In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy
Allaah [The Most High] said:
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يُجَادِلُ فِي اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَيَتَّبِعُ كُلَّ شَيْطَانٍ مَرِيدٍ
And among mankind is he who disputes concerning Allah, without knowledge, and follows every rebellious [disobedient to Allah] Shaitan [devil] [devoid of each and every kind of good]. [22:3]
There is a party and a group amongst mankind who follow the path of misguidance. They argue based on falsehood and portray it as the truth. They wish to certify falsehood as truth and falsify the truth. The truth regarding them is that they are upon extreme ignorance and do not possess any knowledge, and the most they have is blameworthy blind following of their misguided figureheads among the rebellious devils- rebels against Allaah and His Messengers. Indeed, they oppose Allaah and His Messenger [Muhammad (sallal-laahyu-alayhi-wasallam)] and thus became from those figureheads who call to the hell fire.
Allaah [The Most High] said:
مَا يُجَادِلُ فِي آيَاتِ اللَّهِ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَلا يَغْرُرْكَ تَقَلُّبُهُمْ فِي الْبِلادِ
None disputes in the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allah but those who disbelieve. So, let not their ability of going about here and there through the land (for their purposes) deceive you. [Surah 40:4]
Allaah informed us that [مَا يُجَادِلُ فِي آيَاتِ اللَّهِ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا – None disputes in the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allah but those who disbelieve]
The intended meaning behind the word ‘disputes’ here [i.e. in this aayah] is disputation to reject Allaah’s Aayaat [i.e. proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc] and oppose them with falsehood. This is a deed of the disbelievers, but as for the believers, they humble themselves to Allaah [The Most High], for indeed Allaah makes a statement of truth to invalidate falsehood.
It is not permissible for a person to be deceived by his worldly [affairs] and thinks that the favours Allaah has bestowed on him in this worldly life proves that Allaah loves him and he is upon the truth. And for this reason, Allaah He [Allaah (The Most High)] said: [فَلا يَغْرُرْكَ تَقَلُّبُهُمْ فِي الْبِلاد -So let not their ability of going about here and there through the land (for their purposes) deceive you]- Meaning: going back and forth in pursuit of various affairs of trade and earnings; rather what is obligated on a servant [i.e. an obedient slave of Allaah] is that he utters the truth to the people, examines the state of affairs based on the legislated divine [commands and prohibitions ordained by Allaah] and passes judgement on the [affairs, circumstances etc] of the people through them. He does not weigh up the truth [solely based on the desires, views, likes or dislikes of] the people, just as what the one who neither has knowledge nor [sound] intellect is upon.
Allaah [The Most High] said:
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ الْجَوَارِ فِي الْبَحْرِ كَالْأَعْلَامِ
And among His Signs are the ships, in the sea, like mountains.
إِن يَشَأْ يُسْكِنِ الرِّيحَ فَيَظْلَلْنَ رَوَاكِدَ عَلَىٰ ظَهْرِهِ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّكُلِّ صَبَّارٍ شَكُورٍ
If He wills, He causes the wind to cease, then they would become motionless on the back (of the sea). Verily, in this are signs for everyone patient and grateful.
أَوْ يُوبِقْهُنَّ بِمَا كَسَبُوا وَيَعْفُ عَن كَثِيرٍ
Or He may destroy them (by drowning) because of that which their (people) have earned. And He pardons much.
وَيَعْلَمَ الَّذِينَ يُجَادِلُونَ فِي آيَاتِنَا مَا لَهُمْ مِنْ مَحِيصٍ
And those who dispute as regards Our Ayat may know that there is no place of refuge for them. [42:35]
وَيَعْلَمَ الَّذِينَ يُجَادِلُونَ فِي آيَاتِنَا – And those who dispute as regards Our Ayat’ –Meaning: In order to (declare) them untrue with their falsehood [i.e. those who seek to declare Allaah’s Aayat to be untrue by way of their false claims and arguments] مَا لَهُمْ مِنْ مَحِيصٍ –there is no place of refuge for them- Meaning: There is no place of escape for them to stop the punishment from [reaching] them.
Allaah [The Most High] stated:
كَذَّبَتْ قَبْلَهُمْ قَوْمُ نُوحٍ وَالْأَحْزَابُ مِن بَعْدِهِمْ ۖ وَهَمَّتْ كُلُّ أُمَّةٍ بِرَسُولِهِمْ لِيَأْخُذُوهُ ۖ وَجَادَلُوا بِالْبَاطِلِ لِيُدْحِضُوا بِهِ الْحَقَّ فَأَخَذْتُهُمْ ۖ فَكَيْفَ كَانَ عِقَابِ
وَكَذَٰلِكَ حَقَّتْ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَنَّهُمْ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ
The people of Nuh (Noah) and the confederates after them denied (their Messengers) before these, and every (disbelieving) nation plotted against their Messenger to seize him, and disputed by means of falsehood to refute therewith the truth. So, I seized them (with punishment), and how (terrible) was My punishment! Thus, has the Word of your Lord been justified against those who disbelieved, that they will be the dwellers of the Fire. [40:5-6]
Allaah [The Most High] mentioned -in this Aayah- those who argue against His Aayaat to nullify them [i.e. they argued against Allaah’s Aayaat to declare them false], just as the previous nations before them did, such as the people of Nooh, Aad and those confederates who formed an illegal partisanship and gathered against the truth, and to aid falsehood.
Then they reached this [evil, which is]: [وَهَمَّتْ كُلُّ أُمَّةٍ بِرَسُولِهِمْ لِيَأْخُذُوهُ -And every (disbelieving) nation plotted against their Messenger to kill him]. This is the [most dangerous state] the Messengers can find themselves- the ones [i.e. the Messengers of Allaah] who are the [only perfect] leaders of the righteous people and possessors of pure truth about which there is neither any doubt nor ambiguity; however, they [i.e. their disbelieving peoples] plotted to kill them.
Is there any [act] of rebellion, misguidance and wretchedness that [can be severer] than this, so for this reason [the plotters deserved] a great punishment which they cannot escape. Allaah [The Most High] mentioned the punishment they [received] in this worldly life and what they will [receive] in the afterlife: [فَأَخَذْتُهُمْ -So I seized them]-Meaning: due to their act of wilful denial [i.e. their wilful denial of Allaah’s Aayaat by way of arguing with falsehood and plotting to kill Allaah’s Messengers] and their illegal partisanship. [فَكَيْفَ كَانَ عِقَابِ- And how (terrible) was My punishment!] [وَكَذَٰلِكَ حَقَّتْ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَنَّهُمْ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ -Thus has the Word of your Lord been justified against those who disbelieved, that they will be the dwellers of the Fire].
[Source: Tayseer Al-Kareem Ar-Rahmaan Fee Tafseer Kalaam Al-Mannaan’ by Imaam Sadi (rahimahullaah). paraphrased and abridged]