Qur'an / Tafsir

Tafsir_Ibn al-Jawzi on ‘Flowery Speech’



Allah – Mighty and Exalted is He – states in His Glorious Book: {Likewise did We make for every Messenger an enemy,- evil ones among men and jinns, inspiring each other with flowery speech by way of deception. If your Lord had so planned, they would not have done it: so leave them and their inventions alone}.

Ibn al-Jawzi comments on the phrase ‘flowery speech’ (zukhruf al-qawl):


وأما { زخرف القول } ، فهو ما زُيِّن منه، وحُسِّن، ومُوِّه، وأصل الزخرف: الذهب. قال أبو عبيدة: كل شيء حسَّنته وزيَّنتَه وهو باطل، فهو زخرف. وقال الزجاج: «الزخرف» في اللغة: الزينة؛ فالمعنى: أن بعضهم يزين لبعض الأعمال القبيحة؛ و«غروراً» منصوب على المصدر؛ وهذا المصدر محمول على المعنى، لأن معنى إيحاء الزخرف من القول: معنى الغرور، فكأنه قال: يَغرُّون غُروراً. وقال ابن عباس: { زخرفَ القول غروراً }: الأمانيُّ بالباطل. قال مقاتل: وَكّلَ إبليسُ بالإنس شياطين يُضِلُّونَهم، فاذا التقى شيطان الإنس بشيطان الجن، قال أحدهما لصاحبه: إني أضللت صاحبي بكذا وكذا، فأضللْ أنت صاحبك بكذا وكذا، فذلك وحي بعضهم إلى بعض. وقال غيره: إن المؤمن إذا أعيا شيطانه، ذهب إلى متمرد من الإنس، وهو شيطان الإنس، فأغراه بالمؤمن ليفتنه. وقال قتادة: إن من الجن شياطين، وإن من الإنس شياطين. وقال مالك بن دينار: إن شيطان الإنس أشد عليَّ من شيطان الجن، لأني إذا تعوَّذت من ذاك ذهب عني، وهذا يجرني إلى المعاصي عِياناً.


“As for the meaning of {flowery speech} it is everything they make attractive, beautiful and misrepresented or falsified. The word zukhruf originally means ‘gold’. Abu `Ubayda said: Everything that they make beautiful or appear attractive is falsehood (batil) and it is varnished, beautified or decorated […] Ibn `Abbas said {their flowery speech by way of deception} means they make what is false appear reassuring and true…”[1]

  • This is falsehood which is the camp of shaytan and the shayatin: They seek to change the truth, destroy the truth and distort the truth and this has taken many forms today such as:
  1. Propagating democracy as the only means of a just system by attacking the Islamic systems.
  2. Distorting Islam and its laws from what they truly mean and are (e.g. the hudud, general Shari`a laws).
  3. Changing Islam in its ideas and beliefs (e.g. secularising Islamic precepts and references).
  4. Depicting Islam as barbaric, unjust and backwards and hence irrelevant for the people (e.g. that it is tribal and entirely outdated).
  5. Distancing Islam from the Muslims in terms of their love for it and desire to live by it (nationalism, no concept of global umma, etc.).
  • All the above is aimed at one objective: to change Islam and then to finally eliminate it.

With Allah alone is all success


[1] Ibn al-Jawzi, Zad al-Masir, 3:108.


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