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ARBNDEENIDTRUR
أُو۟لَٰٓئِكَ
Those
ٱلَّذِينَ
(are) the ones who
ٱشْتَرَوُا۟
bought
ٱلضَّلَٰلَةَ
[the] astraying
بِٱلْهُدَىٰ
for [the] guidance.
فَمَا
So not
رَبِحَت
profited
تِّجَٰرَتُهُمْ
their commerce
وَمَا
and not
كَانُوا۟
were they
مُهْتَدِينَ
guided-ones.

Ulaaa'ikal lazeenash tara wud dalaalata bilhudaa famaa rabihat tijaaratuhum wa maa kaanoo muhtadeen

Sahih International:

Those are the ones who have purchased error [in exchange] for guidance, so their transaction has brought no profit, nor were they guided.

Ahmed Ali

They are indeed those who bartered away good guidance for error and gained nothing from the deal, nor found the right way.

Ahmed Raza Khan

These are the people who purchased error in exchange of guidance – so their bargain did not profit them, and they did not know how to trade.

Ali Ünal

Such are the ones who have bought straying in exchange for guidance, but their trade has brought no profit, and they have no way out to escape it.

Amatul Rahman Omar

It is they who have preferred misguidance to guidance, but their bargain has fetched no profit, nor they are rightly guided.

A. J. Arberry

Those are they that have bought error at the price of guidance, and their commerce has not profited them, and they are not right-guided.

Abdul Majid Daryabadi

These are they who purchased error for guidance, but their traffic profited not, nor have they ever become guided.

Faridul Haque

These are the people who purchased error in exchange of guidance - so their bargain did not profit them, and they did not know how to trade.

Hamid S. Aziz

Those who buy error for guidance, their traffic profits not, and they are not guided.

Hilali & Khan

These are they who have purchased error for guidance, so their commerce was profitless. And they were not guided.

Talal Itani

Those are they who have bartered error for guidance; but their trade does not profit them, and they are not guided.

English Literal

Those are those who bought/volunteered the misguidance with the guidance, so their commercial trade/buying and selling did not profit/gain, and they were not guided.

Abul Ala Maududi

These are the people who have bartered away Guidance for error, but this is a profitless bargain that they have made, and they are not at all on the right way.

Maulana Mohammad Ali

These are they who buy error for guidance, so their bargain brings no gain, nor are they guided.

Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri

These are they who have purchased error with guidance, so their commerce was profitless. And they were not guided.

Mohammed Marmaduke William Pickthall

These are they who purchase error at the price of guidance, so their commerce doth not prosper, neither are they guided.

Ali Quli Qarai

They are the ones who bought error for guidance, so their trade did not profit them, nor were they guided.

Qaribullah & Darwish

Such are those who barter away guidance for error, their trade did not profit (them), nor are they guided.

Muhammad Sarwar

They have traded guidance for error, but their bargain has had no profit and they have missed the true guidance.

Mohammad Habib Shakir

These are they who buy error for the right direction, so their bargain shall bring no gain, nor are they the followers of the right direction.

Wahiduddin Khan

Such are those who have taken misguidance in exchange for guidance; but their bargain does not profit them, nor have they found true guidance.

Abdullah Yusuf Ali

These are they who have bartered Guidance for error; But their traffic is profitless, and they have lost true direction,

Tafsir jalalayn

Those are they who have bought error for guidance, that is, they have exchanged the latter for the former; so their commerce has not profited them, that is to say, they have gained nothing from it, indeed, they have lost, because their destination is the Fire, made everlasting for them; nor are they guided, in what they did.

Tafseer Ibn Kathir

Allah said,

أُوْلَـيِكَ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرُوُاْ الضَّلَلَةَ بِالْهُدَى

These are they who have purchased error with guidance,

In his Tafsir, As-Suddi reported that Ibn Abbas and Ibn Mas`ud commented saying it means,

"They pursued misguidance and abandoned guidance."

Mujahid said,

"They believed and then disbelieved,"

while Qatadah said,

"They preferred deviation to guidance."

This statement is similar in meaning to Allah's statement about Thamud,

وَأَمَّا ثَمُودُ فَهَدَيْنَـهُمْ فَاسْتَحَبُّواْ الْعَمَى عَلَى الْهُدَى

And as for Thamud, We granted them guidance, but they preferred blindness to guidance. (41;17)

In summary, the statements that we have mentioned from the scholars of Tafsir indicate that the hypocrites deviate from the true guidance and prefer misguidance, substituting wickedness in place of righteousness. This meaning explains Allah's statement,
أُوْلَـيِكَ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرُوُاْ الضَّلَلَةَ بِالْهُدَى
(These are they who have purchased error with guidance),

meaning, they exchanged guidance to buy misguidance. This meaning includes those who first believed, then later disbelieved, whom Allah described,

ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ ءَامَنُواّ ثُمَّ كَفَرُوا فَطُبِعَ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ

That is because they believed, and then disbelieved; therefore their hearts are sealed. (63;3)

The Ayah also includes those who preferred deviation over guidance. The hypocrites fall into several categories.

This is why Allah said,

فَمَا رَبِحَت تِّجَارَتُهُمْ وَمَا كَانُواْ مُهْتَدِينَ




So their commerce was profitless. And they were not guided,

meaning their trade did not succeed nor were they righteous or rightly guided throughout all this.

In addition, Ibn Jarir narrated that Qatadah commented on the Ayah,

"By Allah! I have seen them leaving guidance for deviation, leaving the Jama`ah (the community of the believers) for the sects, leaving safety for fear, and the Sunnah for innovation."

Ibn Abi Hatim also reported other similar statements