In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy
Allaah [The Most High] said:
وَٱتۡلُ عَلَيۡهِمۡ نَبَأَ ٱلَّذِىٓ ءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُ ءَايَـٰتِنَا فَٱنسَلَخَ مِنۡهَا فَأَتۡبَعَهُ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ فَكَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡغَاوِينَ
وَلَوۡ شِئۡنَا لَرَفَعۡنَـٰهُ بِہَا وَلَـٰكِنَّهُ ۥۤ أَخۡلَدَ إِلَى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَٱتَّبَعَ هَوَٮٰهُۚ فَمَثَلُهُ ۥ كَمَثَلِ ٱلۡڪَلۡبِ إِن تَحۡمِلۡ عَلَيۡهِ يَلۡهَثۡ أَوۡ تَتۡرُڪۡهُ يَلۡهَثۚ ذَّٲلِكَ مَثَلُ ٱلۡقَوۡمِ ٱلَّذِينَ كَذَّبُواْ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَاۚ فَٱقۡصُصِ ٱلۡقَصَصَ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
And recite (O Muhammad ) to them the story of him to whom We gave Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), but he threw them away, so Shaitan (Satan) followed him up, and he became of those who went astray.
And had We willed, We would surely have elevated him therewith but he clung to the earth and followed his own vain desire. So his description is the description of a dog: if you drive him away, he lolls his tongue out, or if you leave him alone, he (still) lolls his tongue out. Such is the description of the people who reject Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.). So relate the stories, perhaps they may reflect.
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] said: Contemplate on the affairs of wisdom and (significant) meanings found in this parable:
From them is the statement of Allaah: [ءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُ ءَايَـٰتِنَا- To whom We gave Our Aayaat(proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.)] Allaah informed (us) that He was the One Who gave this person knowledge of His Aayaat, for indeed it is blessing and Allaah is the One Who conferred it upon him. So Allaah attributed the source of this conferment to Himself. Then Allaah said: [فَٱنسَلَخَ مِنۡهَا- But he threw them away]; meaning: He left it in a manner similar to the manner in which a snake leaves its skin. And Allaah did not say, “We threw him away from it” because this person was the one who left it by way of following his desires.
And from those affairs of wisdom and (significant) meanings found in this parable is the statement of Allaah: [فَأَتۡبَعَهُ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ- So shaytaan(satan) followed him up]; meaning: shaytaan approached and pursued him, just as Allaah stated about Pharaoh’s people: [فَأَتۡبَعُوهُم مُّشۡرِقِينَ- So they pursued them at sunrise (26: 60)].
He (i.e. this person to whom Allaah gave knowledge of the Book) used to be protected and guarded against shaytaan through the Aayaat of Allaah; but when he threw away the Aayaat of Allaah, shaytaan overwhelmed him just as a lion overwhelms its prey;
[فَكَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡغَاوِينَ- And he became of those who went astray]-those who act in opposition to the knowledge they possess and those who know the truth but act in opposition to it, just like the evil scholars.
And from those affairs of wisdom and (significant) meanings found in this parable is the statement of Allaah: [وَلَوۡ شِئۡنَا لَرَفَعۡنَـٰهُ بِہَا- And had We willed, We would surely have elevated him therewith]; Therefore, Allaah informed (us) that being elevated in His presence is not merely acquired through knowledge, for indeed this person was from the scholars; rather elevation is acquired through adherence to the truth, giving precedence to it and aiming to please Allaah. Indeed, this person was among the most knowledgeable during his era, but he was neither elevated through his knowledge nor did he benefit from it. We seek Allaah’s protection from knowledge that does not benefit.
So Allaah informs (us) that He is the One Who will raise His slave-if He wills-with what He has bestowed upon him of knowledge, and if He does not raise the slave, then he is lowered; for indeed The Lord –[The One Who lowers and raises]-lowered him and did not raise him. This means: ‘’Had we willed, We would have preferred him, ennobled him, raised his status and rank by way of the Aayaat we gave him. Ibn Abbaas (radiyallaahu-anhumaa) said: Had Allaah willed, He would have raised this person through the knowledge he (i.e. this person) possessed. [وَلَـٰكِنَّهُ ۥۤ أَخۡلَدَ إِلَى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ-But he clung to the earth]. Muqaatil (rahimahullaah) said: ‘’He became pleased with the Dunya.’’
[وَٱتَّبَعَ هَوَٮٰهُۚ- And followed his own vain desire]. Al-Kalbee (rahimahullaah) said: He pursued the lowly affairs and abandoned the lofty affairs. Abu Rawqa (rahimahullaah) said: ‘’He chose the Dunyah over the Aakhirah.’’ Ataa (rahimahullaah said: ‘’He wanted the Dunya and obeyed his shaytaan.’’ Ibn Zayd (rahimahullaah said: ‘’He followed his desires by joining those who fought Musa (alayhis salaam) and his people.’’
To be continued [إن شاء الله ]
[Source: بدائع التفسير الجامع لما فسَّره الإمام ابن القيم الجوزية Abridged and slightly paraphrased. Vol 1. Page: 427-429]