1. Alif Lam Mim. 2. Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: "We believe,'' and will not be tested. 3. And We indeed tested those who were before them so that Allah will indeed know those who are true, and He will know those who are liars. 4. Or think those who do evil deeds that they can outstrip Us Evil is that which they judge!
Alif Lam Mim.
In the beginning of the Tafsir of Surah Al-Baqarah, we discussed the letters which appear at the beginning of some Surahs.
(Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: "We believe,'' and will not be tested.) This is a rebuke in the form of a question, meaning that Allah will inevitably test His believing servants according to their level of faith, as it recorded in the authentic Hadith:
(The people most severly tested are the Prophets, then the righteous, then the next best and the next best. A man will be tested in accordance with the degree of his religious commitment; the stonger his religious commitment, the stronger his test.) This Ayah is like the Ayah,
(Do you think that you will enter Paradise without Allah knowing those of you who fought (in His cause) and knowing those who are the patient) (3:142) There is a similar Ayah in Surat At-Tawbah. And Allah says:
(Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, "When (will come) the help of Allah'' Yes! Certainly, the help of Allah is near!) (2:214) Allah says here:
(And We indeed tested those who were before them so that Allah will know those who are true, and will know those who are liars.) meaning, He will make know which are sincere in their claim to be believers from those who are lying. Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, knows what has happened in the past and what is yet to come, and He knows how that which will not happen would have happened if it were to happen. All the Imams of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah are agreed on this. This is the view of Ibn `Abbas and others concerning phrases such as the Ayah,
(only that We know) (2:143). Meaning, only to see -- because seeing has to do with what is there, but knowledge is broader than seeing, since it includes what is not present as well as what is.
(Or think those who do evil deeds that they can outstrip Us Evil is that which they judge!) means, those who are not believers should not think that they will escape such trials and tests, for ahead of them lies a greater and more severe punishment. Allah says:
(Or think those who do evil deeds that they can outstrip Us) meaning, "escape'' from Us.
(Evil is that which they judge!) what they think is evil.