Islam is truly immense. It is the cause of the present confusion. For this reason the Qur’an frequently condemns it.
Secondly: The dissembler mixes with the believers and becomes familiar with them to an extent, and grows accustomed to belief a little. He starts to feel repelled at his condition because his actions are reviled and condemned. Little by little the confession of divine unity trickles from his tongue to his heart.
Thirdly: The dissembler surpasses the unbeliever in such crimes as mockery, trickery, fraudulence, cunning, lying, and hypocrisy.
Fourthly: The dissembler is usually one of the People of the Book, and a diabolically clever scheming swindler. To be prolix about dissembling therefore is perfect eloquence.
Now to analyze the verse’s words:
Consider this: in one respect “And of the people (Wa min al-nās)” is the prefixed predicate of “who (man).”
• If you were to ask: Isn’t it obvious that the dissembler is one of the people?
You would be told: When a statement is obvious, what is intended is one of its necessary consequences, and here it is to cause astonishment. It is as though it is saying: It is extraordinary that the contemptible dissembler is a human being, for man is noble; it is not characteristic of him to stoop to such baseness.
• If you were to ask: Why is the predicate put first?
You would be told: Precedence is more apt for producing astonishment, and for concentrating attention on the subject, for that is where the aim [of the sentence] is found. Otherwise one might expectantly pass [from the subject] to the predicate [and partially overlook the subject and aim].
Several subtle points may be distilled from the expression “the people (al-nās):”
Firstly: The Qur’an did not specify [the dissemblers] and expose them; indeed, it concealed them under the term “the people.” This indicates that shielding them and not lifting the veil from their repugnant faces was more consistent with the Prophet’s policies (Upon whom be blessings and peace). For if it had exposed them, the believers would have wavered, for no one is safe from the tricks of the soul, and doubts would have led to fear, and fear to hypocrisy, and hypocrisy to dissembling. Also, if attention had been drawn to their ugliness it might have been said that the Prophet (UWBP) was hesitant and did not trust his followers. And sometimes, if