Surah Al-Baqarah >> Currently viewing Surah Baqarah Ayat 16 (2:16)

Surah Baqarah Ayat 16 in Arabic Text

أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱشْتَرَوُا۟ ٱلضَّلَـٰلَةَ بِٱلْهُدَىٰ فَمَا رَبِحَت تِّجَـٰرَتُهُمْ وَمَا كَانُوا۟ مُهْتَدِينَ
Ulaaa’ikal lazeenash tara wud dalaalata bilhudaa famaa rabihat tijaaratuhum wa maa kaanoo muhtadeen

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 16

Sahih International
Those are the ones who have purchased error [in exchange] for guidance, so their transaction has brought no profit, nor were they guided.

Yusuf Ali
“These are they who have bartered Guidance for error: But their traffic is profitless, and they have lost true direction,

Abul Ala Maududi
These are the people who have bartered away Guidance for error, but this is a profitless bargain that they have made, and they are not at all on the right way.

Muhsin Khan
These are they who have purchased error for guidance, so their commerce was profitless. And they were not guided.

Pickthall
These are they who purchase error at the price of guidance, so their commerce doth not prosper, neither are they guided.

Dr. Ghali
Those are they who have traded errancy (at the price of) guidance; so, in no way has their commerce gained (anything) and in no way have they been rightly-guided.

Abdel Haleem
They have bought error in exchange for guidance, so their trade reaps no profit, and they are not rightly guided.

Quran 2 Verse 16 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Baqarah ayat 16, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(2:16) These are the ones who have purchased error in exchange for guidance. This bargain has brought them no profit and certainly they are not on the Right Way.[16]


16. This means that two opposite effects emerged when a true servant of God radiated the light which made it possible to distinguish true from false and right from wrong, and made the straight way distinct from the ways of error. To those endowed with true perception, all truths became evident. But those who were almost blinded by the worship of their animal desires perceived nothing.

The expression, ‘Allah took away the light of their perception’ should not create the impression that these people were not responsible for their stumbling into darkness. Only those who do not seek the Truth, who prefer error to guidance and who are adamantly disinclined to pursue the Truth despite its luminosity, are deprived, by God, of the light of their perception. God simply enables such people to do what they wish.

Ibn-Kathir

16. These are they who have purchased error with guidance, so their commerce was profitless. And they were not guided.


In his Tafsir, As-Suddi reported that Ibn `Abbas and Ibn Mas`ud commented on;

﴿أُوْلَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرَوُاْ الضَّلَـلَةَ بِالْهُدَى﴾

(These are they who have purchased error with guidance) saying it means, “They pursued misguidance and abandoned guidance. ” Mujahid said, “They believed and then disbelieved,” while Qatadah said, “They preferred deviation to guidance.” Qatadah’s statement is similar in meaning to Allah’s statement about Thamud,

﴿وَأَمَّا ثَمُودُ فَهَدَيْنَـهُمْ فَاسْتَحَبُّواْ الْعَمَى عَلَى الْهُدَى﴾

(And as for Thamud, We granted them guidance, but they preferred blindness to guidance) (41:17).

In summary, the statements that we have mentioned from the scholars of Tafsir indicate that the hypocrites deviate from the true guidance and prefer misguidance, substituting wickedness in place of righteousness. This meaning explains Allah’s statement,

﴿أُوْلَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرَوُاْ الضَّلَـلَةَ بِالْهُدَى﴾

(These are they who have purchased error with guidance), meaning, they exchanged guidance to buy misguidance. This meaning includes those who first believed, then later disbelieved, whom Allah described,

﴿ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ ءَامَنُواّ ثُمَّ كَفَرُوا فَطُبِعَ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ﴾

(That is because they believed, and then disbelieved; therefore their hearts are sealed) (63:3).

The Ayah also includes those who preferred deviation over guidance. The hypocrites fall into several categories. This is why Allah said,

﴿فَمَا رَبِحَت تِّجَـرَتُهُمْ وَمَا كَانُواْ مُهْتَدِينَ﴾

(So their commerce was profitless. And they were not guided), meaning their trade did not succeed nor were they righteous or rightly guided throughout all this. In addition, Ibn Jarir narrated that Qatadah commented on the Ayah,

﴿فَمَا رَبِحَت تِّجَـرَتُهُمْ وَمَا كَانُواْ مُهْتَدِينَ﴾

(So their commerce was profitless. And they were not guided), “By Allah! I have seen them leaving guidance for deviation, leaving the Jama`ah (the community of the believers) for the sects, leaving safety for fear, and the Sunnah for innovation.” Ibn Abi Hatim also reported other similar statements.

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