have some metal ore and you smelt it and one fifth becomes gold and the rest turns to dross and ashes, isn’t the fire the means of its perfection and excellence (lit. happiness)? You can make further examples in the same way. Consequently, it is only through striving that elevated sensibilities unfold and [high] morals develop, and it is only through the confrontation of opposites and competition that things are perfected. You surely know that if a government or state exerts itself its courage grows, but if it gives up striving its courage expires. [That is, if it abandons jihad, it loses its courage and enterprise.] Reflect on this!
Now the positioning of the phrase “but none does he cause thereby to go astray save those who forsake [the path] (wa mā yuḍillu bi-hi illā al-fāsiqīn):”
Because of the vagueness of the [previous] phrase, “He causes many to go astray,” this one alerts the listener’s mind, and perturbed, he asks: “Who are these people who go astray? What is the reason? And how can darkness come from the light of the Qur’an?” So [the Qur’an] answers: “[They go astray] because they are depraved and have deviated from the right path (al-fāsiqūn). Misguidance is the penalty for their depravity. And because of it the light becomes fire for them, and the brightness, darkness.” You surely know that sunlight putrefies filth.
[Various] aspects [of sinfulness, depravity (fisq)] are described in [the following verse]: “Who break Allah’s covenant after it has been ratified, and cut asunder what Allah has bidden to be joined, and spread corruption on earth (Alladhīna yanquḍūna ‘ahd Allāhi min ba‘d mithāqihi wa yaqṭa‘ūna mā amara Allāhu bi-hi an yūṣala wa yufsidūna fī al-arḍ):”
This elucidates and spells out [what] depravity [consists of], for it is a renunciation of truth and to exceed the limits and quit the hard shell [of right-guidance]. It is either excess (al-ifrāṭ) or deficiency (al-tafrīṭ) in the three powers of intellect, anger, and animal appetites. And excess and deficiency lead to rebellion in the face of the evidences that are like the divine covenants (al-‘uhūd) in creation (al-fiṭra). They also lead to sickness in personal life; the first attribute [in the above verse] indicates this. So too they incite rebellion in the face of social life and break the bonds and laws of society. The second attribute indicates this. They also cause corruption and revolution, which spoil the order of the earth, as indicated by the third attribute. Yes, when his intellect exceeds the bounds of moderation the depraved person breaks the bonds of the tenets of belief and smashes their strong shell, that is, eternal life. And when his power of anger oversteps the