وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ لاَ تُفْسِدُواْ فِي اْلاَرْضِ قَالُواْ إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُصْلِحُونَ ❀ اَلاَ إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ الْمُفْسِدُونَ وَلٰكِن لاَّ يَشْعُرُونَ
When it is said to them: ‘Do not spread corruption on the earth,’ they answer: ‘We are but improving things!’ * Oh, verily, it is they, they who are who are spreading corruption, but they perceive it not.
(Wa idhā qīla la-hum lā tufsidū fi’l-arḍ qālū innamā naḥnu muṣliḥūn. * A’ lā innahum hum al-mufsidūna wa lākin lā yash‘urūn.)
Consider the positioning of these verses in regard to the preceding ones:
Allah the Most High mentions the first of the crimes arising from their dissembling: their wronging themselves and transgressing the rights of Allah (ḥuqūq Allāh), together with the successive consequences mentioned above, and then He follows this with the second of their crimes: their trampling the rights of Allah’s servants and their spreading corruption, and its results.
[The phrase] “when it is said (idhā qīla)” is linked by virtue of the story to “say (yaqūlu)” in “Of the people there are some who say: (Wa min al-nās man yaqūlu),”(2:8) and by reason of its meaning to “Fain would they deceive (Yukhādi‘ūna);”(2:9) so too, by virtue of itself it is linked to “they are false to themselves (yakdhibūn).”(2:10)
The change from a categorical to a conditional clause is an indication and concealed sign of the clause implicit between them. It is as though it is saying: “Theirs is a grievous penalty for what they give the lie to; for when they lie they cause dissension, and when they cause dissension they cause corruption; and if they are admonished they do not accept it, and if they are told: don’t spread corruption... and so on.”
The positioning of the verses’ phrases, both explicit and implicit:
It is exactly the same as the order and linkages in the example that I shall now give you: