قَالَ تَاللَّهِ إِنْ كِدْتَّ لَتُرْدِينِ
Qāla tāllāhi in kidta laturdīn
He shall say: By Allah! You had almost caused me to perish!
(Sūrat al-Saffāt, No.37, Āyat 56)
On the Day of Judgment the people in Heaven will ask about the people who were with them in the world. They had rejected the belief in the Hereafter and had tried to influence others. Almighty Allah will allow the believers to look into Hell and have a conversation with them. The believer in Heaven will say, as though with great relief, how close it was that he too would have been influenced by his companion and ended up with him.
Note the following:
• The verse starts with an oath, ‘By Allah’. The oath is out of amazement and relief. The difference between the statuses of the two is so immense that it is a cause of wonder considering the close company they had kept in the world.
• ‘In kidta’ refers to the close call. Through companionship with the disbeliever and listening to his skepticism and lack of faith, it was very possible that the believer would also have rejected faith. This shows the effect of companions. It is important to choose the right companions to associate with, so the risk of losing faith is diminished. But it also shows that, with the grace of Allah subhānahu wa-ta‘ālā as mentioned in the following verse (Had it not been for my Lord’s blessing, I too would have been among those brought [in hell], Q37:57), it is possible to resist the influence of others. Human being is vulnerable but can have the ability to deflect the negative effects of wrong companions. It cannot be used as an excuse for straying.
• ‘Laturdīni’ means to bring down from a higher place, like the falling from a mountain. It is used to signify destruction. The believer says it was close that his companion would have made him fall to the same low level as himself. The word is also used in another verse of Quran: His wealth will not avail him when he perishes (Q 92:11).
This verse is a warning to be cautious about the type of companions we choose in this world. Narrating this conversation in the Quran is meant as a lesson for believers, a reminder about the influence of close companions and the risk it can involve. Because of constant association and attachment between companions, it is easy to sway each other’s thoughts and ideas. The Holy Prophet (s) says: Man follows the same creed as his friend, so consider carefully who it is you befriend. (The Scale of Wisdom, H.3478).
Let this verse remind you of the risk of negative influences and how close it can come to bringing you down. Be aware and cautious, and ask God for help in the struggle to resist and be immune not only to companions, but also to associations in the society we live in.
Sources: Shaykh Tabarsī, Tafsīr Majma’ul Bayan; ‘Allāmah Muhammad Husayn Tabātabā’ī, Tafsīr al-Mīzān; Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (Ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūneh; http://www.alketab.org/