وَمَا ظَلَمَهُمُ اللَّهُ وَلَـٰكِنْ أَنفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ
God has never wronged them but they do wrong themselves. (Al ‘Imrān 3:117)
This meaning is stated in different places of the Qur’ān as in Sūratu’n-Nahl: “God did not wrong them but they did wrong themselves” (16:33). The difference between such verses and the verse under discussion is the existence or non-existence of the verb “kānū” which means “were” or “became.” This verb does not exist in the verse under discussion. This type of style reminds us—and God knows the best—of the following points:
- The people mentioned in the verse wrong themselves so clearly that everyone sees what they do to themselves so blatantly.
- The verb “kānū” denotes that something has appeared at some point in time. However, when it comes to those mentioned in the verse, where this verb does not exist, such unbelievers have always wronged themselves from time immemorial and everyone has witnessed this./li>
- The Qur’ān usually uses the verb “kānū” for the People of the Book because their wronging themselves through unlawful or sinful acts and/or deviations in thought and belief appeared at some point in their history. However, the other unbelievers who have never be-lieved have been wronging themselves since their age of puberty, which is the beginning of responsibility.
 See also the following verses with slightly different words: at-Tawbah 9:70; an-Nahl 16:118; al-‘Ankabūt 29:40; ar-Rūm 30:9; az-Zukhruf 43:76.