¡ Hast thou seen the one who denies religion?
* That is the one who drives away the orphan,
1-2 There are two opinions regarding the referent of the one. Muqātil and al-Kalbī said, “This sūrah was revealed about al-ʿĀṣ ibn Wāʾil al-Sahmī” (W). Conversely, Ibn Jurayj said, “Abū Sufyān was in the habit of slaughtering two camels every week. On one occasion, an orphan came to him asking him for something. Abū Sufyān responded by hitting him with a stick. So God revealed, Hast thou seen the one who denies religion? That is the one who drives away the orphan” (R, W). Even if it was first recorded in reference to a specific individual, it still has a general implication. Religion here translates dīn, and denying religion implies denial of all aspects of the message that was sent through the Prophet. Dīn could also mean “judgment” and relate to the denial of the Resurrection and other events of the Afterlife. When vv. 2-7 are viewed in relation to v. 1, the implication is that denying dīn, whether it be religion or judgment, is the root of all other sins and transgressions (R).
Cf. v. 2 with 89:17-19. The accusation of driving away the orphan also alludes to the habit of devouring the inheritances of orphans that is addressed in 2:220; 4:2-3, 8-10, 127; 6:152.