Chapter Two: The Cow (Al Baqara)
Verses 81 & 82
Chapter 2, Verses 81 & 82
Truly those who do evil and are surrounded by their sins will be the inhabitants of the Fire, there to remain. (Chapter 2: Verse 81)
In the previous verse, the persists and rabbis who falsified the scriptures for their own gain claimed that ‘The Fire will only touch us for a few days.’ In this verse, Allah begins His response with the word 'Truly' indicating that what preceded was false and what will follow is the truth. Then, He Almighty continues that rather than being touched by the fire for a few days, they will be immersed in it for eternity.
The phrase ' surrounded by their sins' shows that those who repeatedly altered God's words had lived and breathed this sin every day, and left themselves no room to escape the evil deeds. Scholars also suggested that this verse is referring to polytheism, because it encompasses and taints a person's every action. It is an unforgivable sin in the hereafter as the following verse illustrates:
God does not forgive the joining of partners with Him: anything less than that He forgives to whoever He will, but anyone who joins partners with God has concocted a tremendous sin. (04:48)
Those who altered the scriptures and associate partners with God went beyond disobedience into the realm of polytheism. Thus, the natural consequence is that they 'will be the inhabitants of the Fire, there to remain.' Keep in mind that a person who commits minor and major sins will not remain eternally in hellfire. Only the disbelievers and polytheists will burn in perpetuity. As we discussed previously, Islam does not dispense with or reject previous heavenly messages, rather it builds on them and corrects what was forgotten, falsified, or misinterpreted. Thus, since the advent of Prophet Muhammad, those who remain on their previous religions, and do not follow God’s final message will not earn salvation. God says:
Should anyone follow a religion other than Islam, it shall never be accepted from him, and he will be among the losers in the Hereafter. (03:85)
When it comes to sin and forgiveness, one of the most important points to remember is the following: You may commit sin out of weakness and lack of self control. If you regret your actions with sincerity and repent to Allah, then, God willing, He will shower you with mercy and forgiveness. If, on the other hand, you commit sin, enjoy it, boast about it to your friends, and insist on repeating it, then you will be among the losers as the following verse illustrates:
God accepts the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and repent soon afterwards; to them God will turn in mercy: For God is full of knowledge and wisdom. (04:17)
Let's move to the next verse in 'The Cow.' God says:
while those who believe and do good deeds will be the inhabitants of the Garden, there to remain. (Chapter 2, Verse 82)
In the Nobel Quran, when Allah mentions hell and punishment, He also brings its opposite ‘paradise and its pleasures’. This style highlights the stark difference between the two, and gives the believer a reason to rejoice. Allah says:
Every soul will taste death and you will be paid in full only on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever is kept away from the Fire and admitted to the Garden will have triumphed. The present world is only an illusory pleasure (03:185)
Success in the hereafter has two levels. You achieve the first level when you are spared from hellfire. At that point there are two possible outcomes: You maybe be transferred to al-A’raf, which is a midway point between paradise and hell reserved for those whose bad deeds are equal to their good deeds. This in by itself is great success. At yet a much higher level is the great reward of being admitted into paradise to enjoy its pleasures in perpetuity.