فَلَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفْسَكَ عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِمْ إِن لَّمْ يُؤْمِنُوا بِهَٰذَا الْحَدِيثِ أَسَفًا
Perhaps, you, would kill yourself in grief, over their footsteps because they believe not in this narration. (Qur'an al Kahf 18:6)
فَلَعَلَّكَ, fa means then, la’ala means perhaps and ka means you. The word la’ala signifies the expected result or consequence. So it is expected that: بَاخِعٌ نَفْسَكَ , baakhi’un nafsaka, you are to destroy yourself, speaking to the Prophet [SAWS]. Baakhi’un is from ba khaa ayn and it literally means to slaughter, to kill. The statement, baakhi’un nafsaka is when someone “worries to death” with grief and anger.
عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِمْ , alaa aathaarihim, upon their traces. Aathaar is plural of athar and it literally means a tract, trace or mark. Meaning that the Prophet [SAWS] is so grieved, in so much distress, why? <<إِنْ لَمْ يُؤْمِنُوا بِهَـٰذَا الْحَدِيثِ>> , if they do not believe in this narration (the Qur’an). Allahumma sali wa sallim alaa nabiyyinaa Muhammad. SubhanAllah, the Prophet [SAWS] wanted them to believe so much so that he was about to kill himself with grief.
Allah [SWT] ends this ayah with: أَسَفًا, asafa, due to grief. This is from hamza seen fa and it literally means extreme anger. It is sorrow that someone feels at ones departure. This grief causes restlessness and regret. That is the kind of feelings the Prophet [SAWS] had when people disbelieved in him: grief, restlessness, regret to the point that he would want to kill himself! Of course, this was just the state of his feelings and as we know, suicide is completely forbidden in Islam.
Allah [SWT] answers in the next ayah why they don’t believe:
إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا مَا عَلَى الْأَرْضِ زِينَةً لَّهَا لِنَبْلُوَهُمْ أَيُّهُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا
Allah [SWT] has made on this earth zeenah, adornments–distractions that cause people to disbelieve. Allah [SWT] says, whatever is on the earth:
Indeed We have made that which is on earth as an adornment for it, in order that We may test them (mankind) as to which of them are best in deeds. (7)
- the creation of Allah (nature, animals, humans etc)
- man made with Allah’s creation (cars, money etc)
وَإِنَّا لَجَاعِلُونَ مَا عَلَيْهَا صَعِيدًا جُرُزًا
SubhanAllah, although this earth now is spread with adornments, so lush and beautiful, one day it will ALL be destroyed. No matter how much wealth one gathers, no matter how much time they spend adorning this earth, Allah [SWT] will make it, without a doubt, صَعِيدًا جُرُزًا, sa’eedan juruzan. صَعِيدًا, sa’eedan means the top surface of the earth, the ground or soil. And جُرُزًا, juruzan, from jeem ra zay and it literally means to cut something off. The earth will become juruzan, it will become barren. After having all of this zeenah, Allah [SWT] will destroy it all.
And indeed We shall make all that is on it (the earth) a bare dry soil. (8)