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The People of Al-A`raf Print E-mail

After Allah mentioned that the people of Paradise will address the people of the Fire, He stated that there is a barrier between Paradise and the Fire, which prevents the people of the Fire from reaching Paradise. Ibn Jarir said, "It is the wall that Allah described,

﴿فَضُرِبَ بَيْنَهُم بِسُورٍ لَّهُ بَابٌ بَاطِنُهُ فِيهِ الرَّحْمَةُ وَظَـهِرُهُ مِن قِبَلِهِ الْعَذَابُ﴾

(So a wall will be put up between them, with a gate therein. Inside it will be mercy, and outside it will be torment.) ﴿57:13﴾ It is also about Al-A`raf that Allah said,

﴿وَعَلَى الاٌّعْرَافِ رِجَالٌ﴾

(and on Al-A`raf will be men).'' Ibn Jarir recorded that As-Suddi said about Allah's statement,

﴿وَبَيْنَهُمَا حِجَابٌ﴾

(And between them will be a screen) "It is the wall, it is Al-A`raf.'' Mujahid said, "Al-A`raf is a barrier between Paradise and the Fire, a wall that has a gate.'' Ibn Jarir said, "Al-A`raf is plural for `Urf, where every elevated piece of land is known as `Urf to the Arabs.'' As-Suddi said, "Al-A`raf is so named because its residents recognize (Ya`rifun) the people. Al-A`raf's residents are those whose good and bad deeds are equal, as Hudhayfah, Ibn `Abbas, Ibn Mas`ud and several of the Salaf and later generations said.'' Ibn Jarir recorded that Hudhayfah was asked about the people of Al-A`raf and he said, "A people whose good and bad deeds are equal. Their evil deeds prevented them from qualifying to enter Paradise, and their good deeds qualified them to avoid the Fire. Therefore, they are stopped there on the wall until Allah judges them.'' Ma`mar said that Al-Hasan recited this Ayah,

﴿لَمْ يَدْخُلُوهَا وَهُمْ يَطْمَعُونَ﴾

(and at that time they will not yet have entered it (Paradise), but they will hope to enter (it).) Then he said, "By Allah! Allah did not put this hope in their hearts, except for an honor that He intends to bestow on them.'' Qatadah said; "Those who hope are those among you whom Allah informed of their places.'' Allah said next,

﴿وَإِذَا صُرِفَتْ أَبْصَـرُهُمْ تِلْقَآءَ أَصْحَـبِ النَّارِ قَالُواْ رَبَّنَا لاَ تَجْعَلْنَا مَعَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّـلِمِينَ ﴾

(And when their eyes will be turned towards the dwellers of the Fire, they will say: "Our Lord! Place us not with the people who are wrongdoers.'') Ad-Dahhak reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "When the people of Al-A`raf look at the people of the Fire and recognize them, they will supplicate, `O Lord! Do not place us with the people who are wrongdoers.'''

﴿وَنَادَى أَصْحَـبُ الاٌّعْرَافِ رِجَالاً يَعْرِفُونَهُمْ بِسِيمَـهُمْ قَالُواْ مَآ أَغْنَى عَنكُمْ جَمْعُكُمْ وَمَا كُنتُمْ تَسْتَكْبِرُونَ ﴾

﴿أَهَـؤُلاءِ الَّذِينَ أَقْسَمْتُمْ لاَ يَنَالُهُمُ اللَّهُ بِرَحْمَةٍ ادْخُلُواْ الْجَنَّةَ لاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْكُمْ وَلاَ أَنتُمْ تَحْزَنُونَ ﴾

(48. And the men on Al-A`raf will call unto the men whom they would recognize by their marks, saying: "Of what benefit to you was your gathering, and your arrogance'') (49. "Are they those, of whom you swore that Allah would never show them mercy (Behold! It has been said to them): `Enter Paradise, no fear shall be on you, nor shall you grieve.''') Allah states that the people of Al-A`raf will admonish some of the chiefs of the idolators whom they recognize by their marks in the Fire, saying,

﴿مَآ أَغْنَى عَنكُمْ جَمْعُكُمْ﴾

("Of what benefit to you was your gathering...'') meaning, your great numbers,

﴿وَمَا كُنتُمْ تَسْتَكْبِرُونَ﴾

("...and your arrogance'') This Ayah means, your great numbers and wealth did not save you from Allah's torment. Rather, you are dwelling in His torment and punishment. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas,

﴿أَهَـؤُلاءِ الَّذِينَ أَقْسَمْتُمْ لاَ يَنَالُهُمُ اللَّهُ بِرَحْمَةٍ﴾

(Are they those, of whom you swore that Allah would never show them mercy) refers to the people of Al-A`raf who will be told when Allah decrees:

﴿ادْخُلُواْ الْجَنَّةَ لاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْكُمْ وَلاَ أَنتُمْ تَحْزَنُونَ﴾

((Behold! It has been said to them): "Enter Paradise, no fear shall be on you, nor shall you grieve.'')

﴿وَنَادَى أَصْحَـبُ النَّارِ أَصْحَـبَ الْجَنَّةِ أَنْ أَفِيضُواْ عَلَيْنَا مِنَ الْمَآءِ أَوْ مِمَّا رَزَقَكُمُ اللَّهُ قَالُواْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ حَرَّمَهُمَا عَلَى الْكَـفِرِينَ - الَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُواْ دِينَهُمْ لَهْوًا وَلَعِبًا وَغَرَّتْهُمُ الْحَيَوةُ الدُّنْيَا فَالْيَوْمَ نَنسَـهُمْ كَمَا نَسُواْ لِقَآءَ يَوْمِهِمْ هَـذَا وَمَا كَانُواْ بِـَايَـتِنَا يَجْحَدُونَ ﴾

(50. And the dwellers of the Fire will call to the dwellers of Paradise: "Pour on us some water or anything that Allah has provided you with.'' They will say: "Both (water and provision) Allah has forbidden for the disbelievers.) (51. "Who took their religion as amusement and play, and the life of the world deceived them.'' So this Day We shall forget them as they forgot their meeting of this Day, and as they used to reject Our Ayat.)

 
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