corruption remains concealed it subsides by degrees and the one perpetrating it endeavours to hide it. But if the veil is raised, in consequence of the saying: “If you’re shameless you can do as you like!”,1 he would exclaim, “It doesn’t matter what happens!,” and unconcernedly spread depravity.
Secondly: The term “the people (al-nās)” indicates that quite apart from other attributes opposed to dissembling, the most general of attributes, I mean humanity, is contrary to it, for man is noble and such degradation is not characteristic of him.
Thirdly: It also infers that dissembling is not particular to any group or class, but is found in mankind generally, whatever the people.
Fourthly: The word hints that dissembling offends the honour of everyone human and inevitably arouses their anger against the person, and drives them to restrict [his activities] to prevent the poison spreading. Similarly, it wounds the honour of the group, and the disgrace of its member excites [its members’] rage against him.
“Who say: we believe (man yaqūlu āmannā)”
• If you were to ask: Why although they both refer to the same person, is “say (yaqūlu)” in the singular case, and “we believe (āmannā)” in the plural?
You would be told: This indicates an exquisitely subtle point which is that the first person plural is singular [to say: “we” is to speak as one], and “say (yaqūlu)” is singular because one person is speaking. But “we believe (āmannā)” is plural because he is not alone in his belief.
Then is the quotation of their assertions: this form of literal quotation indicates the rebuttal in two respects of what is quoted, in the same way that it indicates its forcefulness in two respects. For “say (yaqūlu)” hints by its form that they do not speak out of conviction or [in consequence of their] actions, but utter with their mouths what is not in their hearts. Also, its being in the imperfect tense suggests that the reason for their continuing to defend themselves and make this claim is hypocrisy and not prompted by the conscience. While their assertion “we believe (āmannā)” being in the perfect tense suggests: “All of us People of the Book, we have long since believed so why shouldn’t we believe now?” And the pronominal suf-
This is based on a Hadith related from Abū Mas‘ūd ‘Uqba ibn ‘Amr al-Ansārī and cited by al-Bukhārī: “One thing people have understood from the words of the prophethood is: ‘You can do you what you like so long as you feel no shame.’” al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ, iv, 215; al-Suyūṭī, al-Durar al-Muntathira, 35. See, Nursi, Ishārāt al-I‘jāz [Iḥsān Qāsim], 89; Badıllı, Kudsî Kaynakları, 812.