As-Salāmu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wabarakathuhu

May the Peace, Mercy and Blessings of God be upon you beautiful people

"Truth has (now) arrived, and Falsehood perished: for Falsehood is (by its nature) bound to perish." [Qur'an 17:81]

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Why does Allah seal the hearts?

The verse in question:


"As for the unbelievers, it is the same whether or not you forewarn them; they will not have faith. God has set a seal upon their hearts and ears; their sight is dimmed and grievous punishment awaits them." (Surah 2 verses 6 and 7)

Firstly the context of the verses should be made clear. They were revealed at a time when the Prophet had just delivered the message of Islam to the people, and new Muslims were facing persecution and violence. Along with this there were a lot of political conversions from people who aimed to destroy Islam from within before it started spreading. These people were referred to as hypocrites.
There is a hadith on this issue:

"When a sin is committed for the first time, a black point, that is, a black stain occurs in the heart. If the person repents and asks forgiveness from Allah, the heart shines again. I the person does not repent and he repeats the sin, the stain becomes larger; in time, it becomes so large that it covers all of the heart like a cover. It is what is mentioned in the following verse in Chapter al-Mutaffifin: "By no means! But on their hearts is the stain of the (ill) which they do!" (al-Mutaffifin, 83/14). It is the stain mentioned in the verse."

There are a number of verses that show that their disbelief came about by their own choice and volition such as His sayings:

"But they preferred blindness over guidance." (41:17)

"Those are they who have purchased misguidance at the price of guidance, torment at the price of forgiveness." (2:175)

"Then whosoever wills let him believe, and whosoever wills let him disbelieve." (18:29)

"This is because of the (evil) which your hands have sent before you." (3:182)

"Evil indeed is that which their own selves have sent forward." (5:80)

The reconciliation between these verses lies in the fact that the seal and covering placed upon their ears, eyes and hearts is done as punishment from Allaah for their insisting upon disbelief and their denying the Messengers out of their own choice. So Allaah punished them for their doing this in a fitting and reciprocal way as He has clarified with His sayings:

"Allaah has set a seal upon their hearts because of their disbelief." (4:155)

"That is because they believed, then disbelieved, therefore their hearts are sealed so they understand not." (63:3)

"And We shall turn their hearts and their eyes away (from guidance), as they refused to believe therein for the first time" (6:110)

"So when they turned away (from the Path), Allaah turned their hearts away." (61:5)

"In their hearts is a disease and Allaah has increased their disease." (2:10)

"Nay! But on their hearts is the covering of sins which they used to earn." (83:14)

However the word veil mention in this verse (ghishawah) is the veil that you still can see through, it is temporary and can be removed. You would say what does that matter, but arabic is a rich language with several words for the one equivalent word in english so the choice of word is key and is for a specific reason. This is emphasised by a number of other verses that prove that some of the disbelievers did believe in Allaah and His Messenger (and hence became Muslims) such as His sayings:

"Say to those who have disbelieved, if they cease (from their disbelief) their past will be forgiven." (8:38)

"So were you yourselves in the past (i.e. disbelievers) until Allaah conferred upon you His Favours." (4:94)

"And some of these (disbelievers) believe therein." (29:47)

Their hearts are only sealed for as long as they wish to keep themselves in denial and ignorance. So, if a person wishes to open his eyes and learn, his seal will be removed. The seal is dependent on the actions and intentions of the person in question. So despite the verse in question, some individuals could be preached to and in fact were preached to successfully.

Just like the strengthening of one's heart and belief is attributed to Allah 8:10-11,10:57,18:14,48:4,57:27 the natural phenomenon of sealing of the hearts, ears, and eyes exists with the will of Allah, like each and every natural phenomenon such as rain etc., this is why it is attributed to Allah.Everything that occurs is within the boundary of the divine laws created and designed by God.

We must not think that "either I did it or God did it." Both did it. What do I mean? Let's say you choose to burn your hand with fire. Did you burn yourself? Yes

However, the existence of fire, the physical laws that surround the fire, the biological properties of your body and etc., are all created by God. So, your action was/is/ and always will be based on God's divine/universal laws. You yourself seal your own heart by rejecting the message of God, but God says that He seals your heart because your heart is sealed by the laws created by God. Everything is within the knowledge of God and hence everything happening in the scheme of things is due to God's will, but this does not negate your own free will. You still have consequences for your actions. It may sound slightly confusing but it is linked into the larger topic of predestination which is a different discussion entirely

So again for this specific verse, you commit the misdeed and as a result and based on God's divine laws, your misdeeds will lead to the sealing of your heart. This occurs because that is how God created and designed the laws. This and other verses similar to this show the consequences of negative actions. It is similar to the rusting of the iron, to the rotof a tree or to the smutting of the mirror out of negligence, because the human decay is similar to the decay of the nature

In other words, Divine destiny and decree are but a part and parcel of the regulations governing the cosmos and the necessity of an effect following its complete cause. And in the case of the volitional acts of the human being, will, decision, and intention are among the essential components of the complete cause and hence are necessary to bring about his volitional acts. When the human being performs a certain action, its effects inescapably leave their impression on the human soul and psyche. In this light, if the human being himself prepares the grounds for God sealing his heart, by the Law of the cosmos, its effects will haunt him.

In the light of what has been said the following points can be highlighted:

1. God sealing of the heart is the direct outcome of the volitional conduct of the human being.

2. As the sealing of the heart is part of the cosmic scheme of Divine destiny and decree, it is attributed to God

3. The human being whose heart has been tainted by the dross of sin can add to his spiritual contamination by repeating the past mistakes. It should be noted that this perpetuation of sin is on his own accord.

4. Although it is very difficult for the sinful human being whose heart is covered with the dross of sin to return to the path of righteousness and is very unlikely, it is not impossible. He can choose with a firm resolution to embark on purging his heart of the darkness of sin. In other words, if the soul and heart of the unbeliever and hypocrite become sealed and dark and debased such that no bright space remains, he is, to employ the words of the Quran, finished and there is no hope of his redemption. He has intentionally removed himself from the path of guidance and light and thus has shut the door of repentance on himself.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello,
Interesting article.
Let just go down to the main points and see if I can make you understand my opinion. Again, no one is here to try to make a you an unbeliever, I just want you to see inside the mind of an infidel :) .

1.)
"God sealing of the heart is the direct outcome of the volitional conduct of the human being."

Well, ok , lets say I choose to turn away from allah. Is he not the most merciful? Doesn't he love me? Can't he use his awesome power to change me? Why not? If he can create the universe surely he can make me a believer, at the snap of the finger.
And don't give me that "but he wants to give your free will". What kind of free will is that!! He punishes you in hell for eternity, just for not believing in him?
Or Maybe allah chooses not to be merciful, that would mean that he is not the most merciful.
Or perhaps allah can't change my heart, but according to the Koran, he can change my heart, but only to make me a bigger unbeliever! That makes NO SENSE!

2. As the sealing of the heart is part of the cosmic scheme of Divine destiny and decree, it is attributed to God

If there is a plan, "god's plan", then there is no free will. Also, there is no need to pray since everything has already been decided for you since before your great grandparents were born. A truly , truly absurd and horrible idea , basically human beings beings slaves of allah. You might choose to live that way, but, I do not.

3. The human being whose heart has been tainted by the dross of sin can add to his spiritual contamination by repeating the past mistakes. It should be noted that this perpetuation of sin is on his own accord.

I actually agree with this, the downward spiral I call it. People self destroying and destroying others. It happens all the time.
I think however that in this context the author is referring to the sin of non-belief. So it might start as a little drop that all makes bigger and bigger. Instead of coming down from the heavens and healing this unbelief, he perpetuates it, and then he sends you to HELL, for something he helped create.


4. Im going to abbreviate this one so you don't become bored:

"if the soul and heart of the unbeliever and hypocrite become sealed and dark and debased such that no bright space remains"
- what a horrible thing to say about unbelievers. First of all, there is no such thing as a soul. Second, in the metaphorical sense, to call my heart and soul dark and debased is just plain evil. Just cause I'm an unbeliever? I am quite happy and actually quite well rounded thank you very much! I am not perfect and no one is!

Peace

anonymus said...

than what do u think who created everything as u dont believe in Him? neither u nor any other being has such a power.. to see the mercy of your Lord, which already exist but we cant see because we dont want to we think Hes harsh etc, we first have to have believe in Him, He's not ur enemy but only a friend. His clear rules r only for our betterment and we'll know that only after we follow them correctly with believe. He has shown us all the right ways and how to follow them and also the wrong ones and how to avoid them has given us the freedom to choose, even than u think He's not Merciful, u jst have to put yourself straight and He has taken the responsibility of everything else for your ease.. thats mercy otherwise whats the purpose of our existance if we want everything to b done by Him? He's our Lord not we! if i choose to go wrong its my fault because if i can choose than i can also choose to go right He gave me the freedom as well shown the right path. He wants us to be responsible not that He wants to punish only. its only when we become very irresponsible and dont even think of doing the right thing so He punishes dat even is only to show us the right path. Hes knows what is right for us. some people understand but other continue doing the unlawful things and ultimately Hell Fire as Jannah cant tolerate irresponsible bt only responsible..

Leviathon said...

If God was to simply make you a believer then there would be no test and hence would negate the purpose of your existence. God is merciful but God is also just and equiatable, it is not fair for God to make an individual and then snap his fingers to make him good if at the same time the whole of mankind is being tested, everyone has the same conditions.

You go into an exam and half of the kids have revised, the other half have not. At the end of the exam would it be mericful for the teacher to pass everyone? sure it would be. Would it be fair and just and equitable? no it would not be fair on those who have made the effort to study to have the same reqard as those who have done nothing. God is merciful but God is also fair, there is a perfect divine cosmic balance which is simply beyond our comprehension. Gods plan is something beyond our knowledge, it is impossible to try and know information which only the maker is privy too so why concern ourselves with it, we know what we know and we act upon it rather then get distracted by things which are simply beyond our understanding.

Simply because God has knowledge of all things due to his existence not being limited by time or space, it does not mean we have a free pass to do as we want as its a obvious fact we dont have that information. We go with the hand we are dealt with, and that is exercise our free will how we see fit and see where we end up.

You should not mix up the abilty and nature of God with your duty as a human, this is a common mistake people make and it causes them to totally miss the point. If you imagine God as a dude with a white beard up there on a cloud with us as his play things then sure you will see him as evil, childish and vindictive. However this is not what God is like, he is the supreme power who created everythig, who is genderless and not like any of his creation in any way. His wisdom is infinite and as such our existence does have a nobel purpose, it is for us to exercise the free will given to us to fulfil the purpiose and pass our 'test' to move on to the eternal hereafter. What God knows, and how you choose to live are two entirely different things.

The one who denies the truth is seen to have a sickness in his heart im not gonna lie about it, this is not referring to every non muslim ever. This is focused on those who are fully aware of every facet of Islam and its teachings but those who reject it. Now that may be you, or it may not be you i am not familiar with you or your background or personality, but i would like to hope that you are not this person and there still is something better for you. I am not condeming you as a bad or evil person, i am sure you are very happy and well rounded but i just want the best for you both in this world and the next. If you choose not to believe any of what i say well then that is your choice lol. Peace.

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abe ra said...

A man once said... The Bible stands for .. Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. Then i said.. The Quran stands for.... Quick Understanding Regarding Allahs Nature. This verse that is being explained makes absoulte sense.... But YOU have not opened your eyes yet tomunderstand it.......Reflect on this verse and think of a time you said the truth to someone but they were to stupid to listen to you because they refused to OPEN THEIR EYES AND MIND TO SEE THE TRUTH!! ......................As for the unbelievers, it is the same whether or not you forewarn them; they will not have faith. God has set a seal upon their hearts and ears; their sight is dimmed and grievous punishment awaits them." (Surah 2 verses 6 and 7)

Lada Bertil said...

You said on point four: finished and there is no hope of his redemption. He has intentionally removed himself from the path of guidance and light and thus has shut the door of repentance on himself. does this mean that if i for example have tried to sell my soul that i have removed myself from the path of repentance?

Lada Bertil said...

Can the seal from the heart be removed after this: Those who disbelieve in GOD, after having acquired faith, and become fully content with disbelief, have incurred wrath from GOD. The only ones to be excused are those who are forced to profess disbelief, while their hearts are full of faith.
[16:107] This is because they have given priority to this life over the Hereafter, and GOD does not guide such disbelieving people.

[16:108] Those are the ones whom GOD has sealed their hearts, and their hearing, and their eyesight. Consequently, they remain unaware.

[16:109] Without a doubt, they will be the losers in the Hereafter.

[16:110] As for those who emigrate because of persecution, then continue to strive and steadfastly persevere, your Lord, because of all this, is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

[16:111] The day will come when every soul will serve as its own advocate, and every soul will be paid fully for whatever it had done, without the least injustice

Hemonto Kumer said...

I m not convinced. To me Only Dharma is Vedic Dharma also everything is false.

xa xa said...

If an anthropomorphic, magic immortal knew what it takes to convince me they exist and wanted me to know they exist, they would've shown me such evidence.

"Believe or x will happen" These are basic cult belief tactics 101, used by every successful cult or religion in history in order to propagate.