Why Allah hath set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing?
Sealing of a heart is described as hardening of a heart through unbelief and disobedience and having a state that makes it impossible to believe. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) says: "A black stain occurs in the heart as a result of every sin." The following is stated in a verse, “Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with him; but He forgiveth anything, else to whom He pleaseth.” (an-Nisa, 4/48).
What we understand from the hadith and verse above is that the biggest stain that blackens the heart is polytheism, that is, associating partners with him. If a person advocates polytheism and struggles against believers defending it, the black stain in his heart becomes darker and larger day by day. Gradually, it invades all of the heart. It becomes almost impossible for that man to accept belief and oneness. To put it in the words of the writer of Risale-i Nur Collection, “they are incapable of reform and unreceptive to good.”
The verse mentioned above was sent down about the polytheists that formed a group opposed to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and struggled against him. The fact that polytheism established sovereignty over their hearts and no place was left for oneness is expressed as “the sealing of the hearts”. The ones for whom the door of guidance is closed are those polytheists. The closing of the door of guidance is not in question for every person who commits sins, oppresses others or associates partners with Allah. Otherwise, how can we explain the fact that tens of thousands of people that had worshipped idols before embraced Islam in the Era of Happiness? If the heart of everybody that associated partners with Allah were sealed, no polytheist would become a Muslim. Those whose hearts are sealed are the ones that are impossible to turn to oneness. And they fall in that pit by using their own wills.
We would like to mention an important point: In Risale-i Nur Collection, unbelief is analyzed in two parts: non-acceptance and acceptance of non-existence. The following is stated about non-acceptance, that is, “not accepting the truths of belief”, “it is indifference, a closing of the eyes to something, an ignorant absence of judgment.” In acceptance of non-existence to advocate the unbelief and to try to prove its wrong creed is in question. The second group mostly stands in the unbelief front and struggle against the people of belief.
We say mostly because there are some people among them, though very few, who find the true path and embrace Islam. As to those who reject Faith, it is the same to them whether you warn them (about the torture of Allah) or do not warn them; they will not believe. However, the warning and not warning are not the same to you; it is the same to them. You have done your duty, showed them the evidence of Allah and explained it to them; the reward is yours and the sin is theirs. As for the indifference, why they do not believe: it is because Allah, the Exalted, sealed their hearts and ears. They no longer have the ability to perceive, to search and find out, to listen to and to hear and to accept the truth.
They have their hearts but they have lost their strength in the beginning of the creation; they have acquired a second habit that covered it with their bad attitudes. That acquisition was caused by Allah. From then on, they have never looked at anything accept their own selves, desires, wishes and their personal and individual aims. All of the activities and abilities of those hearts that were created to understand the truth were suffocated by the desires of their souls; they were covered with obstinacy against the truths about the future except their own interests in the future and in the present. In accordance with this verse: “Did we not give you long enough life so that he that would should receive admonition?" (Fatir, 35/37), they completed the period of thinking and unbelief became their apparent acquisition, nature and second creation. They will not think about, listen to, want to listen to, know, want to know or accept the truth, evidence about souls like the heart, and a spiritual and rational miracle like the Quran. In addition, there is a veil on their eyes...
In the visible world, they will not see the form of the world, the formation of the ores, the situation the plants and animals, the visible true evidence like anatomy even if they want to look because their ayes are veiled. A veil of ignorance, lust, evil and egoism pervaded them. For instance, they look at the sky every day and see the view that their hearts like but they do not see and think about how the small eye in the body perceive that distant view with a momentary light that matches the pupil of the eye. When they are hungry, they seek bread but they do not think about and see how they perceive the bread outside, how and thanks to whom they harmonize with it.... Thus, they are deprived of all of the three means of knowledge that are necessary to understand the truth: the heart and the mind, sound senses and hearing the news.
How are hearts sealed? As it is known, things like envelopes, containers, covers and doors are sealed. The hearts of men are like the envelopes and containers of sciences and knowledge. Our sense of understanding is kept there. An ear is like a door; the things we hear enter through that door. Especially the news in the past, in the future and in the present, the concepts in the books are known through hearing. Then, the sealing of the heart is like the sealing of the envelope; the sealing of the ear is like the sealing of the door. Our Prophet stated the following in a hadith:
"When a sin is committed for the first time, a black point, that is, a black stain occurs in the heart. If the person repents and asks forgiveness from Allah, the heart shines again. If the person does not repent and he repeats the sin, the stain becomes larger; in time, it becomes so large that it covers all of the heart like a cover. It is what is mentioned in the following verse in Chapter al-Mutaffifin: "By no means! But on their hearts is the stain of the (ill) which they do!" (al-Mutaffifin, 83/14). It is the stain mentioned in the verse."
That hadith shows that sins cover the heart like an envelope if they are repeated. Then, it is sealed by Allah as it is mentioned in the verse. That pervasive stain is impressed on the heart. Although it is like erasable ink that is written on a shiny surface of paper at first, it becomes an inerasable, printed stain afterwards. In other words, it becomes a second nature through habits. It is neither erased nor removed; then, there is no way to faith, nor a cure for unbelief.
The acquisition of the sealing and the impression are by the slave; their creation is by Allah. Then, the attribution of the act sealing to Allah is not rational metonymy but is truth as Ahlu Sunnah understands it and there is no forcing. That hadith and verse explain the habit in ethics very well. It explains very well that the value of the ethics and religion lie in continuation and habits. That point is the secret of education and training. It also explains the difference between insisting on sins and not insisting in terms of religion. The fact that regarding sins as halal and regarding haram as halal are acts of unbelief is related to that principle. The result of those habits, that second nature and that strong ability for the unbelievers relating to the issue of belief are the same for believers in terms of deeds. Good deeds become your habit as you do them continuously. Bad deeds become a second nature through habits. The course of life means the acquisition of the habit. Man’s will has no connection with the first creation. However, in the habit, his first share is important. However, the creation of the result out of it belongs to Allah. Then, there is no forcing in those issues like the first creation. Man has no creation here but acquisition. Man receives what is created and on the other hand , he acquires what will be created; his heart is the way through which Allah creates. Man is not the original; he is the deputy. If Allah had not given men hearts in the beginning or if He had given them as sealed, then, there would have been forcing. However, the verse does not say so.
Then, to try to attribute forcing to Allah through those verses as some Europeans do means not to understand those verses. Although Allah knew that they would not believe, he held them responsible for belief. Since nothing can take place outside the knowledge of Allah, the following question is asked, "Is that belief not something that one cannot afford?" However, it should be understood as follows: That offer is not something that one cannot afford in terms of the first creation, therefore it took place. However, the second offer is something that cannot be afforded. Therefore, it was not made but it was known. According to the wisdom of the Quran and Islamic principles, there exists no act of forcing in knowledge. They also say that there is no mental obligation in it. Forcing and obligation are the results of will and creation.
The fact that Allah knows something from the present and past does not mean that He makes it or He has it made. The one who knows does not have to do it; something that is known does not have to be done. The wish can become an action only through a power and a creation together with that power. Therefore, we find in ourselves a lot of knowledge that is not connected with will and a lot of wills that did not take place although there is power.
All of them show us that knowing, wanting, power and creation are a group of attributes. Therefore, that fact that Allah knows does not mean that He makes people do something by forcing them. And Allah created the seal after the slave wanted the second nature and the power he mentioned; and the offer eventually became unaffordable in a transient and variable way. It is possible and it is what has happened. It is appropriate for it to take place like that.
To sum up fate is not something that forces. They did not become unbelievers because Allah knew it; Allah knew that they would become unbelievers and ordained that they would be unbelievers. If the meaning of the ordaining of the one who is never infallible is considered, it is understood easily. There is no salvation for them; there is a great punishment for them because they do not believe in belief and the hereafter doubtlessly. As the name of Allah, the book of Allah, prophets, the hereafter are mentioned, those sealed hearts become twisted and wriggled; those sealed ears wuther, those veiled eyes become stupefied. After they die, they undergo the torture of Hell.
- Sealing of Hearts and Qadar (Destiny)
- As-Sami’ (The All-Hearing)
- What does the Quran say about Hell?
- As there is no counterpart of Allah (SWT) and gradation of His power, is there not any gradation in this verse: “What! are ye the more difficult to create or the heaven (above)? (Allah) hath constructed it:” (Surah An-Naziat, 79/27)
- Fourth Mystery: The seal of Divine Oneness is shown within the stamp of Divine Mercy.