47:31 And most certainly We shall try you all, so that. We might mark out those of you who strive hard [in Our cause] and are patient in adversity, for We shall put to a test [the truth of] all your assertions.
Lit., “in some [or “parts of”] the matter” i.e “although we cannot agree with you Iatheistsl as regards your denial of God, or of resurrection, or of the fact of revelation as such, we do agree with you that Muhammad is an impostor and that the Qur’an is but his invention” (Razi). By “those who turn their backs [on this message] after guidance has been vouchsafed to them” are meant, in the first instance, the hypocrites and half-hearted followers of Islam at the time of the Prophet who refused to fight in defense of the Faith; in a wider sense, however, this definition applies to all people, at all times, who are impressed by the teachings of the Qur’an but nevertheless refuse to accept it as God-inspired and, therefore, morally binding.
47:32 Verily, they who are bent on denying the truth and on barring [others] from the path of God, and [who thus) cut themselves off from the Apostle after guidance has been vouchsafed to them, can in no wise harm God, but He will cause all their deeds to come to nought.
See note 55 on 8:50.
47:33 O you who have attained to faith! Pay heed unto God, and pay heed unto the Apostle, and let not your [good] deeds come to nought!
See the first clause of verse 3 of this surah, which speaks of the “pursuit of falsehood”. In the present instance, “that which would meet with His goodly acceptance” is the believer’s readiness to sacrifice, if necessary, his life in the defense of the Faith.
47:34 Verily, as for those who are bent on denying the truth and on barring [others] from the path of God, and then die as deniers of the truth – Indeed, God will not grant them forgiveness!
The noun dighn (of which ad, ghan is the plural) denotes, primarily, “rancour” or “hate”; in its wider sense it signifies a person’s “disposition”, “inclination” or “leaning”, especially in its negative aspects (Jawhari): hence, a “moral defect” or “failing”.
47:35 And so, [when you fight in a just cause] do not lose heart and [never] beg for peace, for, seeing that God is with you, you are bound to rise high [in the end], and never will He let your [good] deeds go to waste.
Lit., “by their marks”: implying, elliptically, that God does not grant to anyone a clear insight, as by a visible mark, into another human being’s heart or mind.
47:36 The life of this world is but a play and a passing delight, but if you believe [in God] and are conscious of Him, He will grant you your deserts. And withal, He does not demand of you (to sacrifice in His cause all of) your possessions.
Lit., “the tone (lahn) of speech”: indicating that a true believer recognizes hypocrisy even without a “visible mark” (sima).
47:37 [For] if He were to demand of you all of them, and urge you, you would niggardly cling [to them], and so He would [but] bring out your moral failings.
Cf. 3:140, where the verb ‘alama has been rendered in the same way.
47:38 Behold, [O believers] it is you who are called upon to spend freely in God’s cause, but [even] among you are such as turn out to be niggardly! And yet, he who acts niggardly [in God’s cause] is but niggardly towards his own self, for God is indeed self-sufficient, whereas you stand in need [of Him], and if you turn away [from Him], He will cause other people to take your place, and they will not be the likes of you!
Lit., “your announcements” – i.e., all assertions relating to belief. The “test” consists in one’s readiness to undergo any sacrifice – and, since most of this surah deals with the problem of a just war (jihad) in God’s cause – even the sacrifice of one’s life.