Transcription by: Umm Ṣafūrā b. As-Saʿadīyyah Tafsīr b. Kathīr, Volume 4, Pages 550 to 552, Tafsīr of Sūrah al-Tawbah verse 126

أَوَلَا يَرَ‌وْنَ أَنَّهُمْ يُفْتَنُونَ فِي كُلِّ عَامٍ مَّرَّ‌ةً أَوْ مَرَّ‌تَيْنِ ثُمَّ لَا يَتُوبُونَ وَلَا هُمْ يَذَّكَّرُ‌ونَ ﴿١٢٦﴾

«See they not that they are put in trial once or twice every year (with different kinds of calamities, disease, famine, etc.)? Yet, they turn not in repentance, nor do they learn a lesson (from it).»
وَإِذَا مَا أُنزِلَتْ سُورَ‌ةٌ نَّظَرَ‌ بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَىٰ بَعْضٍ هَلْ يَرَ‌اكُم مِّنْ أَحَدٍ ثُمَّ انصَرَ‌فُوا ۚ صَرَ‌فَ اللَّـهُ قُلُوبَهُم بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لَّا يَفْقَهُونَ ﴿١٢٧﴾

«And whenever there comes down a Sūrah, they look at one another (saying): “Does any one see you?” Then they turn away. Allāh has turned their hearts because they are a people that understand not.»
Allāh says, do not these hypocrites see,
أَنَّهُمْ يُفْتَنُونَ

«that they are put in trial,» being tested,
فِي كُلِّ عَامٍ مَّرَّ‌ةً أَوْ مَرَّ‌تَيْنِ ثُمَّ لَا يَتُوبُونَ وَلَا هُمْ يَذَّكَّرُ‌ونَ

«once or twice every year? Yet, they turn not in repentance, nor do they learn a lesson.»
They neither repent from their previous sins nor learn a lesson for the future. Mujāhid said that the hypocrites are tested with drought and hunger. [1]
Allāh said,
 

وَإِذَا مَا أُنزِلَتْ سُورَ‌ةٌ نَّظَرَ‌ بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَىٰ بَعْضٍ هَلْ يَرَ‌اكُم مِّنْ أَحَدٍ ثُمَّ انصَرَ‌فُوا ۚ صَرَ‌فَ اللَّـهُ قُلُوبَهُم بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لَّا يَفْقَهُونَ
«And whenever there comes down a Sūrah, they look at one another (saying): “Does anyone see you?” Then they turn away. Allāh has turned their hearts because they are a people that understand not.»
This describes the hypocrites that when a Sūrah is revealed to the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ), 
نَّظَرَ‌ بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَىٰ بَعْضٍ

«They look at one another,» they turn their heads, left and right saying,

هَلْ يَرَ‌اكُم مِّنْ أَحَدٍ ثُمَّ انصَرَ‌فُوا

«”Does anyone see you?” Then they turn away…»
Turning away from, and shunning the truth. This is the description of hypocrites in this life, for they do not remain where the truth is being declared, neither accepting nor understanding it, just as Allāh said in another Āyāt,
فَرَّ‌تْ مِن قَسْوَرَ‌ةٍ ﴿٥١﴾﴿٤٩﴾كَأَنَّهُمْ حُمُرٌ‌ مُّسْتَنفِرَ‌ةٌ ﴿٥٠﴾ فَمَا لَهُمْ عَنِ التَّذْكِرَ‌ةِ مُعْرِ‌ضِينَ

«Then what is wrong with them that they turn away from admonition? 

As if they were wild donkeys. Fleeing from a lion.» 

(74: 49-51)
And,
﴿٣٦﴾عَنِ الْيَمِينِ وَعَنِ الشِّمَالِ عِزِينَ ﴿٣٧﴾ فَمَالِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُ‌وا قِبَلَكَ مُهْطِعِينَ

«So what is the matter with those who disbelieve that they hasten to hear from you. 

(Sitting) in groups on the right and on the left.» 

(70:36-37)
This Āyah also means, what is the matter with these people who turn away from you to the right and to the left, to escape from truth and revert to falsehood? Allāh’s statement,
ثُمَّ انصَرَ‌فُوا ۚ صَرَ‌فَ اللَّـهُ قُلُوبَهُم

«They turn away. Allāh has turned their hearts (from Truth),» is similar to,
فَلَمَّا زَاغُوا أَزَاغَ اللَّـهُ قُلُوبَهُمْ

«So when they turned away, Allāh turned their hearts away.»

(61:5)
Allāh said next,
بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لَّا يَفْقَهُونَ

«Because they are a people that understand not.»
They neither understand Allāh’s Word nor attempt to comprehend it nor want it. Rather, they are too busy, turning away from it. This is why they ended up in this condition.
_________________

[1] al-Ṭabarī, 14:580
May Allāh save us from hypocrisy, allow us to repent sincerely to Him and allow us to learn our lessons by understanding that it’s what our hands have earned. And Allāh pardons much.
قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَ‌فُوا عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّ‌حْمَةِ اللَّـهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَغْفِرُ‌ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ‌ الرَّ‌حِيمُ
Say: “O ʿIbādi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allāh, verily Allāh forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful!

Al-Zumar verse 53

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