مَا كَانَ لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ أَن يَعْمُرُواْ مَسَاجِدَ الله شَاهِدِينَ عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ بِالْكُفْرِ أُوْلَئِكَ حَبِطَتْ أَعْمَالُهُمْ وَفِي النَّارِ هُمْ خَالِدُونَ
Ma kana lilmushrikeena an yaAAmuroo masajida Allahi shahideena AAala anfusihim bialkufri olaika habitat aAAmaluhum wafee alnnari hum khalidoona
It was not for the polytheists that they enliven the mosques of Allah while they witness upon themselves in rejection. Those, their actions became voided and in the Hell they reside forever.
The Aya may be stating a fact and an order at the same time for the sentence allows both and they are not mutually exclusive. They come in two meanings:
1- That their prayer or whatever they do in the houses of worship do not bring life to the structure because the act of worship is not proper.
2- That they are not allowed to enter or pray in the Mosques. However, here the practice of the prophet was that they entered and negotiated in the Mosque of Medina which was also the house of the Islamic government. So, one cannot understand it in this sense as an absolute but one may possibly understand that they are not allowed to pray their prayers in the mosques. Islamically speaking there is only one area where non-Muslims are forbidden to enter and that is the Mosque in Mecca.
Ma kana: it is not/ it was not
Note: MA is for negation of what comes next. KANA is derived from the root K-W-N and it means being. KANA is an action that is completed that is derived from the root. It means: the action of being happened by the subject (third personal singular or plural). This in turn means: He was or He happened to be. MA KANA together means: it is not or it was not
Lilmushrikeena: to the polytheists/ for the polytheists
Note: li means to or for. ALMUSHRIKEENA is derived from the root SH-R-K and it means partner or partnership and with this partnership is a measure of equality or being on par. ALMUSHRIKEENA are the ones who make partners to God in worship or in action and that includes the polytheists.
yaAAmuroo: they liven/ they visit
Note: the root is Ain-M-R and it means to become alive for some length of time. The concrete word is AAUMR and it means age or length of life. Conceptually, it carries also the meaning of livening an entity either by building it or having it full of life as in people and so on. YaAAMUROO is an action that is being or completed or will be completed. It means: the action of bringing life or livening the object (Masajida= mosques of) is happening or will be happening by the subject (third person plural)
Masajida: mosques of
Note: the root is S-J-D and in concrete it means in one concrete form: a tree that is tilting downward due to a heavy load of fruits. It therefore is used conceptually to mean tilting downward of the face or the body including prostration as well as showing any sign of submission to a higher power. The range of meaning all those meanings together and one needs to understand it as both unless there is a strong reason in the sentence or elsewhere in the Qur’an to make one meaning inappropriate or impossible. MASJID is the place and can also apply in addition to time of Sujood and that is prostration. The term is used for any place of worship and more particularly a mosque. MASAJIDA is plural form of the word
Shahideena: witnessing/ testifying
Note: the root is SH-H-D and it means witnessing of truth and it also denotes that the witness knows very well what he or she is witnessing about. The concrete meaning is the honey mixed with wax therefore the wax is the witness of the truth that the honey is the honey. Another concrete meaning is the baby that was just born and is covered with a membrane. In both, there is close association which is proof or witness of the fact. SHAHIDEEN means witnessing or testifying.
Note: ANFUSI is derived from the root N-F-S and it means to breath but is extended to mean self since the self breathes and that defines her existance. ANFUSI is a noun that is derived from this root and it means Selves of. HIM means them.
Bialkufri: in the rejection
Note: BI signifies an attachment or close linkage between what is before and what is after it. In a Verbal sentence it can mean attachment to the action or to the subject as it does the action. This attachment can then signify many things according to the verb and to the sentence and so on. ALKUFR is derived from the root K-F-R and it means cover or bury in the ground, as in put the seed in the ground and cover it. This is then used conceptually for many purposes as in discarding and rejecting as well as burying. ALKUFR is the rejection or the ignoring of something and in this context the truth.
Habitat: became null/ voided
aAAmaluhum: their works
wafee: and in
alnnari: the fire/ Hell
Note: the root is N-W-R and it means lighting. This could be lighting light or lighting fire according to the word and the context. ALNNARI is the fire and here it points to Hell.
khalidoona: Staying unchanged / remaining
Note: the root is KH-L-D and it means something that stays the same. In concrete, it is used for the rocks and the mountains that seem to be unchanged through the ages. KHALIDOONA means staying unchanged. This basically means that they reside forever with no change in their predicament.