ered all their bodies, which have become the disease itself. The suppurating blisters of the illness become an additional body for them. Like the saying “ishta‘ala al-baytu nāran,” which infers that fire has enveloped the whole house and it is all ablaze; as opposed to “ishta‘ala nāru’l-bayt,” which states that a part of it has caught fire.
The sixth phrase, that is, “and theirs is a grievous penalty (wa la-hum ‘adhābun alīm):” the lām (of “la-hum – theirs”), which denotes benefit, indicates that if they are to receive benefit, it would definitely be [in the form of] grievous suffering in this world or painful torment in the next. Now it is impossible that these should be benefits, so it is impossible they should receive them. While the word “torment, penalty (‘adhāb)” being qualified by “painful, grievous (alīm),” meaning ‘in pain, suffering’ (muta‘allim), which usually refers to people, hints that the torment has overwhelmed their bodies and enveloped their persons and suffused their inner beings, so that they have become torment and the torment has become identical with them, like red-hot coals turn into burning embers when consumed by fire. If one beholds the torment with one’s imagination and hears the agonized wailing and moaning on every side arising from the perpetually renewed life of torture, it seems as though it is the torment itself that is wailing and groaning. What a terrible warning for those who think!
The seventh phrase; that is, “because they are false [to themselves] (bi-mā kānū yakdhibūn):” by attributing the above-mentioned penalty for their crimes to lying alone, it is indicating the atrociousness of lying, and its ugliness and loathsomeness. This indication testifies truthfully to the severe effects of the poison of lying, for lying is the basis of unbelief; indeed, unbelief is a falsehood and the worst sort of lying, and it is the chief sign of dissembling. Lying is to slander divine power and it is the opposite of dominical wisdom. Lying destroys high morals. It transforms great enterprises into putrifying corpses. Its poison has spread through the Islamic world. It has overturned the affairs of mankind, and held back the world of humanity from attaining its perfections, and prevented its advance and progress. It has cast down the likes of Musaylima the Liar to the lowest of the low. It is a heavy burden on man’s back hindering him from achieving his aims. It is the progenitor of hypocrisy and artificiality. These are the reasons it has been specified by that which was revealed from above the Sublime Throne, and why it is execrated and made the object of threats. So you people, and especially you Muslims! This verse calls on you to note it carefully.