O you who have believed, obey Allah and His Messenger and do not turn from him while you hear [his order].
And be not like those who say: “We have heard,” but they hear not.
Indeed, the worst of living creatures in the sight of Allah are the deaf and dumb who do not use reason.
Had Allah known any good in them, He would have made them hear. And if He had made them hear, they would [still] have turned away, while they were refusing.
Chapter 8 Al-‘Anfāl : Verses 20-23
The Command to obey Allah and His Messenger
Allah commands His believing servants to obey Him and His Messenger and warns them against defying him and imitating the disbelievers who reject him. Allah said,
(and turn not away from him…), neither refrain from obeying him or following his commands nor indulge in what he forbade,
(while you are hearing.) after you gained knowledge of his Message,
(And be not like those who say: “We have heard,” but they hear not.)
Ibn Ishaq said that this Ayah refers to the hypocrites, who pretend to hear and obey, while in fact they do neither. Allah declares that these are the most wicked creatures among the Children of Adam,
(Verily, the worst of living creatures with Allah are the deaf) who do not hear the truth,
(and the dumb) who cannot comprehend it,
(who understand not. ) These indeed are the most wicked creatures, for every creature except them abide by the way that Allah created in them. These people were created to worship Allah, but instead disbelieved. This is why Allah equated them to animals, when He said,
(And the example of those who disbelieve is as that of him who shouts to those that hear nothing but calls and cries.) (2:171), and,
(They are like cattle, nay even more astray; those! They are the heedless ones.) (7:179)
It was also said that the Ayah (8:22) refers to some of the pagans of Quraysh from the tribe of Bani `Abd Ad-Dar, according to Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and Ibn Jarir. Muhammad bin Ishaq said that this Ayah refers to hypocrites, as we stated. There is no contradiction here, because both disbelievers and hypocrites are devoid of sound comprehension, in addition to having lost the intention to do good. Allah states here that such are those who neither have sound understanding nor good intentions, even if they have some type of reason,
(Had Allah known of any good in them, He would indeed have made them listen.)
He would have helped them understand. However, this did not happen because there is no goodness in such people, for Allah knows that,
(even if He had made them listen…) and allowed them to understand,
(they would but have turned…), intentionally and out of stubbornness, even after they comprehend,
(with aversion.), to the truth.