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The concept of one without power to reject or a way to believe in the true religion.
The concept of one without power to reject or a way to believe in the true religion.
From a famous Shia tafsir:

QUR'AN: Except the weak ones from among the men and the women and the children who have not in their power the means nor can they find a way (to escape): The exception is isolated. Allah calls this group weak and their weakness is explained in this very verse. It proves that the previously mentioned unjust people were not weak because they could liberate themselves from the fetters of oppression by emigrating from that land. Weak in reality are these people mentioned in this verse. To mention them with such detail, "the men and the women and the children" makes the divine order clearer and removes all possible misunderstandings. Hilah(translated here as 'means') is derived from al-haylulah (to interpose, to come between); then it was used for a device which comes between a person and his goal; it is mostly used for what is done secretly and for objectionable activity - artifice, ruse, subterfuge. Its root contains a connotation of change, as ar-Raghib has written in his Mufradatul-Qur'an.
The meaning: These people are unable to do anything to avert from themselves the oppression perpetrated against them by the polytheists; they cannot find a way to get out from the enemies' clutch. The 'way' in this context means the real path (e.g., the way to Medina for the intending emigrants from Mecca) as well as the metaphorical way, i.e., every means which could free them from the polytheists' hands and put an end to their oppression and tyranny.
On the "Weak Ones"
The verse shows that ignorance of religious tenets is a valid excuse in Allah's eyes, provided it is caused by such inadequacy and weakness which were not contributed to by the ignorant person himself.

Allah says that ignorance of religion and inability to establish religious rites and tenets is an inequity which will not be forgiven by Him. Then He makes an exception of the weak persons and accepts their plea of 'weakness', and defines that weakness in a way which includes others too: that is, they are unable to avert the danger from themselves. Now, this inability manifests itself in two ways:
One: A man lives in a place where he does not have access to religious knowledge because there is no scholar there who could teach him the necessary details; or he is unable to act according to shari'ahbecause the enemies forcefully prevent him from it and put him under unbearable torture and oppression; and he cannot leave that place to emigrate to a Muslim land and join his fellow Muslims. As a result, this inability may emanate from weakness of mind, sickness, physical handicap, lack of money or other such factors.
Two: A man is oblivious of the established truth of the religion and its tenets, and his thoughts have not led him to it, but at the same time he has no enmity towards truth, is not averse to it at all; if he knew the reality he would have readily accepted it; but the truth has remained hidden from him because of some factors [and, therefore, he does not know it].
This too is a 'weak' person who does not have a means and does not find a way to escape from his ignorance - not because of any enemies who might be threatening him from all sides with swords and spears - but because of other factors which have overpowered his thinking and put him under oblivion. Obviously, with this oblivion he has no power and with this ignorance he cannot find a way to the truth.
This explanation is based on the generality of the verse which shows that the given cause is unrestricted [and covers cases of unavoidable ignorance and oblivion]. The theme is supported by some other verses too. For example: Allah does not impose upon any soul a duty but to the extent of its ability; for it is (the benefit of) what it has earned, and upon it is (the evil of) what it has wrought(2:286). Obviously, a thing, which one is unaware of, is beyond one's ability in the same way as is a thing which one is forcefully prevented from.
This verse of the second chapter absolves one from responsibility in cases of lack of ability, and at the same time lays down a criterion for distinguishing a genuine inability from a false one. That is, the man should not have contributed towards that inability; if his total or partial ignorance of religion emanates from his own negligence or wrong choice then he should be held responsible for it. In other words, it is he who has committed that sin. On the other hand, if that ignorance is caused - not by his own actions - but by some factors beyond his power, then it cannot be attributed to his own choice - he cannot be accused of committing a sin, or of being arrogant; he has not opposed the truth nor has he rejected it intentionally. In short, for him is what he has earned, and upon him is what he has wrought.
It appears from the above, that a 'weak' person is empty-handed. There is nothing for or against him in his account, because he has not earned anything. His judgment is in the hands of his Lord. This is clear from the next verse: So these it may be, Allah will pardon them and Allah is Pardoning, Forgiving; and from the verse 106 of ch. 9: And others are made to await Allah's command, whether He will turn to them (in mercy); and Allah is Knowing, Wise. And His mercy is ahead of His wrath.
QUR'AN: So these, it may be, Allah will pardon them,...: The weak ones have not earned any sin, because they were unable to remove their ignorance. Yet, as explained before man's affairs are either good or evil, and it is enough for one's infelicity if one does not earn good for himself. Man, whether he is good, evil or just empty-handed, can never be free from the need of Allah's pardon and forgiveness; it is this divine pardoning which erases the traces of evil and infelicity. That is why Allah has offered them here a hope of pardon.
First the hope is offered to them of being pardoned, and it is immediately followed by the declaration:and Allah is Pardoning, Forgiving. It makes it almost definite that the divine forgiveness will cover them [on the Day of Judgment], as they have been separated, through exception, from the unjust ones who have been threatened that their abode is hell and it is evil resort.

The following is  hadith of one of the 12 Successors of the Prophet:

as-Sadiq (a.s.) said explaining this verse: " 'who have not in their power the means' to our enmity, so that they could have got ill-feelings [towards us], 'nor are able to find a way' to the truth, that they could come on the right path; they will enter the garden because of their good deeds and their abstaining from the unlawful things forbid­den by Allah, but they will not get the rank of the righteous ones." (at-Tafsir, al-'Ayyashi)

My (MysticKnight) comment: 

It is understood the righteous ones would search the truth and find it, and they would make the spiritual journey to the guide of our time and come to his recognition where ever they are, and those who strive hard for God, God would surely guide them. This is why those don't have the power to enmity nor find a way to to the truth, are one excused and will enter paradise, but are to be given the rank of the righteous ones who would of searched the truth and found it through spiritual reflection and awakening while they strive hard for God.

This shows a middle a way, were searchers of the truth are praised to a higher degree, but at the same time, those who didn't have any hatred towards God or his chosen ones by the truth becoming manifest to them nor found a way to possibly be guided in their state, God may forgive them their sins provided they were not overwhelming on the side of evil like a mass murderer or something.

Some other hadiths:

'Ali (a.s.) said: "The name of weakness is not used for him to whom the proof has reached, and his ears heard it and his heart understood it." (Nahju'l-balaghah)

al-Kazim (a.s.) was asked about the weak ones. He (a.s.) wrote: "The weak is he to whom proof has not been conveyed and who is unaware of [religious] difference. But he is no weaker once he knew the difference." (al-Kafi)

Messages In This Thread
The concept of one without power to reject or a way to believe in the true religion. - by MysticKnight - February 4, 2016 at 4:40 pm

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