As for “many (kathīran),” the first, [those who have gone astray], expresses quantity and number, while the second, [the rightly-guided], expresses quality and value. Yes, the generous and noble are numerous [due to their high worth] even if few [in number]. The second “many” is also an allusion to the mystery of the Qur’an’s being a mercy for humankind. Now dwell on this!
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):”
Consider this: by explaining here who the misguided are, [the Qur’an] allays the doubts, fear, and hesitation [given rise to by] the “many” above [“He causes many to go astray”], and rejects the accusation that the Qur’an is defective. [It explains] that the source of their misguidance is their depravity, and that the cause of it is what they have done (kasbuhum), and that the faults are theirs not the Qur’an’s, and that the creation of misguidance is punishment for their actions. Understand too that each of these phrases elucidates the one preceding it, and is expounded by the one following it, as though each is proof of the preceding and the consequence of the succeeding.
This may be clarified with two lines of reasoning:
The first is this: [Allah] does not disdain (lit. is not ashamed) [to propound the parable], because He does refrain [from doing this], because [the parable] is eloquent, because it is the truth, because it is the word of Allah, because the believer knows this.
The second is this: [Allah] does not disdain [to propound the parable], as the deniers say, because they say He should refrain from it, because they do not know the wisdom in it, because they ask what use it is, because they deny it, because they deem it trifling, because they have fallen into misguidance through hearing it, because the Qur’an has led them astray, because in their wickedness they have exceeded the bounds, because they have broken Allah’s covenant, because they have sundered what He joined through His commands both in creation and in the Shari‘a, because they spoil the divine order of the earth, consequently they are the losers both in this world by reason of their pangs of conscience, anxious hearts, and desolate spirits, and in the hereafter due to the everlasting torments and divine wrath that shall be visited on them. Ponder now over the fluency of these two sequences!
Now the parts of the sentence “Who break Allah’s covenant after it has been ratified, and cut asunder what Allah has bidden to be joined, and