Ayah 2:16 to 2:20 of Surah Al-Baqara (The Cow)
These verses are about people who:
– Commit evil in the land and yet deny such acts and instead proclaim that they do nothing but good.
– When they are asked to believe, they refuse and state instead that all believers are fools.
– However, when they meet the faithful they falsely proclaim to be believers, but when alone they feel smug for they believe that they have made a mockery of the believers.
For such people Allah says that these are people who actually trade guidance for error and contrary to their belief, they are not profiting from such acts and are not on the straight path.
Allah compares such a situation to a person who although lights a fire and feels really proud and good about it, but what they do not realize is that Allah can extinguish this fire and can leave him in darkness.
Allah also compares such people to a person who thrusts his fingers in his ears when he hears thunder and sees lightening for fear of death. But despite this, whenever the lightening flashes upon him, he walks on and when it darkens he stands still. He does not realize that Allah can take away his seeing and hearing ability if He wanted.
Ya Allah, You are our Sustainer and the All Knowing, please open the doors of Your guidance to us and protect us from going astray and becoming the people who barter guidance for error. Ameen.
Relevant Extracts of Ayahs and translation below:
أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱشۡتَرَوُاْ ٱلضَّلَـٰلَةَ بِٱلۡهُدَىٰ فَمَا رَبِحَت تِّجَـٰرَتُهُمۡ وَمَا كَانُواْ مُهۡتَدِينَ (١٦) مَثَلُهُمۡ كَمَثَلِ ٱلَّذِى ٱسۡتَوۡقَدَ نَارً۬ا فَلَمَّآ أَضَآءَتۡ مَا حَوۡلَهُ ۥ ذَهَبَ ٱللَّهُ بِنُورِهِمۡ وَتَرَكَهُمۡ فِى ظُلُمَـٰتٍ۬ لَّا يُبۡصِرُونَ (١٧) صُمُّۢ بُكۡمٌ عُمۡىٌ۬ فَهُمۡ لَا يَرۡجِعُونَ (١٨) أَوۡ كَصَيِّبٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ فِيهِ ظُلُمَـٰتٌ۬ وَرَعۡدٌ۬ وَبَرۡقٌ۬ يَجۡعَلُونَ أَصَـٰبِعَهُمۡ فِىٓ ءَاذَانِہِم مِّنَ ٱلصَّوَٲعِقِ حَذَرَ ٱلۡمَوۡتِۚ وَٱللَّهُ مُحِيطُۢ بِٱلۡكَـٰفِرِينَ (١٩) يَكَادُ ٱلۡبَرۡقُ يَخۡطَفُ أَبۡصَـٰرَهُمۡۖ كُلَّمَآ أَضَآءَ لَهُم مَّشَوۡاْ فِيهِ وَإِذَآ أَظۡلَمَ عَلَيۡہِمۡ قَامُواْۚ وَلَوۡ شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ لَذَهَبَ بِسَمۡعِهِمۡ وَأَبۡصَـٰرِهِمۡۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ قَدِيرٌ۬ (٢٠)
These are they who purchase error at the price of guidance, so their commerce doth not prosper, neither are they guided. (16) Their likeness is as the likeness of one who kindleth fire, and when it sheddeth its light around him Allah taketh away their light and leaveth them in darkness, where they cannot see, (17) Deaf, dumb and blind; and they return not. (18) Or like a rainstorm from the sky, wherein is darkness, thunder and the flash of lightning. They thrust their fingers in their ears by reason of the thunder-claps, for fear of death, Allah encompasseth the disbelievers. (in His guidence) (19) The lightning almost snatcheth away their sight from them. As often as it flasheth forth for them they walk therein, and when it darkeneth against them they stand still. If Allah willed, He could destroy their hearing and their sight. Lo! Allah is able to do all things.(20)