قُتِلَ الْخَرَّاصُونَ الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي غَمْرَةٍ سَاهُونَ
Qutilal-kharrāsūnal-ladhīna hum fī ghamratin sāhūn
Perish the liars, who are heedless in a stupor.
(Sūrat al-Zāriyāt, No 51, Āyats 10-11)
This verse condemns the group of people who spread falsehood about the belief in the Day of Judgment. Because they did not believe in a life hereafter, these people belied the accountability that the human being would face on the Day of Judgment. They used lies to spread their argument.
It is important to understand some of the words in the above verse:
1) Kharrās – The word originally means a guess or assumption. Since most assumptions have falsehood concealed within them, the word was used to refer to lies made up by people about issues. The ‘kharrāsūn’ are those who speak and spread baseless words regarding some matters. Their words have no solid background of truth or correct knowledge. In this verse it refers to those who opposed the issue of the Day of Judgment. They argued against it, spreading false and baseless words. The root motivation behind these lies was not to accept responsibility for one’s deeds.
2) Qutila – the first word of the verse denotes condemnation. Their life is of no purpose to them and thus death is better for them than life. When a human being advances in kufr and hypocrisy, life loses any spiritual meaning. Time is an opportunity to advance towards perfection. Regressing rather than progressing is an abuse of the opportunity given by the Almighty God. As is mentioned in the following hadith by Imam al-Sādiq (a) or Imam al-Kāzim (a): Whoever makes two of his days the same has been cheated. And whoever’s second day is worse than the first is deprived of the mercy of God. And whoever does not see progress in himself then he is nearer to loss. And the one who is nearer to loss, death is better for him than life. (Āmālī of al-Sadūq, Majlis 29; Bihārul Anwār, v 78, p 327, H 5)
Some believe that the word ‘qutila’ is a form of curse and shows that the person is unworthy of the mercy of Allah ‘azza wajall. They also are not worthy of the light of truth. According to Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shīrāzī in Tafsir Namūne, this principle of condemnation also applies to all those who make judgements and reach conclusions without true knowledge. They themselves are wrong in their thinking and they lead others astray.
3) Ghamratin – This word refers to abundant water that spreads over an entire area. Deep and consistent ignorance spreads over the mind of a person. Such a person is unable to see the truth when it is presented to him due to the blankets of darkness obstructing his vision.
4) Sāhūn – From the word ‘sahw’ which denotes types of heedlessness. Some people believe that the first stage of ignorance is being mistaken, then being heedless, then being completely immersed in ignorance. The verse here refers to both the beginning and the end of this movement.
This verse is a strong admonishment for those who spread assumptions about beliefs. These assumptions are not based on truth and knowledge and are thus considered lies. Such liars are severely condemned. Let the verse be a reminder for us – to stay away from such lies ourselves and to not succumb to the lies propagated by those who have no solid backing of truth for their words, nor are their words collaborated by scholars whose words have always been based on the truth. May the Almighty protect all of us from such people!
Sources: Allāmah Muhammad Husayn Tabātabā’ī, Tafsīr al-Mīzān; Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (Ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūneh.