:

اَفَلَمۡ يَسِيۡرُوۡا فِى الۡاَرۡضِ فَتَكُوۡنَ لَهُمۡ قُلُوۡبٌ يَّعۡقِلُوۡنَ بِهَاۤ اَوۡ اٰذَانٌ يَّسۡمَعُوۡنَ بِهَا​ ۚ فَاِنَّهَا لَا تَعۡمَى الۡاَبۡصَارُ وَلٰـكِنۡ تَعۡمَى الۡـقُلُوۡبُ الَّتِىۡ فِى الصُّدُوۡرِ‏ 
(22:46) So have they not traveled through the earth and have hearts by which to reason and ears by which to hear? For indeed, it is not eyes that are blinded, but blinded are the hearts which are within the breasts.

The words “blinded are the hearts” have been used in the metaphorical and not in the literal sense. Since the heart is regarded as the center of emotions, feelings and of mental and moral qualities, these words have been used to imply that their obduracy has inhibited them from feeling and acting rationally.

The word for "heart" in Arabic speech imports both the seat of intelligent faculties and understanding as well as the seat of affections and emotions. Those who reject Allah's Message may have their physical eyes and ears, but their hearts are blind and deaf. If their faculties of understanding were active, would they not see the Signs of Allah's Providence and Allah's Wrath in nature around them and in the cities and ruins if they travel intelligently?

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir
(أَفَلَمْ يَسِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ Have they not traveled through the land,) means, have they not traveled in the physical sense and also used their minds to ponder? 

That is sufficient, as Ibn Abi Ad-Dunya said in his book At-Tafakkur wal-I'tibar, "Some of the wise people said, 'Give life to your heart with lessons, illuminate it with thought, kill it with asceticism, strengthen it with certain faith, remind it of its mortality, make it aware of the calamities of this world, warn it of the disasters that life may bring, show it how things may suddenly change with the passing of days, tell it the stories of the people of the past, and remind it what happened to those who came before.'" 

Walk through their ruins, see what they did and what became of them, meaning, look at the punishments and divine wrath that struck the nations of the past who belied,

(فَتَكُونَ لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌ يَعْقِلُونَ بِهَا أَوْ آذَانٌ يَسْمَعُونَ بِهَا and have they hearts wherewith to understand and ears wherewith to hear) meaning, let them learn a lesson from that.

(فَإِنَّهَا لَا تَعْمَى الْأَبْصَارُ وَلَٰكِن تَعْمَى الْقُلُوبُ الَّتِي فِي الصُّدُورِ Verily, it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are in the breasts that grow blind.) means, the blind person is not the one whose eyes cannot see, but rather the one who has no insight. Even if the physical eyes are sound, they still cannot learn the lesson.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
Since the hearts are qualified by blindness, it shows that the eyes are qualified by words to the effect: “of the face.” It has been expressed in the translation. The Qur’ān is couched in literary Arabic; its language is not that of science. In literary Arabic, most actions of the mind are ascribed to the heart. Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī writes:

Here since people who lack insight are being described, it was essential that the heart be portrayed with respect to its locus: real blindness is the blindness of the heart and the rejecters of the messenger are inflicted by this blindness. People should not think that they can see if the eyes on their face are open because the radiance of insight in the eyes comes from the heart and the eyes of their hearts are totally blind. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 5, 265)

Qur'an Wiki Explanation:
Here, Allah poses yet another rhetorical question about their effects on unbelievers: Have they never journeyed through the lands, letting their hearts gain wisdom, and their ears hear? It is not eyes that go blind; but blind indeed become the hearts that are in people’s breasts. (Verse 46) Emphasis is here placed on the location of hearts in people’s bodies, which serves to amplify the blindness of those hearts in particular. Had those hearts been able to reflect on the scenes portrayed, they would have remembered and people’s eyes would have been tearful. They would have moved towards faith, at least as a result of fearing an end like the ones that befell other communities.

My readers may ask why I  have selected this verse today? Well, it is a message for all those, specially atheists, who see the truth and creations which are simple mind blogging, yet their hearts fail to acknowledge the truth and they remain adamant to respond to the truth they see, and thus remain ignorant forever.
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

You may read more posts on similar theme in our series of posts related to: The Utter Losers (in worldly life and the Hereafter) in the light of Qur'an

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages  and Understanding Al Qur'an for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Tafsir References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from the following sources: 
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Translation Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Qur'an Wiki
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
In addition, references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

Disclaimer: The material for this post has been collected from the references given above. If anyone differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

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