Surah Luqman : 6
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يَّشْتَرِيْ لَهْوَ الْحَدِيْثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَنْ سَبِيْلِ اللّٰهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ ڰ وَّيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا ۭ اُولٰۗىِٕكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِيْن
And there is among the men such a one also , who buys alluring tales so that he may lead the people astray from Allah’s Way, without any knowledge, and make a mockery of the invitation to it. For such people there is a disgraceful torment.
That is, “On the one hand, there is this Mercy and Guidance sent down by Allah, of which some people arc taking full advantage, and on the other, there are also some unfortunate people living side by side with the fortunate ones, who are adopting this sort of attitude as against the Revelations of Allah. “
The words lahv al-hadith in the Text imply such a thing as may allure and absorb a listener completely and make him heedless of everything else around him. Lexically, there is nothing derogatory in these words, but in custom and usage they apply to evil and useless and vain things, such as gossip, nonsensical talk, joking and jesting, legends and tales, singing and merry-making, etc.
“To buy” alluring tales may also mean that the person concerned adopts falsehood instead of the Truth, turns away from the guidance and turns to those things which can neither benefit him in the world nor in the Hereafter. But this is the metaphorical meaning. The real meaning of the sentence is that a person should purchase an absurd and useless thing for his money, and this is supported by many traditions. Ibn Hisham has related on the authority of Ibn Ishaq that when the disbelievers of Makkah could not stop the message of the Holy Prophet from spreading in spite of their best efforts, Nadr bin Harith said to the people of Quraish: “The way you are counteracting this man will avail you nothing. He has lived a lifetime among you. Until now he was the best of your men morally: he was the most truthful and the most trustworthy person among you. Now you say that he is a sorcerer and enchanter and a poet and a madman.
Who will believe aII this? Don’t the people know the way the sorcerers talk? Don’t they know the enchanters and the way they conduct their business? Are they unaware of poetry and of. the states of madness? Which of these accusations sticks to Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace) by exploiting which you would turn the people’s attention away from him? Look! I will tell you how to deal with him.” Then he left Makkah for Iraq and managed to get from there legends and tales about the kings of Iran and Rustam and Isfandyar and started to arrange tale-telling parties to distract the people from the Qur’an and to absorb them in the tales. (Ibn Hisham. vol. I, pp. 320 – 321 ). The same tradition has been cited by Vahidi in Asbab un Nazul on the authority of Kalbi and Muqatil. And according to Ibn ‘Abbas, Nadr had bough singing girls also for the purpose.
Whenever he heard that someone was coming under the Holy Prophet’s influence, he would impose a singing girl an him with the instruction: “Feed him and entertain him with your songs so that he is absorbed in you and distracted from the other side.” This was the same device which the arch-criminals of the nations have been employing in every age. They try to get the common people so absorbed in fun and sport and musical entertainment’s in the name of culture that they are left with no time and sense to attend to the serious problems of life, and in their heedlessness they do not even feel what destruction they are being driven to.
The same commentary of lahv al-hadith has been reported from a large number of the Companions and their immediate followers. ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud was asked, ‘What does lahv al-hadith mean in this verse ?” He said thrice emphatically. ‘By God! it means singing.” (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Shaibah. Hakim, Baihaqi).
Similar traditions have been reported from scholars like ‘Abdullah bin’ Abbas, Jabir bin ‘Abdullah, Mujahid, ‘Ikrimah, Said bin Jubair, Hasan Basri: and Makhul. Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim and Tirmidhi have related on the authority of Hadrat Abu Umamah Baheli that the Holy Prophet said, “It is not lawful to buy and sell and trade in singing girls nor is it lawful to take their price.” In another tradition, the last sentence is to the effect: … it is unlawful to eat their price” . Yet another tradition from Abu Umamah is to the effect: To teach music to slave-girls and to trade in them is not lawful and their price is forbidden.” AII these Ahadith also elucidate that the verse containing lahv al-hadith was sent down in this very connection. Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn al-‘Arabi has related in the Ahkam alQur’an a Hadith from Hadrat ‘Abdullah bin Mubarak and Imam Malik on the authority of Hadrat Anas, saying, that the Holy Prophet said: ‘He who hears the song of a singing-girl in a musical concert, will have molten lead poured into his ear on the Day of Judgement” (In this connection, one should also note that the culture” of music in those days flourished almost entirely through the slave-girls: Free women had not yet become “artists” . That is why the Holy Prophet spoke about trading in slave-girls, and described their wages and earnings as their price. and used the word qaynah for the singing-girl, which is specifically used for a slave-girl in Arabic).
“Without any knowledge” may be connected with “buys” and also “lead…astray”. In the first case, it would mean: ‘The ignorant foolish person buys this alluring thing and dces not know that he is buying a ruinous thing at the cost of a highly valuable thing. On the one hand, there are the Divine verses which are full of wisdom and guidance, which he can obtain without any cost, but he turns away from them.
On the other, there are these absurd things, which are disastrous for his morals and he is expending his wealth to obtain them. ” In the second case, it would mean: “He has come out to guide the people without any knowledge: he does not know what burden of sin he is taking on himself by trying to lead the people astray from Allah’s Way.”
That is, This person wants to make fun of the Divine Revelations by alluring and absorbing the people in legends and tales and music. He intends that the invitation of the Qur’an should be derided and ridiculed and laughed away. He plans to fight the Religion of God with the strategy that as soon as Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace) should come out to recite Revelations of God to the people, there should be a charming, sweet-voiced damsel giving her performance in a musical concert. on the one hand, and a glib-tongued story teller telling tales and legends of Iran, on the other, and the people should become so absorbed in these cultural activities” that they may not be in a mood to hear anything about God and the morals and the Hereafter. “
This punishment will be in accordance with their crime. They want to debase and disgrace Go’s Religion, His Revelations and His Messenger; God will rake His vengeance on them by giving them a disgraceful torment.