Reflection No. 137 on Q 10:12 – Extravagance
كَذَٰلِكَ زُيِّنَ لِلْمُسْرِفِينَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
Kadhālika zuyyina lil-musrifīna mā kānū ya‘malūn
Thus are the deeds of the extravagant ones made fair seeming to them (Sūrat Yūnus, Āyat 12)
According to this holy verse, those who are extravagant do not see their deeds as evil, they actually think the deeds they do are good. To ponder over this verse, you may reflect over the following questions:
1) How do evil deeds seem fair and good?
2) How does the human being reach a stage where he cannot distinguish between good and evil?
3) Who are the extravagant ones mentioned in this verse?
An evil deed is considered good when the doer does not see any trace of wrong in it, and does not feel remorse or guilt at performing the deed. On the contrary the deed may seem the right thing to do, and is justified by flawed reasoning and external influence and pressures.
Human beings have the ability to discern between good and evil. That is when their fitrat or inner nature is pure and unpolluted. If they commit evil deeds, without repenting, they slowly become accustomed to it. The deed loses its gravity and the enormity of the evil becomes diminished over time. Such a stage is dangerous, but there is an even worse stage beyond that. That is when the evil does not seem evil anymore, it actually seems good. Man loses his ability to discern and distinguish – the lines between good and evil become blurry, and soon what was once considered evil seems good and virtuous.
This change in perspective is through a deadening of the conscience, through an understanding that puts human desires above God’s laws, and through a blind following of articulate rhetoric that may seem reasonable but is inherently faulty. Society today is gradually losing its ability to distinguish between good and evil. Many immoral indecencies are now presented in the garb of justice and human rights. Believers need to awaken their conscience and be on the alert, so that such a disease does not affect their mentality. It required a heightened sense of awareness that can only come from strong God consciousness.
Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī says in Tafsīr-e Namūne that the extravagant ones here refers to those who waste one of the most important capitals the human being has, the capital of time and life. Life has been given so human beings can perform good-deeds and achieve closeness to the Almighty through their deeds. To do evil is to waste the opportunity to perform good deeds. The immediate consequence, in this world, is losing the ability to distinguish between good and evil.
Sources: Aytaullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirazī (ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūneh