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40:83 For when their messengers came to them with Clear Signs, they exulted in such knowledge (and skill) as they had; but that very (Wrath) at which they were wont to scoff hemmed them in.

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For when their messengers came to them with Clear Signs, they exulted in such knowledge (and skill) as they had; but that very (Wrath) at which they were wont to scoff hemmed them in.

In verse 83, it was said: (they exulted because of whatever of knowledge they had,) that is, when the messengers of Allah Ta’ala came to these deniers, who were utterly oblivious to their end, with
clear arguments in favor of tauhid (Oneness of Allah) and ‘iman (faith),
they took their knowledge to be better and truer than the knowledge
brought by prophets, and started rejecting what they said. What was this
knowledge with which the disbelievers were exultant to the extent that
they would even reject the body of knowledge brought by prophets? It
could be some sort of ‘compounded ignorance’ (aljahl-ul-rnurakkab
whereby an ignorant person, despite his sheer ignorance, believes himself
to be knowledgeable). This does not qualify to be ‘knowledge’ at all. Or,
this knowledge of theirs means awareness in the fields of trade, industry
and things like that. They really had expertise in these fields according to
their time. The noble Qur’an alludes to this knowledge of theirs in a verse
of Surah Ar-Rum in the following words: (They know something superficial of the worldly life, bit of the
Hereafter they are negligent.- Ar-Rum, 30:7) It means that these people do
know a good deal about the material life of the world, and also know how
to get most benefited by it, but are totally ignorant or heedless of the
Hereafter where they have to live for ever, either in bliss or in bane, and
both of which are also everlasting. In this verse, even if we were to take
this knowledge to be the worldly knowledge only, it would means ‘since
these people deny the Day of Judgment and the Hereafter and do not
know, or want to know, its everlasting reward and punishment, therefore,
they do not see anything beyond their knowledge of the apparent and are
quite pleased with it, and as a result do not pay heed to areas of
knowledge brought by the noble prophets.’ (Mazhari)

References:

Shafi, Muhammad (2008). Maariful Quran. (Vol .7 surah 40 verse 83)English-MaarifulQuran-MuftiShafiUsmaniRA-Vol-7.pdf (islamicweblibrary.com)

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