Surah Baqarah >> Currently viewing Surah Baqarah Ayat 14 (2:14)

Surah Baqarah 14th Ayah in Arabic:

وَإِذَا لَقُوا۟ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ قَالُوٓا۟ ءَامَنَّا وَإِذَا خَلَوْا۟ إِلَىٰ شَيَٰطِينِهِمْ قَالُوٓا۟ إِنَّا مَعَكُمْ إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُسْتَهْزِءُونَ

Transliteration:

Wa izaa laqul lazeena aamanoo qaalooo aamannaa wa izaa khalaw ilaa shayaateenihim qaalooo innaa ma’akum innamaa nahnu mustahzi’oon

English Translation:

DR. GHALI And when they meet the ones who have believed they say, “We have believed, ” and when they go apart to their shayatin, (The all-vicious (ones), i.e. devils) they say, “Surely we are with you; surely we are only mocking.

MUHSIN KHAN And when they meet those who believe, they say: “We believe,” but when they are alone with their Shayatin (devils – polytheists, hypocrites, etc.), they say: “Truly, we are with you; verily, we were but mocking.”

PICKTHALL And when they fall in with those who believe, they say: We believe; but when they go apart to their devils they declare: Lo! we are with you; verily we did but mock.

SAHIH INTERNATIONAL And when they meet those who believe, they say, “We believe”; but when they are alone with their evil ones, they say, “Indeed, we are with you; we were only mockers.”

YUSUF ALI When they meet those who believe, they say: “We believe;” but when they are alone with their evil ones, they say: “We are really with you: We (were) only jesting.”

MUFTI TAQI USMANI When they meet those who believe, they say, “We have entered Faith;” but when they are alone with their satans, they say, “Indeed, we are with you; we were only mocking.”

ABDUL HALEEM When they meet the believers, they say, ‘We believe,’ but when they are alone with their evil ones, they say, ‘We’re really with you; we were only mocking.’

ABUL ALA MAUDUDI When they meet the believers, they say: “We believe,” but when they meet their evil companions (in privacy), they say: “Surely we are with you; we were merely jesting.”

Surah Baqarah Ayat 14 Tafseer

Here we’ve provided different sources of commentary to help with learning and understanding the fourteenth ayat of Surah Baqarah.

Tafsir by Ibn Kathir [2:14-15]

The Hypocrites’ Cunning and Deceit

 

Allah said that when the hypocrites meet the believers, they proclaim their faith and pretend to be believers, loyalists and friends. They do this to misdirect, mislead and deceive the believers. The hypocrites also want to have a share of the benefits and gains that the believers might possibly acquire. Yet,

﴿وَإِذَا خَلَوْاْ إِلَى شَيَـطِينِهِمْ﴾

 

(But when they are alone with their Shayatin), meaning, if they are alone with their devils, such as their leaders and masters among the rabbis of the Jews, hypocrites and idolators.

 

Human and Jinn Devils

 

Ibn Jarir said, “The devils of every creation are the mischievous among them. There are both human devils and Jinn devils. Allah said,

﴿وَكَذَلِكَ جَعَلْنَا لِكُلِّ نِبِىٍّ عَدُوّاً شَيَـطِينَ الإِنْسِ وَالْجِنِّ يُوحِى بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَى بَعْضٍ زُخْرُفَ الْقَوْلِ غُرُوراً﴾

 

(And so We have appointed for every Prophet enemies ـ Shayatin (devils) among mankind and Jinn, inspiring one another with adorned speech as a delusion (or by way of deception)) (6:112).

 

The Meaning of `Mocking

 

Allah said,

﴿قَالُواْ إِنَّا مَعَكُمْ﴾

 

(They say: “Truly, we are with you”). Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn `Abbas said that the Ayah means, “We are with you,

﴿إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُسْتَهْزِءُونَ﴾

 

(Verily, we were but mocking), meaning, we only mock people (the believers) and deceive them.” Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas said that the Ayah,

﴿إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُسْتَهْزِءُونَ﴾

 

(Verily, we were but mocking), means, “We (meaning the hypocrites) were mocking the Companions of Muhammad.” Also, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and Qatadah said similarly. Allah’s statement,

﴿اللَّهُ يَسْتَهْزِىءُ بِهِمْ وَيَمُدُّهُمْ فِي طُغْيَـنِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ ﴾

 

(Allah mocks at them and leaves them increasing in their deviation to wander blindly) answers the hypocrites and punishes them for their behavior. Ibn Jarir commented, “Allah mentioned what He will do to them on the Day of Resurrection, when He said,

﴿يَوْمَ يَقُولُ الْمُنَـفِقُونَ وَالْمُنَـفِقَـتُ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ انظُرُونَا نَقْتَبِسْ مِن نُّورِكُمْ قِيلَ ارْجِعُواْ وَرَآءَكُمْ فَالْتَمِسُواْ نُوراً فَضُرِبَ بَيْنَهُم بِسُورٍ لَّهُ بَابٌ بَاطِنُهُ فِيهِ الرَّحْمَةُ وَظَـهِرُهُ مِن قِبَلِهِ الْعَذَابُ ﴾

 

(On the Day when the hypocrites ـ men and women ـ will say to the believers: “Wait for us! Let us get something from your light!” It will be said: “Go back to your rear! Then seek a light!” So a wall will be put up between them, with a gate therein. Inside it will be mercy, and outside it will be torment.) (57:13), and,

﴿وَلاَ يَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ أَنَّمَا نُمْلِى لَهُمْ خَيْرٌ لاًّنفُسِهِمْ إِنَّمَا نُمْلِى لَهُمْ لِيَزْدَادُواْ إِثْمَاً﴾

 

(And let not the disbelievers think that Our postponing of their punishment is good for them. We postpone the punishment only so that they may increase in sinfulness.) (3:178).”

He then said, “This, and its like, is Allah’s mockery of the hypocrites and the people of Shirk.”

 

The Hypocrites suffering for their Plots

 

Allah stated that He will punish the hypocrites for their mockery, using the same terms to describe both the deed and its punishment, although the meaning is different. Similarly, Allah said,

﴿وَجَزَآءُ سَيِّئَةٍ سَيِّئَةٌ مِّثْلُهَا فَمَنْ عَفَا وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ﴾

 

(The recompense for an offense is an offense equal to it; but whoever forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is with Allah) (42:40), and,

﴿فَمَنِ اعْتَدَى عَلَيْكُمْ فَاعْتَدُواْ عَلَيْهِ﴾

 

(Then whoever transgresses (the prohibition) against you, transgress likewise against him) (2:194).

The first act is an act of injustice, while the second act is an act of justice. So both actions carry the same name, while being different in reality. This is how the scholars explain deceit, cunning and mocking when attributed to Allah in the Qur’an. Surely, Allah exacts revenge for certain evil acts with a punishment that is similar in nature to the act itself. We should affirm here that Allah does not do these things out of joyful play, according to the consensus of the scholars, but as a just form of punishment for certain evil acts.

 

Meaning of `Leaves them increasing in their deviation to wander blindly

 

Allah said,

﴿وَيَمُدُّهُمْ فِي طُغْيَـنِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ﴾

 

(Allah mocks at them and leaves them increasing in their deviation to wander blindly). As-Suddi reported that Ibn `Abbas, Ibn Mas`ud and several other Companions of the Messenger of Allah said that,

﴿وَيَمُدُّهُمْ﴾

 

(and leaves them increasing) means, He gives them respite. Also, Mujahid said, “He (causes their deviation) to increase.” Allah said;

﴿أَيَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّمَا نُمِدُّهُمْ بِهِ مِن مَّالٍ وَبَنِينَ – نُسَارِعُ لَهُمْ فِى الْخَيْرَتِ بَل لاَّ يَشْعُرُونَ ﴾

 

(Do they think that by the wealth and the children with which We augment them. (That) We hasten to give them with good things. Nay, but they perceive not.) (23:55-56).

Ibn Jarir commented, “The correct meaning of this Ayah is `We give them increase from the view of giving them respite and leaving them in their deviation and rebellion.’ Similarly, Allah said,

﴿وَنُقَلِّبُ أَفْئِدَتَهُمْ وَأَبْصَـرَهُمْ كَمَا لَمْ يُؤْمِنُواْ بِهِ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَنَذَرُهُمْ فِى طُغْيَانِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ ﴾

 

(And We shall turn their hearts and their eyes away (from guidance), as they refused to believe in it the first time, and We shall leave them in their trespass to wander blindly). ” (6:110).

Tughyan used in this Ayah means to transgress the limits, just as Allah said in another Ayah,

﴿إِنَّا لَمَّا طَغَا الْمَآءُ حَمَلْنَـكُمْ فِى الْجَارِيَةِ ﴾

 

(Verily, when the water Tagha (rose) beyond its limits, We carried you in the ship) (69:11).

Also, Ibn Jarir said that the term `Amah, in the Ayah means, `deviation’. He also said about Allah’s statement,

﴿فِي طُغْيَـنِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ﴾

 

(in their deviation to wander), “In the misguidance and disbelief that has encompassed them, causing them to be confused and unable to find a way out of it. This is because Allah has stamped their hearts, sealed them, and blinded their vision. Therefore, they do not recognize guidance or find the way out of their deviation.”

Then comes the last characteristic, which reveals the common ground that the hypocrites of Madinah shared with the grudging Jews. Their lies and deceptions are compounded by treachery and murky scheming against the Muslims: “When they meet the believers, they say, ‘We believe’, but when they are alone with their devilish allies, they say, ‘We are with you, we are only mocking.’” (Verse 14)

To some people wickedness means strength and scheming is an art; yet the opposite is true. A strong person never feels the need to resort to treachery or intrigue. The hypocrites were too cowardly to come into the open and could only adopt a two-faced attitude. With the Muslims they professed belief in order to protect themselves and have access to the Muslim community and undermine it from within, but with their allies, who were often the Jews, they would say otherwise. Their rapport was matched by their cooperation in wicked schemes.

And when they meet those who believe, they say, “We have entered Faith;” but when they are alone with their Satans, they say, ‘Indeed, we are with you; we were only mocking.”


As we have seen, the Surah Al-Baqarah opens with the declaration that the Holy Qur’an is beyond all doubt. The first twenty verses of the Surah delineate the features of those who believe in the Holy Qur’an and of those who do not – the first five dealing with the former, under the title of Al-Muttaqun المتقون (the God-fearing); the next two with those disbelievers who were quite open and violent in their hostility — that is, Al-Kafirun الکافرون (the disbelievers or the infidels), and the following thirteen with those crafty disbelievers who claimed to be Muslims but, in reality, were not so. This second variety of the disbelievers has received from the Holy Qur’an the name of Al-Munafiqun المنافقون (the hypocrities).

Of these thirteen verses, the first two define the characteristic behaviour of the hypocrites thus:
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ آمَنَّا بِاللَّـهِ وَبِالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ‌
And among men there are some who say, ‘We believe in Allah and in the Last Day’,

Yet they are no believers. They try to deceive Allah and those who believe, when they are deceiving none but their own selves, and they are not aware. These verses expose their claim to be Muslims as false and deceitful, and show that they are only trying to be clever. Obviously, no one can deceive Allah – probably they themselves could not have had such a delusion. But the Holy Qur’an equates, in a way, their attempt to deceive the Holy Prophet ﷺ and the Muslims with the desire to deceive Allah Himself (See Qurtubi)

Such a desire, the Holy Qur’an points out, can have only one consequence – they end up by deceiving no one but themselves, for Allah Himself cannot possibly be deceived, and Divine Revelation protects the Holy Prophet ﷺ from all trickery and deceit, so that the hypocrites themselves will have to bear, in the other world as well as in this, the punishment for their presumptuousness.

As for Allah making them grow in their malady, it means that they are jealous of the growing strength of the Muslims, but it is Allah’s will to make the position of the Muslims even stronger, as they can see for themselves, which feeds their bile and keeps the disease of their hearts growing.

These two verses, thus, describe the state of their insensitivity and ignorance – they regard their defects as merits. The sixth verse shows the other aspect of this depravity – the merit of others (that is, the unalloyed faith of the Muslims) changes into a defect, and even becomes contemptible in their eyes.5

5. As for the hypocrites declaring openly that they were not prepared to believe as others did believe, and as for their dubbing the Muslims as fools, it is obvious that they could have been so outspoken only before the poor among the Muslims, otherwise they used to be very careful about keeping their disbelief concealed.)

(2) A little reflection on these verses would reveal the true nature of Islam and Iman ایمان (faith) and also that of kufr کفر (disbelief), for the Holy Qur’an reports the claim of the hypocrites to be Muslims: اٰمَنَّا بِاللّٰهِ :”we believe in Allah”, (2:8), forthwith refutes this claim: مَا ھُمْ بِمُؤْمِنِيْنَ :”yet they are no believers”. In order to understand fully the implications of these verses, one should bear in one’s mind the fact that the hypocrites in question were actually Jews. Now, belief in Allah and in Hereafter is, no doubt, an essential part of their creed as well; what was not included in their creed, as defined by their religious scholars, was the belief in the prophethood of Muhammad ﷺ . In declaring their faith in Islam, the Jews very cleverly used to leave out the belief in the Holy Prophet ﷺ and mention only two elements: belief in Allah and belief in the Hereafter. So far as such a declaration goes, they cannot be called liars, and yet the Holy Qur’an refutes their claim to be Muslims, and regards them as liars. Why?

The fact is that, for one to be a Muslim, it is not sufficient merely to declare one’s faith in Allah and the Hereafter in any form or manner which suits one’s individual or collective fancy. As for that, associators of all kinds do, in one way or another, believe in Allah and consider Him to be Omnipotent’ but the Holy Qur’an does not allow any of these things to pass for Iman ایمان (faith). Iman ایمان or faith in Allah must, in order to be valid and worthy of the name, conform to what the Holy Qur’an specifically lays down with regards to the divine names and attributes; similarly, belief in the Hereafter can be valid only when it is true to the specifications of the Holy Qur’an and the Hadith.7

6. Even peoples described by the Westerners as “savages” or “primitives – though “degenerates” would be far closer to the mark – have at least a vague notion of a Supreme Deity, and ususally very vivid ideas about the other world.
7. There is no end to the making of books, and no end to the making of gods and to the naming of gods – above all, in our own day. Reason, Nature, Man, Life, all having served their turn and grown rusty, are being replaced by more fancy names – “the ground of being” of the so-called Christian Existentialism, the ultimate “archetype of the Collective Unconscious” of Jungian psychology, and what not. They have lately invented a goldless theology too.

In the light of this explanation one can see that the Jews who pretended to be Muslims believed neither in Allah nor in the Hereafter according to these definite requirements. For, on the one hand, they regarded the Prophet Uzair or Ezra (علیہ السلام) as the son of God, and, on the other, cherished the fond belief that the progeny of the prophets, no matter how it acted, would always remain ‘the chosen of God’, and would not be called to account on the Day of Judgment, or at the worst receive only a token punishment. These being their beliefs, the Holy Qur’an rightly rejects their claims to faith in Allah and the Hereafter.

(3) As we have already said, verse 13 defines what Iman ایمان (faith) really is: اٰمِنُوْا كَمَآ اٰمَنَ النَّاسُ :”Believe as other men have believed”. In other words, the criterion for judging one’s claim to ‘lman ایمان is the ‘ lman ایمان of the blessed Companions of the Holy Prophet ﷺ ، and any claim to Iman ایمان which does not conform to it is not acceptable to Allah and to the Holy Prophet ﷺ . If a man has the presumption8 to interpret an Islamic doctrine or verse of the Holy Qur’an in a way which departs from the explicit and clear explanation provided by the Holy Qur’an itself or by the Holy Prophet ﷺ، his individual opinion and belief, no matter how much it titillates the palate of his contemporaries or feeds their fancy, will have no value or validity in the eyes of the Shari’ah. For example, the Qadianis قادیانی 9 claim that like Muslims they too believe in the doctrine of the Finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad ﷺ ، but in this respect they deviate from what the Holy Prophet ﷺ has himself stated, and what the Companions believed in, and distort the doctrine so.as so as to make room for the prophethood of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian; so, according to the indication of the Holy Qur’an, they come under this indictment: مَا ھُمْ بِمُؤْمِنِيْنَ :”They are no believers.”
8. As is all too common these days.
9. Who style themselves as Ahmadis.

In short, if a man interprets an Islamic doctrine in a way which is repugnant to the Iman ایمان of the blessed Companions, and yet claims to be a Muslim on the basis of his adherence to this doctrine and also performs his religious duties exactly like Muslims, he will not be considered a Mu’min مومنین (true Muslim) until and unless he agrees to conform to the criterion of Iman ایمان laid down by the Holy Qur’an.

Removal of a doubt
We may also dispel a misunderstanding which often arises – and is more often made to arise with an ulterior motive – with regard to the famous dictum in the Hadith and Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) that the ‘people of the Ka’bah’ کعبہ (Ahl al-Qiblah), that is, those who turn towards the Ka’bah کعبہ in offering prescribed Salah نماز cannot be branded as infidels. The verse under discussion clearly defines the meaning of the phrase, Ahl al-Qiblah. The term pertains only to those who do not deny any of the basic essential doctrines and commandments of Islam which are called the Daruriat ضروریات (essentials). For that matter even the hypocrites mentioned in the Holy Qur’an used to offer their prayers exactly as the Muslims did; but turning towards Ka’bah کعبہ while praying was not taken to be sufficient to make them acceptable as true Muslims, simply because they did not have faith in all the essentials of Islam as the blessed Companions did.

(2:14) When they meet the believers, they say: “We believe,” but when they meet their evil companions (in privacy),15 they say: “Surely we are with you; we were merely jesting.”


15. ‘Satan’ in Arabic means refractory, rebellious and headstrong, and is used for both human beings and jinn. Although this word is generally used in the Qur’an for the satans amongst the jinn, it is also used occasionally for human beings possessing satanic characteristics. The context generally explains whether the word ‘satan’ refers to jinn or to human beings. In this particular case the word ‘satans’ refers to those influential leaders of the time who were in the vanguard of opposition and hostility to Islam