The Third: They are both struck by alarm so fearsome they become insane and lose their minds. It is like someone who sees a flashing sword and tries to defend himself by closing his eyes, or hears the roar of guns and tries to avoid being hit by stopping up his ears, or like someone who does not want the sun to set and impedes the workings of his watch so that the wheel of fate will cease to turn. How crazy they are! For the thunderbolts will not turn back when they stop up their ears, nor will the fiery lightning pity them when they close their eyes. From this it is understood that they have nothing left to cling on to.
The Fourth: The sun and rain, and light and water are apparently the source of the life of flowers and plants and for the raising of them, but they also cause dead things to putrefy and filthy things to rot. Similarly, if mercy and bounty do not encounter places that are ready and prepared for them and know their value, they are transformed into trouble and revenge.
The Fifth: Just as, if one disregards the words, there is a correspondence between the meanings [of the second parable and of the story of the dissemblers it portrays], which form the basis of the allegorical metaphor (al-isti‘āra al-tamthīliyya); so too there are relationships between the parts [of both of these], for a cloudburst is the life of plants, as Islam is the life of spirits. The thunder and lightning indicate promise and threat, while the darknesses show you the doubts of disbelief and scepticism of dissembling.
The positioning of [and relationships between]
the verses’ phrases:
With the phrase “a violent cloudburst in the sky (ka-ṣayyibin min al-samā’),” the Qur’an infers that [the dissemblers] resemble people forced to travel through a wild desert on a dark night in a violent rainstorm, the calamitous rain pelting down on them like bullets from the brimming sky. In this way it is alerting the listener’s mind, for he is waiting for an explanation of why the rain clouds, which are essentially much desired mercy, are such a ghastly calamity. So to illustrate their awesomeness, it says: “with utter darkness(es) (fīhi ẓulumātun),” suggesting that the rain contains the clouds’ darkness and denseness. Similarly, because of its abundance and being so widespread and general, it is as though with its black droplets [the rain] contains the fragmenting night. As soon as the listener hears “with utter darkness” he expects an explanation, as though the speaker hears the sound of thunder in his brain so says: “and thunder (wa ra‘dun).” This suggests its menacing threats, for the skies, the commander of beings, are intent on wiping out [the dissemblers] and they rumble and roar at them