The 9th and 12th verses of Baqarah read as follows:

يُخَادِعُونَ اللَّـهَ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَمَا يَخْدَعُونَ إِلَّا أَنفُسَهُمْ وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ

They would trick God and believers, and only themselves they deceive and they do not perceive [this].

أَلَا إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ الْمُفْسِدُونَ وَلَـٰكِن لَّا يَشْعُرُونَ

Truly, they are the workers of corruption, but they do not perceive [this].

From a native Arabian's viewpoint, how these two styles of negation (i.e. ما یشعرون and لا یشعرون) can possibly be different? I know there can be no big semantic difference, yet what about any fine one?

1 Answer 1


This question is really good and should have been asked in the Arabic Section. As i couldn't find something which reveals the secret behind this choice for those both negation in the few tafsir book i consulted i asked the question in there.

And the Answer was really interesting (shortly): in Arabic both ما and لا are used to negate (a verb) so far so good. But the main difference is that while لا is used to express a negation which is valid in all times (past/present/future), ما only expresses a negation of the time of the verb in your example the verb is conjugated in the present.

Here this would mean at anytime Kufar (non-Believers) my not perceive and this "feeling" is for there actual present situation as we consider the Quran to be valid for all time (i hope i could express myself well!).

  • Thank you. It makes sense[, and you were immediately understandable!]
    – Itsme
    Aug 11, 2015 at 10:26

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