7:46 And between the two there will be a veil; and upon the Elevated Places there will be men who will recognize all by their markings. And they will call out to the dwellers of the Garden: “Salam be on you!” These will not have entered into it, although they will be hoping.
7:46 The title of the sūrah is derived from Al-a‘rāf, used in this verse and in v. 48. In this verse two groups of people are clearly specified, one who are in the Heaven and the other in al-a‘rāf. There appears to be some disagreement among commentators about the true meaning of the word a‘rāf. The most predominant meaning of a‘rāf is the highest or most elevated part of anything (Tabari, Ibn Kathīr). It is also interpreted as a barrier between Paradise and the Fire (Mujāhid, quoted by Tabari). Al-a‘rāf is the plural form of ‘urf meaning ‘elevated place’ and the word also means ‘knowledge’ or ‘discernment’.When the former interpretation is adopted, the idiomatic expression ‘ala-l- a‘rāf indicate the status of some people whose scale of deeds is evenly balanced, and they are hoping to enter the garden. During their lifetime, they were viewed as people unlikely to be admitted in to the Garden (v. 49). On the day of Awakening, they could be recognized by their markings, which is again a symbolic indication of their overall worth (3:107). This special group of people would be separated from the dwellers of the Hell by a hijāb (lit. veil), in the sense that the hijāb conceals one thing from the other. They would be in close contact with the dwellers of the Garden with the hope to enter the garden. Some of the commentators indicated these people on a‘rāf would be the prophets, but it appears unlikely since the prophets would have already entered the Heaven (also see next verse).