The People of Al-A`raf
And between them will be a (barrier) screen,
After Allah mentioned that the people of Paradise will address the people of the Fire, He stated that there is a barrier between Paradise and the Fire, which prevents the people of the Fire from reaching Paradise.
Ibn Jarir said, "It is the wall that Allah described,
فَضُرِبَ بَيْنَهُم بِسُورٍ لَّهُ بَابٌ بَاطِنُهُ فِيهِ الرَّحْمَةُ وَظَـهِرُهُ مِن قِبَلِهِ الْعَذَابُ
So a wall will be put up between them, with a gate therein. Inside it will be mercy, and outside it will be torment. (57;13)
It is also about Al-A`raf that Allah said,
وَعَلَى الَاعْرَافِ رِجَالٌ
and on Al-A`rafwill be men."
Ibn Jarir recorded that As-Suddi said about Allah's statement,
(And between them will be a screen),
"It is the wall, it is Al-A`raf."
"Al-A`raf is a barrier between Paradise and the Fire, a wall that has a gate."
Ibn Jarir said,
"Al-A`raf is plural for Urf, where every elevated piece of land is known as Urf to the Arabs."
"Al-A`raf is so named because its residents recognize (Ya`rifun) the people. Al-A`raf's residents are those whose good and bad deeds are equal, as Hudhayfah, Ibn Abbas, Ibn Mas`ud and several of the Salaf and later generations said."
Ibn Jarir recorded that Hudhayfah was asked about the people of Al-A`rafand he said,
"A people whose good and bad deeds are equal. Their evil deeds prevented them from qualifying to enter Paradise, and their good deeds qualified them to avoid the Fire. Therefore, they are stopped there on the wall until Allah judges them."
يَعْرِفُونَ كُلًّ بِسِيمَاهُمْ
who would recognize all, by their marks.
وَنَادَوْاْ أَصْحَابَ الْجَنَّةِ أَن سَلَمٌ عَلَيْكُمْ لَمْ يَدْخُلُوهَا وَهُمْ يَطْمَعُونَ
And they will call out to the dwellers of Paradise, "Peace be on you!" and at that time they will not yet have entered it (Paradise), but they will hope to enter (it).
Ma`mar said that Al-Hasan recited this Ayah,
لَمْ يَدْخُلُوهَا وَهُمْ يَطْمَعُونَ
(and at that time they will not yet have entered it (Paradise), but they will hope to enter (it), Then he said,
"By Allah! Allah did not put this hope in their hearts, except for an honor that He intends to bestow on them."
"Those who hope are those among you whom Allah informed of their places."
Allah said next,
وَإِذَا صُرِفَتْ أَبْصَارُهُمْ تِلْقَاء أَصْحَابِ النَّارِ قَالُواْ رَبَّنَا لَا تَجْعَلْنَا مَعَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ