2:7 Allah has set a seal upon their hearts, and upon their hearing, and on their eyes there is a covering. And for them is a great punishment.
Khatama means sealing something so that the sealed can’t be reached and nothing can enter upon it.
Other words to describe heart (qalb): sadr and fu’ad.
Sealed hearts and hearings can’t absorb Allah’s word, understand and reflect on his ayah.
Allah described the hearts of disbelievers in ten ways:
- Sealed (ayah 2:7)
- In denial and puffed with pride (16:22)
- Filled with fanatic rage (48:26)
- Hard (39:22 and 2:74)
- Dead (6:122 and 6:36)
- Rusted (83:14)
- Sick (47:29)
- Narrow and constricted (6:125)
- Stamped (9:87 and 4:155)
- Turn away (9:127)
Again, Allah has the right to guide or misguide. But this doesn’t negate His attribute of being just. Allah doesn’t deprive anyone to the extend that he couldn’t perform his obligations. If He does deprived anyone, the obligations are no longer applicable on him due to his inability.
But being guided is never a condition for anyone to be obligated to perform anything.
Covered or blindfolded eyes can’t see the obvious signs.
Superiority of the Heart
Allah mentions heart before our other faculties due to its superiority against the others. The heart controls the body.
“There is a lump of flesh in the body. When it is sound, the entire body is sound, and when it is corrupt, the entire body is corrupt – it is the heart. ” Related by Muslim.
When the heart commanded the body to disobey Allah, it will be stained. If he continues, his heart will be completely corrupted.
“A man may commit a sin and his heart becomes black. If he repents, his heart is polished.” Related by Tirmizi.
Muslim relates a hadith from Hudhayfa: “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, related two ahadith to us. I have seen one of them come true and am still waiting for the other. He related to us that the quality of trustworthiness had descended into the hearts of men. Then the Qur’an came down and they knew it from the Qur’an and they knew it from the Sunna. Then he related that trustworthiness would be removed, and he said, ‘A man will go to sleep and trustworthiness will be taken from his heart and its trace will remain like a small scar. Then he will go to sleep and trustworthiness will be taken from his heart and its trace will remain like a superficial blister, such as you see when an ember rolls onto someone’s foot and it blisters up.’
Then he took some pebbles and rolled them onto his foot.
‘And people will continue to trade but practically no one will fulfil his trust, to such a point that it will be said, “There is a trustworthy man among the Banu so-and-so!” and until it will be said of a man, “How tough he is! How elegant! How intelligent!” when he does not have even a speck of belief in his heart.’ There was a time when I did not care whom I did business with. If he was a Muslim, his deen (religion) was sufficient assurance for me, and if he was a Christian or a Jew, his Muslim patron was sufficient assurance for me. Today I only do business with so-and-so and so-and-so among you.”
The Quran simply states a law of nature: if one takes a biased view of something and deliberately nourishes prejudices against it in his mind, he can neither see any virtue in it, nor hear anything in its favor, nor open his heart to consider it dispassionately. It is like wearing glasses, you see what goes through the glasses not what it actually is in the reality.
This is the law of nature, which is Allah’s law, hence the act of sealing up of the hearts and the ears and the covering of the eyes has been attributed to Him.
Punishment for the Disbelievers
‘Adhab comes from a root word meaning imprisonment or prevention. A punished person is prevented from things which are comfortable and dear to him.
‘Azhim means great, intense, everlasting. (Punishment for kafirin).
But alim means painful. (Punishment for munafiqin which wil be explained in ayah 10).