This ayah is in 2 parts.
Say, “Not equal are the evil and the good, although the abundance of evil might impress you.” So fear Allah , O you of understanding, that you may be successful.[Al Maaidah 5:100]
Say, “Not equal are the evil and the good, although the abundance of evil might impress you.”
When we go to the grocery store, and we see moldy grapes in a bag, we would not take that bag and look for another bag and make sure none of the grapes in it are moldy. But how come then when it comes to religion, we are lax in this scrutiny?
For example, just because everyone is practicing bidaah, it doesn’t make it right and acceptable. Just because everyone is involved in interest, it doesn’t make it normal. Just because all your family members are not praying, it doesn’t make it ok. Just because there are a generous spattering of billboards of semi naked women, that doesn’t mean it’s ok to look at them. There is a difference though between something being ok and accepted and something being mainstream.
In fact, the variety and abundance of khabeeth (evil – everything that is impure or bad ; can refer to a khabeeth thing, person, wealth, or anything that is impure spiritually) is a test. Do we become desensitized? Do we begin to then take it as the norm? Do we get sucked up in what is mainstream just because it’s easier to do or just because it’s the thing to do?
The test is in who fears Allah when no one is watching him (except of course Allah)?
There is also the question,
Do I like the abundance and variety of khabeeth around me?
The ayah says, اعجَبَكَ, which means “it impressed you” [although the abundance of evil might impress you]. The meaning of this word is to be amazed, impressed by something. And this happens in the heart. We must fear Allah also with regards to what goes on in our hearts.
Then the second part of the ayah says,
So fear Allah , O you of understanding, that you may be successful.