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يَكَادُ ٱلْبَرْقُ يَخْطَفُ أَبْصَٰرَهُمْ كُلَّمَا أَضَآءَ لَهُمْ مَّشَوْاْ فِيهِ وَإِذَآ أَظْلَمَ عَلَيْهِمْ قَامُواْ وَلَوْ شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ لَذَهَبَ بِسَمْعِهِمْ وَأَبْصَٰرِهِمْ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
٢٠
-Al-Baqarah ( البقرة )

Kashani Tafsir

The lightning, namely, the luminous flash, well-nigh snatches away their sight, that is, their intellects veiled as they are by slumber from the light of guidance and unveiling, for the intellect is the eye of the heart; whensoever it gives them light, they walk in it, that is, they rise [in status] and come closer to accepting the truth and guidance; and when the darkness is over them, they stop, that is, they remain fixed in their [state of] bewilderment in that darkness of theirs; had God willed, He would have taken away their hearing and their sight, He would have obliterated their understanding and intellect and effaced the light of their preparedness as in the case of the former group, and so they are not even affected upon hearing the revelation in the first place. Truly, God has power over all things, [be it] an externally existent thing, necessary or contingent, as well as a mentally existent thing, contingent or impossible. For a non-thing is purely a non-existent, neither in the mind nor externally [sc. in the created universe]; but His power specifically relates to that which is contingent and not to what is necessary or what is impossible, this [is clear] by rational proof. This concludes the discussion of the seven categories in undifferentiated form and a separation between the two groups of wretched ones. The mention of the first group is brief and kept to a minimum because discussion of them is of no use and is fully gleaned from the mention of the second group. Thus the criticism, reviling and censure entailed in the depiction of their status, as well as their being threatened and promised punishment and the condemnation of their conduct and their habits is on account of the possibility of their accepting guidance and the disappearance of the sickness that afflicts them and the kindling of the light of their innate dispositions by the aid of the divine granting of success, that perhaps such rebuke might break the strength of their obstinacy and that such scolding might extirpate the roots of their despicable acts so that their inner aspects might then be purified, their hearts illumined by the light of the will whereafter they follow the path of truth. Perhaps their friendly and gentle attitude towards the believers and their keeping company with them might incline them towards their [the believers'] good nature awakening some love and desire within them by which their hearts then soften to the remembrace of God [cf. Q. 39:23] and their souls become obedient to the commands of God, repenting thereafter and making amends, just as God, exalted be He, says: Verily the hypocrites will be in the lowest level of the Fire and you will never find a helper for them, save those who repent and make amends and hold fast to God and make their religion purely God's; those are with the believers and God will certainly give the believers a great wage [Q. 4:145-6].