This chapter focuses on the terms al-salah, righteousness, and al-fasad, corruption. If the word “righteousness” is applied in an absolute manner, then it refers to all good; likewise, “corruption” refers to all evil. The same applies to the terms: “the righteous ones” and “the corrupt ones,” as indicated in the following verses of the Qur’an. As Allah says in the story of Moses: “... Is it your intention to slay me as you did to another soul yesterday? The intention is none other than to become a powerful, violent man in the land and not to be one of the righteous ones” (Surah Al-Qasas, 28:19); and “... Moses had charged his brother Aaron: ‘Act for me among my people: do right, and follow not the way of the corrupt ones’” (Surah Al-A’raf, 7:142); and “When it is said to them: ‘Make not corruption on the earth,’ they say: ‘Why, we only want to make peace! Surely, they are the corrupt ones, but they do not realize it.” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:11-12).
In the following, the pronoun “man,” who, refers to the hypocrites. Allah says: “Among the people there are some who say: ‘We believe in Allah and the Last Day;’ but they do not [really] believe” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:8). This reference [to the people] is used in a general way which refers to people at and after the time of the Prophet (Peace be upon him). For this reason Salman al-Farisi  said that by this verse, Allah means a people that were not yet created when the verse was revealed. Al-Suddi said, on the authority of his teachers, that the word fasad, corruption, is to be interpreted to mean both unbelief and rebellion. And Mujahid said that corruption means not following the commands and avoiding things that are prohibited. Both of these statements mean one and the same thing. However, according to Ibn ‘Abbas, corruption means unbelief. The following is the statement by those who said that hypocrisy is those who befriended the unbelievers and revealed to them the secrets of the believers. But Abu al-'Aliyah and Muqatil said that it is practicing mischief. This last opinion is general in nature and agrees with the first two opinions.
Indeed, their [the hypocrites’] saying: “... We only want to do good. . .” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:11) has two [true] interpretations as recorded by Ibn ‘Abbas: One is that they deny what they are accused of. In this case, it is as if they are saying: “We are doing what the Messenger orders us to do.” The other interpretation is that they are saying: “We are only doing the righteous [deeds] and by it we intend to do good.” In fact, they mention the former interpretation for one who does not know their inner intentions, and they mention the latter for themselves and others who know their inner intentions. It follows that the latter interpretation implies the former.
For their [the hypocrites’] observed behavior is the reverse of their inner intentions; and they view this act as right [in the world]. Hence, if authority is in the hands of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), then they feel secure in following him, and if authority is in the hands of the unbelievers, then they feel secure through their friendship with them. Thus Allah says: “They are the corrupt ones, but they realize [it] not” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:12). That is, they realize that what they have done is a mischievous act, not a right act. It may also mean that they do not realize that Allah has acquainted His Messenger with their corruption. The second statement is inclusive in the first.
This is what is intended as illustrated in the following Qur’anic verse. Allah says: “Indeed My Protector is Allah, Who has revealed the Book, and He protects the righteous ones” (Surah Al-A’raf, 7:196). He also says: “... Moses said: ‘What you have brought is sorcery; Allah will surely make it of no effect. Indeed, Allah does not set right the work of the corrupt ones” (Surah Yunus, 10:81). Yusuf [Joseph] said. Allah says: “... Cause me to die as a Muslim and join me with the righteous ones” (Surah Yusuf, 12:101).
 Salman al-Farisi (32 A.H.) was a Companion of the Prophet and transmitted some hadith. [M. M. Azami, p. 55.]
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