(80) وَقَالُواْ لَن تَمَسَّنَا النَّارُ إِلاَّ أَيَّاماً مَّعْدُودَةً قُلْ أَتَّخَذْتُمْ عِندَ اللّهِ عَهْدًا فَلَن يُخْلِفَ اللّهُ عَهْدَهُ أَمْ تَقُولُونَ عَلَى اللّهِ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ
(81) بَلَى مَن كَسَبَ سَيِّئَةً وَأَحَاطَتْ بِهِ خَطِيئَتُهُ فَأُوْلَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ
(82) وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّالِحَاتِ أُولَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ
80. " And they said : ' The Fire shall not touch us but for a few days '.
Say: ' Have you taken such a promise from Allah, for He never fails in His promise ? Or do you speak against Allah what you do not know ? ' "
81. " Yea! whoever earns evil and is encompassed by his sins, these are the inhabitants of the Fire, therein shall they abide forever."
82. " And those who have Faith and do deeds of righteousness they are the inhabitants of Paradise, therein shall they abide forever."
The Qur'an, here, points to one of the false statements of the Jews of which they were proud and that very pride was the origin of part of their deviation. Thus the Qur'an responds to it :
" And they said: ' The Fire shall not touch us but for a few days.'..."
"... Say: ' Have you taken such a promise from Allah, for He never fails in His promise? Or do you speak against Allah what you do not know?'"
One of the most obvious reasons for the stubbornness and egoism of this group is their belief in the ' preference of the Jewish race over all other races, and that they are different from other nations, and that their sinners will have to tolerate the Fire only for a few days as their punishment and, therefore, Paradise will be theirs exclusively forever. '
This claim of privileges is not logical in any aspect, because, before Allah, there is no difference between the members of the human race from the point of rewards or punishments for their deeds. Can they support the expectation to their claim of being exceptional among nations and therefore receiving special treatment regarding the general law of penalties by describing something they have done to deserve it ?
However, the above verse with a logical statement, refuses their vain imaginations and denotes that their claims depict one of these two conditions : they should either have taken a particular promise from Allah on the matter that they have not or, they tell lies and calumniate against Him.
* * * *
The next verse expresses a common and universal law which is logical from any point of view. It says:
" Yea! whoever earns evil and is encompassed by his sins, these are the inhabitants of the Fire, therein shall they abide forever."
This is a general rule for the sinners belonging to any sect, nation, in any locality, and at any time.
* * * *
There is also a universal, general law for the pious believers, which the next verse announces:
" And those who have Faith and do deeds of righteousness they are the inhabitants of Paradise, therein shall they abide forever."
* * * *
The Arabic term /kasb/ and /'iktisab/ both mean: ' to earn or gain something willingly and consciously'. Earnings are received in return for something done to profit one's self. This is quite different from merely falling into evil. It is to selfishly seek one's own gain that is evil. One sin leads to another sin
and thus the conscience of the individual gradually becomes deadened until sinning becomes natural and normal for that person and he is totally abandoned to evil and attempts to justify his actions and to deny that he deserves eternal punishment. The law of cause and effect works in its natural order in the case of evil as in the case of virtue.
Those who devote themselves wholly to evil, must naturally find themselves beset on every side by the consequent evil effects of the causative evil factors wrought by the individual. But those who struggle against evil, however long it may take for them to overcome it, the inclination towards the evil, cannot be considered equivalent to those who are out to earn evil. Those who struggle to overcome evil hate and detest it and the individual's earnest and sincere effort to overcome evil, naturally ends in the triumph of good in the human nature. With this endeavour of good against evil, the natural consequence of the struggle strengthens the nobility in the individual's personality. But, purposefully yeilding to evil with a selfish motive for any selfish gains, gradually erects a fortress of evil for the individual so that the access of good becomes more and more difficult and ultimately renders the individual's approach to any goodness as impossible. As the individual is totally lost, for all times, to evil, he convicts himself to the perpetual consequences of the evil all around him for ever.
These kind of people are those who are referred to, later, in Sura 2: 86 which says :
" Those are they who have bought the life of this world at the price of the Hereafter, for them the punishment shall not be lightened, nor shall they be helped."