Surah Al-Baqarah Ayat 40-98

{40. O Children of Israel! Remember My favor which I bestowed upon you, and fulfill (your obligations to) My covenant (with you) so that I fulfill (My obligations to) your covenant (with Me), and fear none but Me.

41. And believe in what I have sent down (this Qur’an), confirming that which is with you (the Tawrah and the Injil), and be not the first to disbelieve therein, and buy not with My verses (the Tawrah and the Injil) a small price (i.e. getting a small gain by selling My verses), and fear Me and Me alone.}

Encouraging the Children of Israel to embrace Islam

Allah commanded the Children of Israel to embrace Islam and to follow Muhammad . He also reminded them with the example of their father Israel, Allah’s Prophet Ya’qub, as if saying, “O children of the pious, righteous servant of Allah who obeyed Allah! Be like your father, following the truth.” This statement is similar to one’s saying, “O you son of that generous man! Do this or that” or, “O son of the brave man, engage the strong fighters,” or “O son of the scholar, seek the knowledge,” and so forth. Similarly, Allah said,

“O offspring of those whom We carried (in the ship) with Nuh (Noah)! Verily, he was a grateful servant” (17:3).

Israel is Prophet Ya’qub (Jacob)

Israel is Prophet Ya’qub, for Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded that ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas said, “A group of Jews came to the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and he said to them,

“Do you know that Israel is Jacob?” They said, “Yes, by Allah.” He said,

“O Allah! Be witness.” (Musnad At-Tayalisi no.356)

At-Tabari recorded that ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas said that ‘Israel’ means, ‘the servant of Allah.’ (At-Tabari 1:553)

Allah’s Blessings for the Children of Israel

Allah said, ”Remember My favor which I bestowed upon you”. Mujahid commented, “Allah’s favor that He granted the Jews is that He made water gush from stones, sent down manna and quails for them, and saved them from being enslaved by Pharaoh.” Abu Al-’Aliyah also said, “Allah’s favor mentioned here is His sending Prophets and Messengers among them, and revealing Books to them.” I – Ibn Kathir – say that this Ayah is similar to what Musa said to the Children of Israel,

“O my people! Remember the favor of Allah to you: when He made Prophets among you, made you kings, and gave you what He had not given to any other among the nations (of their time)” (5:20)

meaning, during their time. Also, Muhammad bin Ishaq said that Ibn ‘Abbas said,“Remember My favor which I bestowed upon you,” means, “My support for you and your fathers,” that is saving them from Pharaoh and his people.

Reminding the Children of Israel of Allah’s Covenant with Them

Allah’s statement, “And fulfill (your obligations to) My covenant (with you) so that I fulfill (My obligations to) your covenant (with Me)” means, ‘My covenant that I took from you concerning Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, when he is sent to you, so that I grant you what I promised you if you believe in him and follow him. I will then remove the chains and restrictions that were placed around your necks, because of the errors that you committed.’ Also, Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, “The ‘covenant’ is in reference to Allah’s statement,

“Indeed, Allah took the covenant from the Children of Israel (Jews), and We appointed twelve leaders among them. And Allah said: “I am with you if you perform As-Salah and give Zakah and believe in My Messengers; honor and assist them, and lend a good loan to Allah, verily, I will expiate your sins and admit you to Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise)” (5:12).

Other scholars said, “The covenant is what Allah took from them in the Tawrah, in that, He will send a great Prophet – meaning Muhammad, peace be upon him – from among the offspring of Isma’il, who will be obeyed by all peoples. Therefore, whoever obeys him, then Allah will forgive his sins, enter him into Paradise and award him two rewards.” We should mention here that Ar-Razi mentioned several cases of information brought by the earlier Prophets regarding the coming of Muhammad, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him.

Further, Abu Al-’Aliyah said that, “And fulfill (your obligations to) My covenant (with you)” means, “His covenant with His servants is to embrace Islam and to adhere to it.” Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn ‘Abbas said, “I fulfill My obligations to you” means, ‘I (Allah) will be pleased with you and admit you into Paradise.”’ (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:143)

Ibn ‘Abbas said that Allah’s statement, “And fear Me and Me alone” means, “Fear the torment that I might exert on you, just as I did with your fathers, like the mutation, etc.” This Ayah contains encouragement, followed by warning. Allah first called the Children of Israel, using encouragement, then He warned them, so that they might return to the Truth, follow the Messenger peace be upon him, heed the Qur’an’s prohibitions and commands and believe in its content. Surely, Allah guides whom He wills to the straight path.

Allah said next, “And believe in what I have sent down, confirming that which is with you (the Tawrah and the Injil)” meaning, the Qur’an that Allah sent down to Muhammad peace be upon him, the unlettered Arab Prophet, as bringer of glad tidings, a warner and a light. The Qur’an contains the Truth from Allah and affirms what was revealed beforehand in the Tawrah and the Injil (the Gospel). Abu Al-’Aliyah said that Allah’s statement, “And believe in what I have sent down (this Qur’an), confirming that which is with you (the Tawrah and the Injil)” means, ‘O People of the Book! Believe in what I sent down that conforms to what you have.’ This is because they find the description of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, recorded in the Tawrah and the Injil.” Similar statements were attributed to Mujahid, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and Qatadah. (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:145)

Allah said, “and be not the first to disbelieve therein” Ibn ‘Abbas commented, “Do not become the first to disbelieve in the Qur’an (or Muhammad peace be upon him), while you have more knowledge in it than other people.” Abu Al’Aliyah commented, “Do not become the first to disbelieve in Muhammad, ‘ meaning from among the People of the Book,’ after you hear that he was sent as a Prophet.”’  (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:145) Similar statements were attributed to Al-Hasan, As-Suddi and Ar-Rabi’bin Anas. Ibn Jarir stated that the Ayah (disbelieve therein 2:41) refers to the Qur’an, mentioned earlier in the Ayah, “in what I have sent down (this Qur’an),” Both statements are correct because they are inter-related. For instance, whoever disbelieves in the Qur’an will have disbelieved in Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and whoever disbelieves in Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, will have disbelieved in the Qur’an. Allah’s statement, “the first to disbelieve therein” means, do not become the first among the Children of Israel to disbelieve in it, for there were people from Quraysh and the Arabs in general who rejected Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, before the People of the Book disbelieved in him. We should state here that the Ayah is talking about the Children of Israel in specific, because the Jews in Al-Madinah were the first among the Children of Israel to be addressed by the Qur’an. Hence, their disbelief in the Qur’an means that they were the first among the People of the Book to disbelieve in it.

Allah’s statement, “and buy not with My verses a small price,” means, “Do not substitute faith in My Ayat and belief in My Prophet with the life of this world and its lusts which are minute and bound to end. ” Allah said, “and have Taqwa of Me and Me alone”. Ibn Abi Hatim reported that Talq bin Habib said, “Taqwa is to work in Allah’s obedience, on a light from Allah, hoping in Allah’s mercy, and to avoid Allah’s disobedience, on a light from Allah, fearing Allah’s punishment.” (1:147) Allah’s statement, “and fear Me and Me alone” means, that Allah warns the People of the Book against intentionally hiding the truth and spreading the opposite of it, as well as, against defying the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

{42. And mix not truth with falsehood, nor conceal the truth while you know (the truth).

43. And perform As-Salah, and give Zakah, and bow down along with Ar-Raki’in.}

The Prohibition of hiding the Truth and distorting It with Falsehood

Allah forbade the Jews from intentionally distorting the truth with falsehood and from hiding the truth and spreading falsehood, “And mix not truth with falsehood, nor conceal the truth while you know (the truth)”. So Allah forbade them from two things; He ordered them to make the truth known, as well as explaining it. Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn’Abbas mentioned the Ayah, “And mix not truth with falsehood” and said; “Do not mix the truth with falsehood and the facts with lies.” (At-Tabari 1:569) Qatadah said that, “And mix not truth with falsehood” means, “Do not mix Judaism and Christianity with Islam, “while you know (the truth).” that the religion of Allah is Islam, and that Judaism and Christianity are innovations that did not come from Allah.”  It was reported that Al-Hasan Al-Basri said similarly. (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:147) Also, Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas said that, “nor conceal the truth while you know (the truth).” means, “Do not hide the knowledge that you have of My Messenger and what he was sent with. His description, which you know about, can be found written in the Books that you have.” (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:148) It is possible that it means, “…although you know the tremendous harm that this evil will cause people, misguiding them and leading them to the Fire, because they will follow the falsehood that you mixed with the truth in your claims.”

 ”And perform As-Salat and give Zakah, and bow down along with Ar-Raki’ in.” Muqatil said, “Allah’s statement to the People of the Book, “And perform As-Salah”commands them to perform the prayer behind the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, “and give Zakah” commands them to pay the Zakah to the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and “and bow down along with Ar-Raki’ in” commands them to bow down with those who bow down among the Ummah of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Allah therefore commands the People of the Book to be with, and among the Ummah of Muhammad .” (Al-Kashaf 1:133) In addition, Allah’s statement, “And bow down along with Ar-Raki’in” means, “And be among the believers performing the best deeds they perform, such as, and foremost, the prayer.” Many scholars said that this Ayah (2:43) is proof for the obligation of performing the prayer in congregation (for men only). I will explain this ruling in detail in Kitab Al-Ahkam Al-Kabir, Allah willing.

{44. Enjoin you Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and every act of obedience to Allah) on the people and you forget (to practise it) yourselves, while you recite the Scripture (Tawrah))! Have you then no sense?}

The Condemnation of commanding Others to observe Righteousness while ignoring Righteousness

Allah said, “How is it, O People of the Book, that you command people to perform Al-Birr, which encompasses all types of righteousness, yet forget yourselves and do not heed what you call others to? And you read Allah’s Book (the Tawrah) and know what it promises to those who do not fulfill Allah’s commandments. “Have you then no sense?”of what you are doing to yourselves, so that you might become aware of your slumber and restore your sight from blindness?”’Abdur-Razzaq said that Ma’mar stated that Qatadah commented on Allah’s statement,“Enjoin you Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and every act of obedience to Allah) on the people and you forget (to practise it) yourselves,” “The Children of Israel used to command people to obey Allah, fear Him and perform Al-Birr. Yet, they contradicted these orders, so Allah reminded them of this fact.” As-Suddi said similarly. Ibn Jurayj said that the Ayah, “Enjoin you Al-Birr on the people” “Is about the People of the Book and the hypocrites. They used to command people to pray and fast. However, they did not practice what they commanded others. Allah reminded them of this behavior. So whoever commands people to do righteousness, let him be among the first of them to implement that command.” Also, Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas said that, “And you forget yourselves,” means, “You forget to practice it yourselves,“While you recite the Scripture (Tawrah)! Have you then no sense?” You forbid the people from rejecting the prophethood and the covenant that you have mentioned with you in the Tawrah, while you yourselves have forgoten it, meaning that ‘you have forgotten the covenant that I made with you that you will accept My Messenger. You have breeched My covenant, and rejected what you know is in My Book.”’ (At-Tabari 2:7)

Therefore, Allah admonished the Jews for this behavior and alerted them to the wrongs that they were perpetrating against themselves by ordering righteousness, yet refraining themselves from righteousness. We should state that Allah is not criticizing the People of the Book for ordering righteousness, because enjoining good is a part of righteousness and is an obligation for the scholars. However, the scholar is himself required to heed, and adhere to, what he invites others to. For instance, Prophet Shu’ayb said,

“I wish not, in contradiction to you, to do that which I forbid you. I only desire reform to the best of my power. And my guidance cannot come except from Allah, in Him I trust and unto Him I repent” (11:88).

Therefore, enjoining righteousness and performing righteousness are both required. Neither category is rendered not necessary by the practice of the other, according to the most correct view of the scholars among the Salaf (predecessors) and the Khalaf (scholars who came after the first three generations of Islam).

Imam Ahmad reported that Abu Wa’il said, “While I was riding behind Usamah, he was asked, ‘Why not advise Uthman?’ He said, ‘Do you think that if I advise him I should allow you to hear it? I advise him in secret, and I will not start something that I would hate to be the first to start. I will not say to a man, ‘You are the best man,’ even if he was my leader, after what I heard from the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.’ They said, ‘What did he say?’ He said, ‘I heard him say,

“A man will be brought on the Day of Resurrection and thrown in the Fire. His intestines will fall out and he will continue circling pulling them behind him, just as the donkey goes around the pole. The people of the Fire will go to that man and ask him, ‘What happened to you? Did you not used to command us to do righteous acts and forbid us from committing evil?’ He will say, ‘Yes. I used to enjoin righteousness, but refrained from performing righteousness, and I used to forbid you to perform from evil while I myself did it.”’ (Muslim 4:2291)

Also, Ibrahim An-Nakh’i said, “I hesitate in advising people because of three Ayat:

“Enjoin you Al-Birr on the people and you forget (to practise it) yourselves”

“O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do? Most hateful it is to Allah that you say that which you do not do? (61:2-3).’

And Allah informed us that the Prophet Shu’ayb said,

 ”I wish not, in contradiction to you, to do that which I forbid you. I only desire reform to the best of my power. And my guidance cannot come except from Allah, in Him I trust and unto Him I repent” (11:88).

{45. And seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer) and truly, it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khashi’ in.

46 (They are those) who are certain that they are going to meet their Lord, and that unto Him they are going to return.}

The Support that comes with Patience and Prayer

Allah commanded His servants to use patience and prayer to acquire the good of this life and the Hereafter. Muqatil bin Hayan said that this Ayah means, “Utilize patience and the obligatory prayer in seeking the Hereafter. As for patience (here), they say that it means fasting.”  (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:154) There are similar texts reported from Mujahid. Al-Qurtubi and other scholars commented, “This is why Ramadan is called the month of patience,” (Al-Qurtubi 1:372) as is mentioned in the Hadith literature. It was also said that ‘patience’ in the Ayah means, refraining from evil, and this is why ‘patience’ was mentioned along with practicing acts of worship, especially and foremost, the prayer. Also, Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that `Umar bin Al-Khattab said, “There are two types of patience: good patience when the disaster strikes, and a better patience while avoiding the prohibitions of Allah.” Ibn Abi Hatim said that Al-Hasan Al-Basri was reported to have said similarly. (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:155)

Allah then said,“And As-Salah (the prayer).” The prayer is one of the best means of assistance for firmly adhering to Allah’s orders, just as Allah said;

‘Recite (O Muhammad ) what has been revealed to you of the Book (the Qur’an), and perform As-Salah. Verily, As-Salah (the prayer) prevents from Al-Fahsha’ (i.e. great sins of every kind), and Al-Munkar and the remembrance of (praising) of (you by) Allah is greater indeed” (29:45).

The personal pronoun in the Ayah, “And truly, it is extremely heavy and hard”refers to prayer, as Mujahid is reported to have said, and it was also the choice of Ibn Jarir. It is possible that the pronoun might be referring to the advice – to observe patience and the prayer – mentioned in the same Ayah. Similarly, Allah said about Qarun (Korah),

“But those who had been given (religious) knowledge said: “Woe to you! The reward of Allah (in the Hereafter) is better for those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and this, none shall attain except As-Sabirun (the patient).” (28:80).

Also, Allah said,

 ”The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend. But none is granted it (the above quality) except those who are patient – and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion (of happiness in the Hereafter and) in this world.” (41:34-35)

meaning, this advice is only implemented by those who are patient and the fortunate. In any case, Allah’s statement here means, prayer is ‘heavy and burdensome’, “except for Al-Khashi’in.” Ibn Abi Talhah reported that Ibn ‘Abbas commented on this Ayah, “They (Al-Khashi’in) are those who believe in what Allah has revealed.” (At-Tabari 2:16)

Allah’s statement,“They are those who are certain that they are going to meet their Lord, and that unto Him they are going to return” continues the subject that was started in the previous Ayah. Therefore, the prayer, or the advice to observe it is heavy, “except for Al-Khashi`in. (They are those) who are certain (Yazunnuna) that they are going to meet their Lord,” meaning, they know that they will be gathered and face their Lord on the Day of Resurrection,“and that unto Him they are going to return.”meaning, their affairs are all subject to His will and He justly decides what He wills. Since they are certain that they will be returned to Allah and be reckoned, it is easy for them to perform the acts of obedience and refrain from the prohibitions. Ibn Jarir commented on Allah’s statement, “Yazunnuna that they are going to meet their Lord” ”The Arabs call certainty as well as doubt, Zann. There are similar instances in the Arabic language where a subject as well as its opposite share the same name. For instance, Allah said,

 ”And the Mujrimun (criminals, polytheists, sinners), shall see the Fire and Zannu (apprehend) that they have to fall therein”(18:53).

It is recorded in the Sahih that on the Day of Resurrection, Allah will say to a servant,“Have I not allowed you to marry, honored you, made the horses and camels subservient to you and allowed you to become a chief and a master?” He will say, “Yes.” Allah will say, “Did you have Zann (think) that you will meet Me?” He will say, “No.” Allah will say, “This Day, I will forget you, just as you forgot Me.” (Muslim 4:2279) If Allah wills, we will further elaborate on this subject when we explain Allah’s statement,

 ”They have forgotten Allah, so He has forgotten them” (9:67).

{47. O Children of Israel! Remember My favor which I bestowed upon you and that I preferred you over the ‘Alamin (nations)}

Reminding the Children of Israel that They were preferred above the Other Nations

Allah reminds the Children of Israel of the favors that He granted their fathers and grandfathers, how He showed preference to them by sending them Messengers from among them and revealing Books to them, more so than any of the other previous nations. Similarly, Allah said,

 ”And We chose them (the Children of Israel) over the ‘Alamin, (nations) with knowledge.} (44:32) and,

“And (remember) when Musa (Moses) said to his people: “O my people! Remember the favour of Allah to you: when He made Prophets among you, made you kings, honored you above the ‘Alamin (nations).” (5:20).

Abu Ja’far Ar-Razi reported that Ar-Rabi’ bin Anas said that Abu Al-’Aliyah said that Allah’s statement, “and that I preferred you over the ‘Alamin” means, “The kingship, Messengers and Books that were granted to them, instead of granting such to the other kingdoms that existed during their time, for every period there is a nation.” (At-Tabari 2:24) It was also reported that Mujahid, Ar-Rab’bin Anas, Qatadah and Isma’ il bin Abi Khalid said similarly. (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:158)

The Ummah of Muhammad is Better than the Children of Israel

This is the only way the Ayah can be understood, because this Ummah is better than theirs, as Allah said;

“You are the best of people ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin good and forbid evil, and you believe in Allah. And had the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) believed, it would have been better for them” (3:110).

Also, the Musnad and Sunan Collections of Hadith recorded that M’awiyah bin Haydah Al- Qushayri said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said,

“You (Muslims) are the seventieth nation, but you are the best and most honored of them according to Allah.” (Ahmad 5:3)

There are many Hadiths on this subject, and they will be mentioned when we discuss Allah’s statement,

 ”You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind” (3:110).

 {48. And fear a Day (of Judgement) when a person shall not avail another, nor will intercession be accepted from him, nor will compensation be taken from him, nor will they be helped.}

After Allah reminded the Children of Israel of the favors that He has granted them, He warned them about the duration of the torment which He will punish them with on the Day of Resurrection. He said, “When a person shall not avail another” meaning, on that Day, no person shall be of any help to another. Similarly, Allah said,

 ”And no bearer of burdens shall bear another’s burden” (35:18)

 ”O mankind! Have Taqwa of your Lord (by keeping your duty to Him and avoiding all evil), and fear a Day when no father can avail aught for his son, nor a son avail aught for his father” (31: 33).

This indeed should serve as a great warning that both the father and the son will not be of help to each other on that Day.

Neither Intercession, Ransom, or Assistance will be accepted on behalf of the Disbelievers

Allah said, “And fear a Day” meaning, the Day of Resurrection, “nor will intercession be accepted from him” meaning, from the disbelievers. Similarly, Allah said,

“So no intercession of intercessors will be of any use to them” (74:48)

and described the people of the Fire saying,

“Now we have no intercessors. Nor a close friend (to help us)” (26:100-101)

Allah’s statement here (2:48) “nor will compensation be taken from him” means, that Allah does not accept the disbelievers to ransom themselves. Similarly, Allah said,

“Verily, those who disbelieved, and died while they were disbelievers, the (whole) earth full of gold will not be accepted from anyone of them even if they offered it as a ransom” (3:91)

“Verily, those who disbelieve, if they had all that is in the earth, and as much again therewith to ransom themselves from the torment on the Day of Resurrection, it would never be accepted of them, and theirs would be a painful torment” (5:36)

“So this Day no ransom shall be taken from you (hypocrites), nor of those who disbelieved. Your abode is the Fire. That is your Mawla (friend – proper place)” (57:15).

Allah stated that if the people do not believe in His Messenger and follow what He sent him with, then when they meet Him on the Day of Resurrection, after remaining on the path of disbelief, their family lineage and/or the intercession of their masters will not help them at all. It will not be accepted of them, even if they paid the earth’s fill of gold as ransom. Similarly, Allah said,

“Before a Day comes when there will be no bargaining, nor friendship, nor intercession” (2:254) and,

“On which there will be neither mutual bargaining nor befriending” (19:31)

Allah’s statement next, “nor will they be helped” means, “no person shall get angry – or anxious – on their behalf and offer them any help, or try to save them from Allah’s punishment.” As stated earlier on that Day, neither the relative, nor persons of authority will feel pity for the disbelievers, nor will any ransom be accepted for them. Consequently, they will receive no help from others and they will be helpless themsleves. Allah said,

“While He (Allah) grants refuge (or protection), but none grants refuge from Him” (23:88)

“So on that Day none will punish as He will punish. And none will bind (the wicked, disbelievers and polytheists) as He will bind” (89:25-26)

 ”What is the matter with you? Why do you not help one another (as you used to do in the world)” Nay, but that Day they shall surrender” (37:25-26) and,

“Then why did those whom they had taken for alihah (gods) besides Allah, as a way of approach (to Allah) not help them Nay, but they vanished completely from them” (46:28)

Also, Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn ‘Abbas said that Allah’s statement,

“What is the matter with you? Why do you not help one another” (37:25)

means, “This Day, you shall not have a refuge from Us. Not this Day.” Ibn Jarir said that Allah’s statement, “nor will they be helped” meaning, on that Day, they shall neither be helped by any helper, nor shall anyone intercede on their behalf. No repeal or ransom will be accepted for them, all courtesy towards them will have ceased, along with any helpful intercession. No type of help or cooperation will be available for them on that Day. The judgment will, on that Day, be up to the Most Great, the Most Just, against whom no intercessor or helper can ever assist. He will then award the evil deed its kind and will multiply the good deeds. This is similar to Allah’s statement,

“But stop them, verily, they are to be questioned. ‘What is the matter with you? Why do you not help one another?’ Nay, but that Day they shall surrender” (37:24-26)

{49. And (remember) when We delivered you from Fir`awn’s (Pharaoh) people, who were afflicting you with a horrible torment, killing your sons and sparing your women, and therein was a mighty trial from your Lord.

50. And (remember) when We separated the sea for you and saved you and drowned Fir’awn’s (Pharaoh) people while you were watching.}

The Children of Israel were saved from Pharaoh and His Army Who drowned

Allah said to the Children of Israel, ‘Remember My favor on you “And (remember) when We delivered you from Fir’awn’s (Pharaoh) people, who were afflicting you with a horrible torment,” meaning, ‘I-Allah-saved you from them and delivered you from their hands in the company of Musa, after they subjected you to horrible torture.’ This favor came after the cursed Pharaoh had a dream in which he saw a fire emerge from Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem), and then the fire entered the houses of the Coptics in Egypt, with the exception of the Children of Israel. Its purport was that his kingship would be toppled by a man among the Children of Israel. It was also said that some of Pharaoh’s entourage said that the Children of Israel were expecting a man among them to arise who would establish a state for them. We will mention the Hadith on this subject when we explain Surat Ta Ha (20), Allah willing. After the dream, Pharaoh ordered that every newborn male among the Children of Israel be killed and that the girls be left alone. He also commanded that the Children of Israel be given tasks of hard labor and assigned the most humiliating jobs.

The torment here refers to killing the male infants. In Surat Ibrahim (14) this meaning is clearly mentioned,

“Who were afflicting you with horrible torment, and were slaughtering your sons and letting your women live” (14:6).

We will explain this Ayah in the beginning of Surat Al-Qasas (28), Allah willing, and our reliance and trust are with Him.

The meaning of, “who were afflicting you” is, “They humiliated you,” as Abu ‘Ubaydah stated. It was also said that it means, “They used to exaggerate in tormenting you” according to Al-Qurtubi. As for Allah saying, “killing your sons and sparing your women” that explains His statement, “who were afflicting you with horrible torment” then it explains the meaning of the favour He gave them, as mentioned in His statement, “Remember My favour which I bestowed upon you”. As for what Allah said in Surat Ibrahim,

“And remind them of the annals of Allah” (14:5)

meaning, the favors and blessing He granted them, He then said,

“Who were afflicting you with horrible torment, and were slaughtering your sons and letting your women live.” (14:6)

So Allah mentioned saving their children from being slaughtered in order to remind them of the many favors that He granted them. We should state here that ‘Pharaoh’ (Fir’awn) is a title that was given to every disbelieving king who ruled Egypt, whether from the ‘Amaliq (Canaanites) or otherwise, just as Caesar (Qaysar) is the title of the disbelieving kings who ruled Rome and Damascus. Also, Khosrau (Kisra) is the title of the kings who ruled Persia, while Tubb’a is the title of the kings of Yemen, and the kings of Abyssinia (Ethiopia) were called Negus (An-Najashi).

Allah said, “And therein was a mighty trial from your Lord.” Ibn Jarir commented that this part of the Ayah means, “Our saving your fathers from the torment that they suffered by the hand of Pharaoh, is a great blessing from your Lord.” We should mention that in the blessing there a is test, the same as with hardship, for Allah said,

“And We shall make a trial of you with evil and with good” (21:35) and,

“And We tried them with good (blessings) and evil (calamities) in order that they might turn (to obey Allah.)” (7:168).

Allah’s statement next, “And (remember) when We separated the sea for you and saved you and drowned Fir’awn’s (Pharaoh) people while you were watching” means, ‘After We saved you from Fir’awn and you escaped with Musa; Fir’awn went out in your pursuit and We parted the sea for you.’ Allah mentioned this story in detail, as we will come to know, Allah willing. One of the shortest references to this story is Allah’s statement, “And saved you” meaning, “We saved you from them, drowning them while you watched, bringing relief to your hearts and humiliation to your enemy.”

Fasting the Day of  ’Ashura

It was reported that the day the Children of Israel were saved from Fir’awn was called the day of ‘Ashura’. Imam Ahmad reported that Ibn ‘Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah came to Al- Madinah and found that the Jews were fasting the day of ‘Ashura’. He asked them, “What is this day that you fast?” They said, “This is a good day during which Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemy, and Musa used to fast this day.” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said,

“I have more right to Musa than you have.”

So the Messenger of Allah fasted that day and ordered that it be fasted. (Muslim 2:796)

{51. And (remember) when We appointed for Musa (Moses) forty nights, and (in his absence) you took the calf (for worship), and you were Zalimun (polytheists and wrongdoers).

52. Then after that We forgave you so that you might be grateful.

53. And (remember) when We gave Musa the Scripture (the Tawrah)) and the criterion (of right and wrong) so that you may be guided aright.}

The Children of Israel worshipped the Calf

Allah then said, “Remember My favor on you when I forgave you for worshipping the calf.” This happened after Musa went to the meeting place with his Lord at the end of that period which was forty days. These forty days were mentioned in Surat Al-A’raf, when Allah said,

“And We appointed for Musa thirty nights and added (to the period) ten (more)” (7:142).

It was said that these days were during the month of Dhul-Q’dah plus the first ten days in Dhul-Hijjah, after the Children of Israel were delivered from Fir`awn and they safely crossed the sea. Allah’s statement, “And (remember) when We gave Musa the Scripture” means, the Tawrah, “And the criterion” that is that which differentiates between truth and falsehood, guidance and deviation. “So that you may be guided aright”, after escaping the sea, as another Ayah in Surat Al-A’raf clearly stated,

“And indeed We gave Musa – after We had destroyed the generations of old – the Scripture (the Tawrah) as an enlightenment for mankind, and a guidance and a mercy, that they might remember (or receive admonition)”(28:43).

{54. And (remember) when Musa said to his people: “O my people! Verily, you have wronged yourselves by worshipping the calf. So turn in repentance to your Creator and kill yourselves (the innocent kill the wrongdoers among you), that will be better for you with your Creator.” Then He accepted your repentance. Truly, He is the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.}

The Children of Israel kill each other in Repentance

This was the repentance required from the Children of Israel for worshipping the calf. Commenting on Allah’s statement, “And (remember) when Musa said to his people: “O my people! Verily, you have wronged yourselves by worshipping the calf…”, Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, “When their hearts thought of worshipping the calf,

“And when they regretted and saw that they had gone astray, they (repented and) said: “If our Lord does not have mercy upon us and forgive us” (7:149).

This is when Musa said to them,“O my people! Verily, you have wronged yourselves by worshipping the calf….” Abu ‘Al- ‘Aliyah, Sa’id bin Jubayr and Ar-Rabi’ bin Anas commented on, “So turn in repentance to your Bari’” that it means, “To your Creator.” Allah’s statement, “to your Bari’ (Creator)” alerts the Children of Israel to the enormity of their error and means, “Repent to He Who created you after you associated others with Him in worship.” An-Nasa’i, Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim recorded Ibn ‘Abbas saying, “Allah told the Children of Israel that their repentance would be to slay by the sword every person they meet, be he father or son. They should not care whom they kill. Those were guilty whom Musa and Harun were not aware of their guilt, they admitted their sin and did as they were ordered. So Allah forgave both the killer and the one killed.” This is part of the Hadith about the trials that we will mention in Surat Ta Ha, (20) Allah willing.

Ibn Jarir narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas said, “Musa said to his people, “So turn in repentance to your Creator and kill each other (the innocent kill the wrongdoers among you), that will be better for you with your Creator.” Then He accepted your repentance. Truly, He is the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.”Allah ordered Musa to command his people to kill each other. He ordered those who worshipped the calf to sit down and those who did not worship the calf to stand holding knives in their hands. When they started killing them, a great darkness suddenly overcame them. After the darkness lifted, they had killed seventy thousand of them. Those who were killed among them were forgiven, and those who remained alive were also forgiven.” (At-Tabari 2:73)

 {55. And (remember) when you said: “O Musa! We shall never believe in you until we see Allah plainly.” But you were seized with a bolt of lightning while you were looking.

56. Then We raised you up after your death, so that you might be grateful.}

The Best among the Children of Israel ask to see Allah; their subsequent Death and Resurrection

Allah said, ‘Remember My favor on you for resurrecting you after you were seized with lightning when you asked to see Me directly, which neither you nor anyone else can bear or attain.’ This was said by Ibn Jurayj. Ibn ‘Abbas said that the Ayah, “And (remember) when you said: “O Musa ! We shall never believe in you until we see Allah plainly.” means, “Publicly”, “So that we gaze at Allah.” Also, ‘Urwah bin Ruwaym said that Allah’s statement, While you were looking” means, “Some of them were struck with lightning while others were watching.” (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:172) Allah resurrected those, and struck the others with lightning. As-Suddi commented on, “But you were seized with a bolt of lightning” saying; “They died, and Musa stood up crying and supplicating to Allah, ‘O Lord! What should I say to the Children of Israel when I go back to them after You destroyed the best of them, “If it had been Your will, You could have destroyed them and me before; would You destroy us for the deeds of the foolish ones among us)’ Allah revealed to Musa that these seventy men were among those who worshipped the calf. Afterwards, Allah brought them back to life one man at a time, while the rest of them were watching how Allah was bringing them back to life. That is why Allah’s said, “Then We raised you up after your death, so that you might be grateful.” Ar-Rabi’ bin Anas said, “Death was their punishment, and they were resurrected after they died so they could finish out their lives.” Qatadah said similarly.

Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam commented on this Ayah, “Musa returned from meeting with his Lord carrying the Tablets on which He wrote the Tawrah. He found that they had worshipped the calf in his absence. Consequently, he commanded them to kill themselves, and they complied, and Allah forgave them. He said to them, ‘These Tablets have Allah’s Book, containing what He commanded you and what He forbade for you.’ They said, ‘Should we believe this statement because you said it By Allah, we will not believe until we see Allah in the open, until He shows us Himself and says: This is My Book, therefore, adhere to it. Why does He not talk to us as He talked to you, O, Musa”’ Then he (Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd) recited Allah’s statement, “We shall never believe in you until we see Allah plainly” and said, “So Allah’s wrath fell upon them, a thunderbolt struck them, and they all died. Then Allah brought them back to life after He killed them.” Then he (Abdur-Rahman) recited Allah’s statement, “Then We raised you up after your death, so that you might be grateful”, and said, “Musa said to them, ‘Take the Book of Allah.’ They said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘What is the matter with you’ They said, ‘The problem is that we died and came back to life.’ He said, ‘Take the Book of Allah.’ They said, ‘No.’ So Allah sent some angels who made the mountain topple over them.”

This shows that the Children of Israel were required to fulfill the commandments after they were brought back to life. However, Al-Mawardy said that there are two opinions about this matter. The first opinion is that since the Children of Israel witnessed these miracles, they were compelled to believe, so they did not have to fulfill the commandments. The second opinion states that they were required to adhere to the commandments, so that no responsible adult is free of such responsibilities. Al-Qurtubi said that this is what is correct, because, he said, although the Children of Israel witnessed these tremendous calamities and incidents, that did not mean that they were not responsible for fulfilling the commandments any more. Rather they are responsible for that, and this is clear. Allah knows best.

 {57. And We shaded you with clouds and sent down on you Al-Manna and the quail, (saying): “Eat of the good lawful things We have provided for you,” (but they rebelled). And they did not wrong Us but they wronged themselves.}

The Shade, the Manna and the Quail

After Allah mentioned the calamities that He saved the Children of Israel from, He mentioned the favors that He granted them, saying, “And We shaded you with clouds”. This Ayah mentions the white clouds that provided shade for the Children of Israel, protecting them from the sun’s heat during their years of wandering. In the Hadith about the trials,  An-Nasai recorded Ibn Abbas saying, “Allah shaded the Children of Israel with clouds during the years of wandering”. Al-Hasan and Qatadah said that, “And We shaded you with clouds” “This happened when they were in the desert and the clouds shielded them from the sun.” Ibn Jarir said that several scholars said that the type of cloud the Ayah mentioned, “was cooler and better than the type we know.” (At-Tabari 2:91)

‘Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn ‘Abbas commented on Allah’s statement , “And sent down on you Al-Manna”, The manna used to descend to them to the trees, and they used to eat whatever they wished of it. Also, Qatadah said, “The manna, which was whiter than milk and sweeter than honey, used to rain down on the Children of Israel, just as the snow falls, from dawn until sunrise. One of them would collect enough for that particular day, for if it remained more than that, it would spoil. On the sixth day, Friday, one would collect enough for the sixth and the seventh day, which was the Sabbath during which one would not leave home to seek his livelihood, or for anything else. All this occurred in the wilderness.” (Ibn Abi Hatim (1:176) The type of manna that we know provides sufficient food when eaten alone, because it is nutritious and sweet. When manna is mixed with water, it becomes a sweet drink. It also changes composition when mixed with other types of food. However, this is not the only type. The evidence to this fact is that Al-Bukhari narrated, that Sa’id bin Zayd said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said,

“Kam’ah (truffles) is a type of manna, and its liquid is a remedy for the eyes.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:14)

At-Tirmidhi recorded Abu Hurayrah saying that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said,

 ”The ‘Ajwah (pressed, dried date) is from Paradise and it cures poison, Al-Kam’ah (truffles) is a form of manna, and its liquid heals the eye.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 6:233)

As for the quail (Salwa) in question, ‘Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn ‘Abbas said, “The (Salwa) is a bird that looks like the quail.” (At-Tabari 2:96)`Ikrimah said that the Salwa is a bird in Paradise about the size of a sparrow. (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:179) Qatadah said “The Salwa is a bird that is similar to a sparrow. During that time, an Israelite could catch as many quails as was sufficient for that particular day, otherwise the meat would spoil. On the sixth day, Friday, he would collect what is enough for the sixth and the seventh day, the Sabbath, during which one was not allowed to depart his home to seek anything.” (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:179)

Allah said,

“Eat of the good lawful things We have provided for you” (7:160)

this form of command is a simple order of allowance, guiding to what is good. Allah said,“And they did not wrong Us but they wronged themselves” means, ‘We commanded them to eat from what We gave them, and to perform the acts of worship (but they rebelled).’ This Ayah is similar to Allah’s statement,

“Eat of the provision of your Lord, and be grateful to Him” (34:15).

Yet, the Children of Israel rebelled, disbelieved and committed injustice against themselves, even though they saw the clear signs, tremendous miracles and extraordinary events.

The Virtue of Muhammad’s Companions over the Companions of all Other Prophets

Here it is important to point out the virtue of Muhammad’s Companions over the companions of the other Prophets. This includes firmness in the religion, patience and the lack of arrogance, may Allah be pleased with them. Although the Companions accompanied the Prophet in his travels and battles, such as during the battle of Tabuk, in intense heat and hardship, they did not ask for a miracle, though this was easy for the Prophet by Allah’s leave. And when the Companions became hungry, they merely asked the Prophet – to invoke Allah – for an increase in the amount of food. They collected whatever food they had and brought it to the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and he asked Allah to bless it, told each of them to take some food, and they filled every pot they had. Also, when they needed rain, the Prophet asked Allah to send down rain, and a rain cloud came. They drank, gave water to their camels and filled their water skins. When they looked around, they found that the cloud had only rained on their camp. This is the best example of those who were willing to accept Allah’s decision and follow the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

 {58. And (remember) when We said: “Enter this town (Jerusalem) and eat bountifully therein with pleasure and delight wherever you wish, and enter the gate in prostration (or bowing with humility) and say: ‘Forgive us,’ and We shall forgive you your sins and shall increase (reward) for the good-doers.”

59. But those who did wrong changed the word from that which had been told to them for another, so We sent upon the wrongdoers Rijz (a punishment) from the heaven because of their rebellion.}

The Jews were Rebellious instead of Appreciative when They gained Victory

Allah admonished the Jews for avoiding Jihad and not entering the holy land as they had been ordered to do when they came from Egypt with Musa. They were also commanded to fight the disbelieving ‘Amaliq (Canaanites) dwelling in the holy land at that time. But they did not want to fight, because they were weak and exhausted. Allah punished them by causing them to become lost, and to continue wandering, as Allah has stated in Surah Al-Ma’idah (5). The correct opinion about the meaning of, ‘the holy land’ mentioned here is that it was Bayt Al- Maqdis (Jerusalem), as As-Suddi, Ar-Rabi’bin Anas, Qatadah and Abu Muslim Al-Asfahani, as well as others have stated. Musasaid,

“O people! Enter the holy land which Allah has assigned to you and turn not back (in flight)” (5:21)

However, some scholars said that the holy land is Jericho, (Ariha’) and this opinion was mentioned from Ibn ‘Abbas and ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd. After the years of wandering ended forty years later, in the company of Yusha’ (Joshua) bin Nun, Allah allowed the Children of Israel to conquer the holy land on the eve of a Friday. On that day, the sun was kept from setting for a little more time, until victory was achieved. When the Children of Israel conquered the holy land, they were commanded to enter its gate while, (prostrating) in appreciation to Allah for making them victorious, triumphant, returning them to their land and saving them from being lost and wandering. Al-’Awfi said that Ibn ‘Abbas said that, “and enter the gate Sujjadan” means, “While bowing”. Ibn Jarir reported Ibn ‘Abbas saying, “and enter the gate in prostration” means, “Through a small door while bowing.” Al-Hakim narrated it, and Ibn Abi Hatim added, “And they went through the door backwards!” Al-Hasan Al-Basri said that they were ordered to prostrate on their faces when they entered the city, but Ar-Razi discounted this explanation. It was also said that the Sujud mentioned here means, ‘submissiveness’, for actually entering while prostrating is not possible.

Khasif said that ‘Ikrimah said that Ibn ‘Abbas said, “The door mentioned here was facing the Qiblah.” Ibn ‘Abbas, Mujahid, As-Suddi, Qatadah and Ad-Dahhak said that the door is the door of Hittah in Iylya’, which is Jerusalem. Ar-Razi also reported that some of them said that it was a door in the direction of the Qiblah. Khasif said that ‘Ikrimah said that Ibn ‘Abbas said that the Children of Israel entered the door sideways. As-Suddi said that Abu Sa`id Al-Azdy said that Abu Al-Kanud said that ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud said that they were commanded to, “enter the gate in prostration (or bowing with humility)”but instead, they entered while their heads were raised in defiance.

Allah said next, “and say: ‘Hittah’“. Ibn ‘Abbas commented, “Seek Allah’s forgiveness.” Al-Hasan and Qatadah said that it means, “Say, ‘Relieve us from our errors.” “and We shall forgive you your sins and shall increase (reward) for the good-doers” Here is the reward for fulfilling Allah’s commandment. This Ayah means, “If you implement what We commanded you, We will forgive your sins and multiply your good deeds.” In summary, upon achieving victory, the Children of Israel were commanded to submit to Allah in tongue and deed and, to admit to their sins and seek forgiveness for them, to be grateful to Allah for the blessings He gave them, hastening to do the deeds that Allah loves, as He said,

“When there comes the help of Allah (to you, O Muhammad against your enemies) and the conquest (of Makkah). And you see that the people enter Allah’s religion (Islam) in crowds. So glorify the praises of your Lord, and ask His forgiveness. Verily, He is the One Who accepts the repentance.”(110).

Allah said, “But those who did wrong changed the word from that which had been told to them for another” Al-Bukhari recorded Abu Hurayrah saying that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said,

 ”The Children of Israel were commanded to enter the door while bowing and to say `Hittah’. Yet, they entered the door on their behinds, distorting the words. They said; `Habbah’ (seed) in Sha’irah (a hair)” (Fath Al-Bari 8:14)

The summary of what the scholars have said about this subject is that the Children of Israel distorted Allah’s command to them to submit to Him in tongue and deed. They were commanded to enter the city while bowing down, but they entered while sliding on their rear ends and raising their heads! They were commanded to say, ‘Hittah’ meaning, “Relieve us from our errors and sins.” However, they mocked this command and said, “Hintah (grain seed) in Sha’irah (barley).” This demonstrates the worst type of rebellion and disobedience, and it is why Allah released His anger and punishment upon them, all because of their sinning and defying His commands.

Allah said, “So We sent upon the wrongdoers Rijz (a punishment) from the heaven because of their rebellion.” Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas said, “Every word in Allah’s Book that says Rijz means, ‘a punishment.”’ Mujahid, Abu Malik, As-Suddi, Al-Hasan and Qatadah were reported to have said that Rijz means ‘Torment.’ Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Sa’d bin Malik, Usamah bin Zayd and Khuzaymah bin Thabit said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said,

“The plague is a Rijz, a punishment with which Allah punished those before you.” (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:186)

In addition, the basis of this Hadith was collected in the Two Sahihs,

 ”If you hear of the plague in a land, then do not enter it.”(Fath Al-Bari 10:189 Muslim 4:1739)

Ibn Jarir recorded Usamah bin Zayd saying that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said,

“This calamity and sickness (i.e. the plague) is a Rijz, a punishment with which some nations who were before you were punished.” (At-Tabari 2:116)

{60. And (remember) when Musa asked for water for his people, We said: “Strike the stone with your stick.” Then gushed forth therefrom twelve springs. Each (group of) people knew its own place for water. “Eat and drink of that which Allah has provided and do not act corruptly, making mischief on the earth.”}

Twelve Springs gush forth

Allah said, “Remember My favor on you when I answered the supplication of your Prophet, Musa, when he asked Me to provide you with water. I made the water available for you, making it gush out through a stone. Twelve springs burst out of that stone, a designated spring for each of your tribes. You eat from the manna and the quails and drink from the water that I provided for you, without any effort or hardship for you. So worship the One Who did this for you. “And do not act corruptly, making mischief on the earth” meaning, “Do not return the favor by committing acts of disobedience that cause favors to disappear.”

Ibn ‘Abbas said that the Children of Israel, “Had a square stone that Musa was commanded to strike with his staff and, as a result, twelve springs burst out of that stone, three on each side. Each tribe was, therefore, designated a certain spring, and they used to drink from their springs. They never had to travel from their area, they would find the same bounty in the same manner they had in the first area.” (At-Tabari 2:120) This narration is part of the long Hadith that An-Nasa’i, Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim recorded about the trials.

This story is similar to the story in Surat Al-‘Araf (7) although the latter was revealed in Makkah. In Surat Al-A’raf, Allah used the third person when He mentioned the Children of Israel to the Prophet and narrated what He favored them with. In this Surat Al-Baqarah, which was revealed in Al-Madinah, Allah directed His Speech at the Children of Israel. Further, Allah said in Surat Al-A’raf,

“And there gushed forth out of it twelve springs” (7:160)

describing what first occurred when the water begins to gush out. In the Ayah in Surat Al-Baqarah, Allah described what happened later on, meaning when the water burst out in full force. Allah knows best.

{61. And (remember) when you said, “O Musa ! We cannot endure one kind of food. So invoke your Lord for us to bring forth for us of what the earth grows, its herbs, its cucumber its Fum, its lentils and its onions.” He said, “Would you exchange that which is better for that which is lower? Go you down to any town and you shall find what you want!”}

The Children of Israel preferred Foods inferior to Manna and Quails

Allah said, “And remember My favor on you when I sent down the manna and quails to you, a good, pure, beneficial, easily acquired food. And remember your ungratefulness for what We granted you. Remember how you asked Musa to exchange this type of food for an inferior type that consists of vegetation, and so forth.” Al-Hasan Al-Basri said about the Children of Israel, “They were bored and impatient with the type of food they were provided. They also remembered the life they used to live, when their diet consisted of lentils, onions, garlic and herbs.” They said, “O Musa ! We cannot endure one kind of food. So invoke your Lord for us to bring forth for us of what the earth grows, its herbs, its cucumbers, its Fum, its lentils and its onions”. They said, “One kind of food” meaning, the manna and quails, because they ate the same food day after day. The Ayah mentioned lentils, onions and herbs, which are all known types of foods. As for the Fum, Ibn Mas’ud read it, Thum (garlic). Also, Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Al-Hasan said about the Ayah,“Its Fum”, “Ibn ‘Abbas said that Fum means, garlic.” (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:193) He also said that the expression, ‘Fumu-lanna’ means, ‘bake for us’, according to the languages of old. Ibn Jarir commented, “If this is true, then ‘Fum’ is one of the words whose pronounciation were altered, the letter ‘fa’ was replaced by the letter ‘tha’, since they are similar in sound.” (At-Tabari 2:130) And Allah knows best. Others said that Fum is wheat, the kind used for bread. Al-Bukhari said, “Some of them said that Fum includes all grains or seeds that are eaten.”

Allah’s statement, “He said, “Would you exchange that which is better for that which is lower” criticized the Jews for asking for inferior foods, although they were living an easy life, eating tasty, beneficial and pure food. Allah’s statement, “Go you down to any Misr” means, ‘any city’, as Ibn ‘Abbas said. Ibn Jarir also reported that Abu Al’Aliyah and Ar-Rabi’bin Anas said that the Ayah refers to Misr, the Egypt of Fir’awn. (At-Tabari 2:134) The truth is that the Ayah means any city, as Ibn ‘Abbas and other scholars stated. Therefore, the meaning of Musa’s statement to the Children of Israel becomes, “What you are asking for is easy, for it is available in abundance in any city that you might enter. So since what you asked for is available in all of the villages and cities, I will not ask Allah to provide us with it, especially when it is an inferior type of food. ” This is why Musa said to them, “Would you exchange that which is better for that which is lower? Go you down to any town and you shall find what you want!” Since their request was the result of boredom and arrogance and since fulfilling it was unnecessary, their request was denied. Allah knows best .

{61. And they were covered with humiliation and misery, and they drew on themselves the wrath of Allah. That was because they used to disbelieve in the Ayat (proofs, evidence) of Allah and killed the Prophets wrongfully. That was because they disobeyed and used to transgress the bounds (in their disobedience to Allah, i.e. commit crimes and sins.)}

Covering the Jews in Humiliation and Misery

Allah said, “And they were covered with humiliation and misery”. This Ayah indicates that the Children of Israel were plagued with humiliation, and that this will continue, meaning that it will never cease. They will continue to suffer humiliation at the hands of all who interact with them, along with the disgrace that they feel inwardly. Al-Hasan commented, “Allah humiliated them, and they shall have no protector. Allah put them under the feet of the Muslims, who appeared at a time when the Majus (Zoroastrians) were taking the Jizyah (tax) from the Jews.” Also, Abu Al-‘Aliyah, Ar-Rabi’bin Anas and As-Suddi said that ‘misery’ used in the Ayah means, ‘poverty.’ ‘Atiyah Al-‘Awfi said that ‘misery’ means, ‘paying the tilth (tax).’ In addition, Ad- Dahhak commented on Allah’s statement, “and they drew on themselves the wrath of Allah”, “They deserved Allah’s anger.” Also, Ibn Jarir said that,“and they drew on themselves the wrath of Allah” means, “They went back with the wrath”. Similarly, Allah said,

“Verily, I intend to let you draw my sin on yourself as well as yours” (5:29)

meaning, ‘You will end up carrying my, and your, mistakes instead of me’. Thus, the meaning of the Ayah becomes, ‘They went back carrying Allah’s anger; Allah’s wrath descended on them; they deserved Allah’s anger.”’ Allah’s statement, “That was because they used to disbelieve in the Ayat (proofs, evidences, etc.) of Allah and killed the Prophets wrongfully” means, “This is what We rewarded the Children of Israel with: humiliation and misery.” Allah’s anger that descended on the Children of Israel was a part of the humiliation they earned, because of their defiance of the truth, disbelief in Allah’s Ayat and belittling the carriers of Allah’s Law i.e. the Prophets and their following. The Children of Israel rejected the Messengers and even killed them. Surely, there is no form of disbelief worse than disbelieving in Allah’s Ayat and murdering the Prophets of Allah.

Meaning of Kibr

Similarly, in a Hadith recorded in the Two Sahihs the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

 “‘Kibr, is refusing the truth and degrading (belittling) people.” (Muslim 1:93)

Imam Ahmad recorded, ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud saying that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“The people who will receive the most torment on the Day of Resurrection are: a man who was killed by a Prophet or who killed a Prophet, an unjust ruler and one who mutilates (the dead).” (Ahmad 1:407)

Allah’s statement, “That was because they disobeyed and used to transgress the bounds” mentions another reason why the Children of Israel were punished in this manner, for they used to disobey and transgress the limits. Disobedience is to do what is prohibited, while transgression entails overstepping the set limits of what is allowed and what is prohibited. Allah knows best.

{62. Verily, those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians (Sabi’in), whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.}

Faith and doing Righteous Deeds equals Salvation in all Times

After Allah described the condition – and punishment – of those who defy His commands, fall into His prohibitions and transgress set limits by committing prohibited acts, He stated that the earlier nations who were righteous and obedient received the rewards for their good deeds. This shall be the case, until the Day of Judgment. Therefore, whoever follows the unlettered Messenger and Prophet shall acquire eternal happiness and shall neither fear from what will happen in the future nor become sad for what has been lost in the past. Similarly, Allah said,

“No doubt! Verily, the Awliya’ of Allah, no fear shall come upon them nor shall they grieve” (10:62).

The angels will proclaim to the dying believers, as mentioned,

“Verily, those who say: “Our Lord is Allah (alone),” and then they stand firm, on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): “Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised!”. (41:30)

The Meaning of Mu’min, or Believer

Ali bin Abi Talhah narrated from Ibn’ Abbas, about, “Verily, those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day” that Allah revealed the following Ayah afterwards,

“And whoever seeks religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers” (3:85)

This statement by Ibn ‘Abbas indicates that Allah does not accept any deed or work from anyone, unless it conforms to the Law of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, that is, after Allah sent Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Before that, every person who followed the guidance of his own Prophet was on the correct path, following the correct guidance and was saved.

Why the Jews were called ‘Yahud’

The Jews are the followers of Prophet Musa, who used to refer to the Tawrah for judgment. Yahud is a word that means, ‘repenting’, just as Musa said, “Certainly we have the Hudna to You” meaning, we repent to You. This indicates that they were the first to be called Yahud, because they repented and because they were kind to each other. It was also said that they were called Yahud in reference to Yahuda (Judah) the eldest son of the Prophet Yaqub, peace be upon him. Abu Amr bin Al-Ala’ said the were called Yahud, because they were swayed when they read the Tawrah.

Why the Christians were called ‘Nasara’

When ‘Isa, peace be upon him, was sent, the Children of Israel were required to follow and obey him. The followers of ‘Isa and his companions were called An’Nasara, because they gave aid and support to each other. They are also called Ansar (helpers), as ‘Isa, peace be upon him, said,

“Who will be my helpers in Allah’s cause” Al-Hawariyyun said: “We are the helpers of Allah.” (61: 14)

It was said that they were called ‘Nasara’, because they inhabited a land called An-Nasirah (Nazareth), as Qatadah, Ibn Jurayj and Ibn ‘Abbas were reported to have said. (Ar-Razi 3:97) Allah knows best. Nasara is certainly plural for Nasran.

When Allah sent Muhammad as the Last and Final Prophet and Messenger to all of the Children of Adam, mankind was required to believe in him, obey him and refrain from what he prohibited them; those who do this are true believers. The Ummah of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was called ‘Mu’minin’ (believers), because of the depth of their faith and certainty, and because they believe in all of the previous Prophets and matters of the Unseen.

The Sabi’un or Sabians

There is a difference of opinion over the identity of the Sabians. Sufyan Ath-Thawri said that Layth bin Abu Sulaym said that Mujahid said that, “The Sabians are between the Majus, the Jews and the Christians. They do not have a specific religion.” (At-Tabari 2:146) Similar is reported from Ibn Abi Najih. Similar statements were attributed to ‘Ata’ and Sa’id bin Jubayr. (At-Tabari 2:146) They (others) say that the Sabians are a sect among the People of the Book who used to read the Zabur (Psalms), others say that they are a people who worshipped the angels or the stars. It appears that the closest opinion to the truth, and Allah knows best, is Mujahid’s statement and those who agree with him like Wahb bin Munabbih, that the Sabians are neither Jews nor Christians nor Majus nor polytheists. Rather, they did not have a specific religion that they followed and enforced, because they remained living according to their Fitrah (instinctual nature). This is why the idolators used to call whoever embraced Islam a ‘Sabi’, meaning, that he abandoned all religions that existed on the earth. Some scholars stated that the Sabians are those who never received a message by any Prophet. And Allah knows best.

{63. And (O Children of Isra’il, remember) when We took your covenant and We raised above you the Mount (saying): “Hold fast to that which We have given you, and remember that which is therein so that you may acquire Taqwa.

64. Then after that you turned away. Had it not been for the grace and mercy of Allah upon you, indeed you would have been among the losers.}

Taking the Covenant from the Jews

Allah reminded the Children of Israel of the pledges, covenants and promises that He took from them to believe in Him alone, without a partner, and follow His Messengers. Allah stated that when He took their pledge from them, He raised the mountain above their heads, so that they affirm the pledge that they gave Allah and abide by it with sincerity and seriousness. Hence, Allah’s statement,

“And (remember) when We raised the mountain over them as if it had been a canopy, and they thought that it was going to fall on them. (We said): “Hold firmly to what We have given you (Tawrah), and remember that which is therein (act on its commandments), so that you may fear Allah and obey Him.” (7:171)

The mount mentioned here is At-Tur, just as it was explained in Surat Al-‘raf, according to the Tafsir of Ibn ‘Abbas, Mujahid, ‘Ata’, ‘Ikrimah, Al-Hasan, Ad-Dahhak, Ar-Rabi’bin Anas and others. (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:203) This is more obvious. There is another report from Ibn ‘Abbas saying; ‘The Tur is a type of mountain that vegetation grows on, if no vegetation grows on it, it is not called Tur.’ And in the Hadith about the trials, Ibn ‘Abbas said; “When they (the Jews) refused to obey, Allah raised the mountain above their heads so that they would listen.” (An-Nasai in Al-Kubra 6:396)

Al-Hasan said that Allah’s statement, “Hold fast to that which We have given you” means, the Tawrah. Mujahid said that the Ayah commanded, “Strictly adhere to it.” Abu Al-‘Aliyah and Ar-Rabi’ said that, “and remember that which is therein” means, “Read the Tawrah and implement it.” Allah’s statement, “Then after that you turned away. Had it not been for the grace of Allah” means, “Yet, after the firm pledge that you gave, you still deviated and broke your pledge”; “Had it not been for the grace and mercy of Allah upon you”, meaning, by forgiving you and by sending the Prophets and Messengers to you, “Indeed you would have been among the losers” meaning, in this life and the Hereafter due to their breach of the covenant.

{65. And indeed you knew those amongst you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath (i.e. Saturday). We said to them: “Be you monkeys, despised and rejected.”

66. So We made this punishment an example for those in front of it and those behind it, and a lesson for Al- Muttaqin (the pious.)}

The Jews breach the Sanctity of the Sabbath

Allah said, “And indeed you knew”. This Ayah means, O Jews! Remember that Allah sent His torment on the village that disobeyed Him and broke their pledge and their covenant to observe the sanctity of the Sabbath. They began using deceitful means to avoid honoring the Sabbath by placing nets, ropes and artificial pools of water for the purpose of fishing before the Sabbath. When the fish came in abundance on Saturday as usual, they were caught in the ropes and nets for the rest of Saturday. During the night, the Jews collected the fish after the Sabbath ended. When they did that, Allah changed them from humans into monkeys, the animals having the form closest to humans. Their evil deeds and deceit appeared lawful on the surface, but they were in reality wicked. This is why their punishment was compatible with their crime. This story is explained in detail in Surat Al-A’raf, where Allah said,

“And ask them (O Muhammad ) about the town that was by the sea; when they transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath (i.e. Saturday): when their fish came to them openly on the Sabbath day, and did not come to them on the day they had no Sabbath. Thus We made a trial of them, for they used to rebel (disobey Allah).” (7:163)

In his Tafsir, Al-‘Awfi reported from Ibn ‘Abbas that he said, “We said to them: “Be you monkeys, despised and rejected” means, “Allah changed their bodies into those of monkeys and swines. The young people turned into monkeys while the old people turned into swine.” Shayban An-Nahwi reported that Qatadah commented on, “We said to them: “Be you monkeys, despised and rejected”, “These people were turned into howling monkeys with tails, after being men and women.” (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:209)

The Monkeys and Swine that exist now are not the Descendants of Those that were transformed

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn ‘Abbas said, “Those who violated the sanctity of the Sabbath were turned into monkeys, then they perished without offspring.” Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn ‘Abbas said, “Allah turned them into monkeys because of their sins. They only lived on the earth for three days, for no transformed person ever lives more than three days. They did not eat, drink or have offspring. Allah transformed their shapes into monkeys, and He does what He wills, with whom He wills and He changes the shape of whomever He wills. On the other hand, Allah created the monkeys, swines and the rest of the creation in the six days (of creation) that He mentioned in HisBook.” (At-Tabari 2:167)

Allah’s statement, “So We made this punishment an example” means, Allah made the people of this village, who violated the sanctity of the Sabbath, “an example” via the way they were punished. Similarly, Allah said about Pharaoh,

“So Allah, seized him with punishing example for his last and first transgression” (79:25).

Allah’s statement, “for those in front of it and those behind it” meaning, for the other villages. Ibn ‘Abbas commented, “Meaning, ‘We made this village an example for the villages around it by the manner in which We punished its people.”’ Similarly, Allah said,

“And  indeed We have destroyed towns (populations) round about you, and We have (repeatedly) shown (them) the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) in various ways that they might return (to the truth and believe in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism)” (46:27)

Therefore, Allah made them an example for those who lived during their time as well as a reminder for those to come, by preserving their story. This is why Allah said, “and a lesson for Al-Muttaqin (the pious)”, meaning, a reminder. This Ayah means, “The torment and punishment that this village suffered was a result of indulging in Allah’s prohibitions and their deceit. Hence, those who have Taqwa should be aware of their evil behavior, so that what occurred to this village does not befall them as well.” Also, Imam Abu ‘Abdullah bin Battah reported that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Do not commit what the Jews committed, breaching what Allah has forbidden, by resorting to the lowest types of deceit.” (Irwa’ Al-Ghalil 5:375)

This Hadith has a good (Jayid) chain of narration. Allah knows best.

{67. And (remember) when Musa said to his people: “Verily, Allah commands you that you slaughter a cow.” They said, “Do you make fun of us?” He said, “I take Allah’s refuge from being among Al-Jahilin (the ignorant or the foolish).”}

The Story of the murdered Israeli Man and the Cow

Allah said, ‘O Children of Israel! Remember how I blessed you with miracle of the cow that was the means for discovering the identity of the murderer, when the murdered man was brought back to life.’ Ibn Abi Hatim recorded ‘Ubaydah As-Salmani saying, “There was a man from among the Children of Israel who was impotent. He had substantial wealth, and only a nephew who would inherit from him. So his nephew killed him and moved his body at night, placing it at the doorstep of a certain man. The next morning, the nephew cried out for revenge, and the people took up their weapons and almost fought each other. The wise men among them said, ‘Why would you kill each other, while the Messenger of Allah is still among you?’ So they went to Musa and mentioned the matter to him and Musa said, “Verily, Allah commands you that you slaughter a cow.” They said, “Do you make fun of us” He said, “I take Allah’s refuge from being among Al-Jahilin (the ignorant or the foolish).” “Had they not disputed, it would have been sufficient for them to slaughter any cow. However, they disputed, and the matter was made more difficult for them, until they ended up looking for the specific cow that they were later ordered to slaughter. They found the designated cow with a man, only who owned that cow. He said, ‘By Allah! I will only sell it for its skin’s fill of gold.’ So they paid the cow’s fill of its skin in gold, slaughtered it and touched the dead man with a part of it. He stood up, and they asked him, ‘Who killed you?’ He said, ‘That man,’ and pointed to his nephew. He died again, and his nephew was not allowed to inherit him. Thereafter, whoever committed murder for the purpose of gaining inheritance was not allowed to inherit.” (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:114) Ibn Jarir reported something similar to that. Allah knows best.

{68. They said, “Call upon your Lord for us that He may make plain to us what it is!” He said, “He says, ‘Verily, it is a cow neither too old nor too young, but (it is) between the two conditions’, so do what you are commanded.”

69. They said, “Call upon your Lord for us to make plain to us its colour.” He said, “He says, ‘It is a yellow cow, bright in its colour, pleasing the beholders.’ ”

70. They said, “Call upon your Lord for us to make plain to us what it is. Verily, to us all cows are alike. And surely, if Allah wills, we will be guided.”

71. He (Musa) said, “He says, ‘It is a cow neither trained to till the soil nor water the fields, sound, having no blemish in it.’ ” They said, “Now you have brought the truth.” So they slaughtered it though they were near to not doing it.}

The Stubbornness of the Jews regarding the Cow; Allah made the Matter difficult for Them

Allah mentioned the stubbornness of the Children of Israel and the many unnecessary questions they asked their Messengers. This is why when they were stubborn, Allah made the decisions difficult for them. Had they slaughtered a cow, any cow, it would have been sufficient for them, as Ibn ‘Abbas and ‘Ubaydah have said. Instead, they made the matter difficult, and this is why Allah made it even more difficult for them. They said, “Call upon your Lord for us that He may make plain to us what it is!”, meaning, “What is this cow and what is its description” Musa said, “He says, ‘Verily, it is a cow neither too old nor too young'”, meaning, that it is neither old nor below the age of breeding. Ad-Dahhak reported that Ibn ‘Abbas said that, “But (it is) between the two conditions” means, “Neither old nor young. Rather, she was at the age when the cow is strongest and fittest.” In his Tafsir Al-‘Awfi reported from Ibn ‘Abbas that, “bright in its colour” “A deep yellowish white.” (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:221) As-Suddi said, “pleasing the beholder” meaning, that it pleases those who see it. Furthermore, Wahb bin Munabbih said, “If you look at the cow’s skin, you will think that the sun’s rays radiate through its skin.” (At-Tabari 2:202) The modern version of the Tawrah mentions that the cow in the Ayah was red, but this is an error. Or, it might be that the cow was so yellow that it appeared blackish or reddish in color. Allah’s knows best.

 “Verily, to us all cows are alike” this means, that since cows are plentiful, then describe this cow for us further. “And surely, if Allah wills” and if you further describe it to us, “we will be guided.”

“He says, ‘It is a cow neither trained to till the soil nor water the fields'” meaning, it is not used in farming, or for watering purposes. Rather, it is honorable and fair looking. ‘Abdur-Razzaq said that Ma`mar said that Qatadah said that, “sound” means, “The cow does not suffer from any defects.” (At-Tabari 2:214) Further, ‘Ata’ Al-Khurasani said that the Ayah means that its legs and body are free of physical defects. (At-Tabari 2:226)

Also, Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn ‘Abbas said that the Ayah, “So they slaughtered it though they were near to not doing it” means, “They did not want to slaughter it.” This means that even after all the questions and answers about the cow’s description, the Jews were still reluctant to slaughter the cow. This part of the Qur’an criticized the Jews for their behavior, because their only goal was to be stubborn, and this is why they nearly did not slaughter the cow.

{72. And (remember) when you killed a man and disagreed among yourselves as to the crime. But Allah brought forth that which you were Taktumun.

73. So We said: “Strike him (the dead man) with a piece of it (the cow).” Thus Allah brings the dead to life and shows you His Ayat (proofs, evidences, etc.) so that you may understand.}

 

Bringing the murdered Man back to Life

Al-Bukhari said that, “And disagreed among yourselves as to the crime” means, “Disputed.” This is also the Tafsir of Mujahid. ` Ata’ Al-Khurasani and Ad-Dahhak said, “Disputed about this matter.” (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:229) Also, Ibn Jurayj said that, “And (remember) when you killed a man and disagreed among yourselves as to the crime” means, some of them said, “You killed him,” while the others said, “No you killed him.” This is also the Tafsir of ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam. Mujahid said that, “But Allah brought forth that which you were Taktumun” means, “what you were hiding.” Allah said, “So We said: “Strike him (the dead man) with a piece of it (the cow)” meaning, “any part of the cow will produce the miracle (if they struck the dead man with it).” We were not told which part of the cow they used, as this matter does not benefit us either in matters of life or religion. Otherwise, Allah would have made it clear for us. Instead, Allah made this matter vague, so this is why we should leave it vague. Allah’s statement, “Thus Allah brings the dead to life” means, “They struck him with it, and he came back to life.” This Ayah demonstrates Allah’s ability in bringing the dead back to life. Allah made this incident proof against the Jews that the Resurrection shall occur, and ended their disputing and stubbornness over the dead person.

Allah mentioned His bringing the dead back to life in five instances in Surah Al-Baqarah. First Allah said, “Then We raised you up after your death”. He then mentioned the story about the cow. Allah also mentioned the story of those who escaped death in their land, while they were numbering in the thousands. He also mentioned the story of the Prophet who passed by a village that was destroyed, the story of Abraham and the four birds, and the land that comes back to life after it has died. All these incidents and stories alert us to the fact that bodies shall again become whole, after they were rotten. The proof of Resurrection is also reiterated in Allah’s statement,

“And a sign for them is the dead land. We give it life, and We bring forth from it grains, so that they eat thereof. And We have made therein gardens of date palms and grapes, and We have caused springs of water to gush forth therein. So that they may eat of the fruit thereof – and their hands made it not. Will they not then give thanks” (36:33-35).

{74. Then after that your hearts were hardened and became as stones or even worse in hardness. And indeed, there are stones out of which rivers gush forth, and indeed, there are of them (stones) which split asunder so that water flows from them, and indeed, there are of them (stones) which fall down for fear of Allah. And Allah is not unaware of what you do.}

The Harshness of the Jews

Allah criticized the Children of Israel because they witnessed the tremendous signs and the Ayat of Allah, including bringing the dead back to life, yet, “Then after that your hearts were hardened”. So their hearts were like stones that never become soft. This is why Allah forbade the believers from imitating the Jews when He said,

“Has not the time come for the hearts of those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism) to be affected by Allah’s Reminder (this Qur’an), and that which has been revealed of the truth, lest they become as those who received the Scripture (the Tawrah) and the Injil (Gospel) before (i.e. Jews and Christians), and the term was prolonged for them and so their hearts were hardened? And many of them were Fasiqun (the rebellious, the disobedient to Allah)” (57:16).

In his Tafsir, Al-‘Awfi said that Ibn ‘Abbas said, “When the dead man was struck with a part of the cow, he stood up and became more alive than he ever was. He was asked, ‘Who killed you’ He said, ‘My nephews killed me.’ He then died again. His nephews said, after Allah took his life away, ‘By Allah! We did not kill him’ and denied the truth while they knew it. Allah said, “And became as stones or even worse in hardness” And by the passage of time, the hearts of the Children of Israel were unlikely to accept any admonishment, even after the miracles and signs they withnessed. Their hearts became harder than stones, with no hope of ever softening. Sometimes, springs and rivers burst out of stones, some stones split and water comes out of them, even if there are no springs or rivers around them, sometimes stones fall down from mountaintops out of their fear of Allah. Muhammad bin Ishaq narrat ed t hat Ibn’ Abbas said that, “And indeed, there are stones out of which rivers gush forth, and indeed, there are of them (stones) which split asunder so that water flows from them, and indeed, there are of them (stones) which fall down for fear of Allah”, means, “Some stones are softer than your hearts, they acknowledge the truth that you are being called to, “And Allah is not unaware of what you do.”

Solid Inanimate Objects possess a certain Degree of Awareness

Some claimed that the Ayat mentioned the stones being humble as a metaphor. However, Ar-Razi, Al-Qurtubi and other Imams said that there is no need for this explanation, because Allah creates this characteristic – humbleness – in stones. For instance, Allah said,

“Truly, We did offer Al-Amanah (the trust) to the heavens and the earth, and the mountains, but they declined to bear it and were afraid of it (i.e. afraid of Allah’s torment)” (33:72),

“The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein, glorify Him” (17:44),

 “And the stars and the trees both prostrate themselves (to Allah)” (55:6),

“Have they not observed things that Allah has created: (how) their shadows incline” (16:48),

“They both said: “We come willingly.” (41:11),

“Had We sent down this Qur’an on a mountain” (59:21), and,

“And they will say to their skins, “Why do you testify against us” They will say: “Allah has caused us to speak.” (41:21).

It is recorded in the Sahih that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“This (Mount Uhud) is a mount that loves us and that we love.” (Fath Al-Bari 6:98)

Similarly, the compassion of the stump of the palm tree for the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, as confirmed in authentic narrations. In Sahih Muslim it is recorded that the Prophet said,

“I know a stone in Makkah that used to greet me with the Salam before I was sent. I recognize this stone now.” (Muslim 3:1782)

He said about the Black Stone that,

“On the Day of Resurrection it will testifiy for those who kiss it.” (Ahmad 1:266)

There are several other texts with this meaning. The scholars of the Arabic language disagreed over the meaning of Allah’s statement, “And became as stones or even worse in hardness” after agreeing that ‘or’ here is not being used to reflect doubt. Some scholars said that ‘or’ here means, ‘and’. So the meaning becomes, “As hard as stones, and harder.” For instance, Allah said,

“And obey not a sinner or a disbeliever among them” (76:24), and,

“To cut off all excuses or to warn” (77:6).

Some other scholars said that ‘or’ here means, ‘rather’. Hence, the meaning becomes, ‘As hard as stones. Rather, harder.’ For instance, Allah said,

“A section of them fear men as they fear Allah or even more” (4:77),

“And We sent him to a hundred thousand (people) or even more” (37:147), and,

“And was at a distance of two bows’ length or (even) nearer” (53:9).

Some other scholars said that this Ayah means their hearts are only of two types, as hard as stone or harder than stone. Further, Ibn Jarir commented that this Tafsir means that some of their hearts are as hard as stone and some hearts are harder than stone. Ibn Jarir said that he favored this last Tafsir, although the others are plausible. I – Ibn Kathir – say that the last Tafsir is similar to Allah’s statement,

“Their likeness is as the likeness of one who kindled a fire” (2:17), and then His statement,

“As for those who disbelieved, their deeds are like a mirage in a desert” (24:39), and then His statement ,

“Or like a rainstorm from the sky” (2:19). It is also similar to Allah’s statement,

“Or (the state of a disbeliever) is like the darkness in a vast deep sea” (24:40).

This then means that some of them are like the first example, and some others are like the second example. Allah knows best.

{75. Do you (faithful believers) covet that they will believe in your religion inspite of the fact that a party of them (Jewish rabbis) used to hear the Word of Allah (the Tawrah), then they used to change it knowingly after they understood it

76. And when they (Jews) meet those who believe (Muslims), they say, “We believe,” but when they meet one another in private, they say, “Shall you (Jews) tell them (Muslims) what Allah has revealed to you that they (Muslims) may argue with you (Jews) about it before your Lord?” Have you (Jews) then no understanding)

77. Know they (Jews) not that Allah knows what they conceal and what they reveal?}

There was little Hope that the Jews Who lived during the Time of the Prophet could have believed

Allah said,“Do you covet” O believers, “That they will believe in your religion” meaning, that these people would obey you? They are the deviant sect of Jews whose fathers witnessed the clear signs but their hearts became hard afterwards. Allah said next, “Inspite of the fact that a party of them (Jewish rabbis) used to hear the Word of Allah (the Tawrah), then they used to change it” meaning, distort its meaning, “after they understood it”. They understood well, yet they used to defy the truth, “knowingly”, being fully aware of their erroneous interpretations and corruption. This statement issimilar to Allah’s statement,

“So, because of their violation of their covenant, We cursed them and made their hearts grow hard. They change the words from their (right) places” (5:13).

Qatadah commented that Allah’s statement, “Then they used to change it knowingly after they understood it” “They are the Jews who used to hear Allah’s Words and then alter them after they understood and comprehended them.” Also, Mujahid said, “Those who used to alter it and conceal its truths; they were their scholars.” Also, Ibn Wahb said that Ibn Zayd commented, “used to hear the Word of Allah (the Tawrah), then they used to change it” “They altered the Tawrah that Allah revealed to them, making it say that the lawful is unlawful and the prohibited is allowed, and that what is right is false and that what is false is right. So when a person seeking the truth comes to them with a bribe, they judge his case by the Book of Allah, but when a person comes to them seeking to do evil with a bribe, they take out the other (distorted) book, in which it is stated that he is in the right. When someone comes to them who is not seeking what is right, nor offering them bribe, then they enjoin righteousness on him. This is why Allah said to them,

“Enjoin you Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and every act of obedience to Allah) on the people and you forget (to practise it) yourselves, while you recite the Scripture (the Tawrah)! Have you then no sense” (2:44)

The Jews knew the Truth of the Prophet , but disbelieved in Him

Allah said next, “And when they (Jews) meet those who believe (Muslims), they say, “We believe”, but when they meet one another in private..). ” Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn ‘Abbas commented, “And when they (Jews) meet those who believe (Muslims), they say, “We believe”” “They believe that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, ‘But he was only sent for you (Arabs)”’ However, when they meet each other they say, “Do not convey the news about this Prophet to the Arabs, because you used to ask Allah to grant you victory over them when he came, but he was sent to them (not to you).” Allah then revealed, “And when they (Jews) meet those who believe (Muslims), they say, “We believe,” but when they meet one another in private, they say, “Shall you (Jews) tell them (Muslims) what Allah has revealed to you, that they (Muslims) may argue with you (Jews) about it before your Lord” meaning, “If you admit to them that he is a Prophet, knowing that Allah took the covenant from you to follow him, they will know that Muhammad is the Prophet that we were waiting for and whose coming we find foretold of in our Book. Therefore, do not believe in him and deny him.” Allah said, “Know they (Jews) not that Allah knows what they conceal and what they reveal”.

Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, “When the Jews met the believers they used to say, ‘We believe.’ When they met each other, some of them would say, ‘Do not talk to the companions of Muhammad about what Allah has foretold in your Book, so that the news (that Muhammad is the Final Messenger) does not become a proof for them against you with your Lord, and, thus, you will win the dispute.”’ Further, Abu Al-‘Aliyah said about Allah’s statement, “Know they (Jews) not that Allah knows what they conceal and what they reveal”, “Meaning their secret denial and rejection of Muhammad, although they find his coming recorded in their Book.” This is also the Tafsir of Qatadah. Al-Hasan commented on, “That Allah knows what they conceal”, “What they concealed refers to when they were alone with each other away from the Companions of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Then they would forbid each other from conveying the news that Allah revealed to them in their Book to the Companions of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, fearing that the Companions would use this news (about the truth of Muhammad) against them before their Lord.” “And what they reveal” meaning, when they said to the Companions of Muhammad, “We believe”, as Abu Al-‘Aliyah, Ar-Rabi and Qatadah stated.

{78. And there are among them (Jews) ‘Ummyyun (unlettered) people, who know not the Book, but they trust upon Amani (false desires) and they but guess.

79. Then woe to those who write the book with their own hands and then say, “This is from Allah,” to purchase with it a little price! Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for that they earn thereby.}

The Meaning of  ‘Ummi’

Allah said,”And there are among them Ummyyun people” meaning, among the People of the Book, as Mujahid stated. Ummyyun, is plural for Ummi, that is, a person who does not write, as Abu Al- ‘Aliyah, Ar-Rabi , Qatadah, Ibrahim An-Nakha’i and others said. This meaning is clarified by Allah’s statement, “Who know not the Book” meaning, are they not aware of what is in it.

Ummi was one of the descriptions of the Prophet because he was unlettered. For instance, Allah said,

“Neither did you (O Muhammad ) read any book before it (this Qur’an) nor did you write any book (whatsoever) with your right hand. In that case, indeed, the followers of falsehood might have doubted” (29:48).

Also, the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“We are an Ummi nation, neither writing nor calculating. The (lunar) month is like this, this and this (i.e. thirty or twenty-nine days.)” (Fath Al Bari 4:151)

This Hadith stated that Muslims do not need to rely on books, or calculations to decide the timings of their acts of worship. Allah also said,

“He it is Who sent among the Ummiyyin ones a Messenger (Muhammad ) from among themselves” (62:2).

The Explanation of Amani

Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn ‘Abbas said that Allah’s statement, “But they trust upon Amani” means, “It is just a false statement that they utter with their tongues.” It was also said that Amani means ‘wishes and hopes’. Mujahid commented, “Allah described the Ummiyyin as not understanding any of the Book that Allah sent down to Musa, yet they create lies and falsehood.” Therefore, the word Amani mentioned here refers to lying and falsehood. Mujahid said that Allah’s statement, “And they but guess” means, “They lie.” Qatadah, Abu Al-‘Aliyah and Ar-Rabi’ said that it means, “They have evil false ideas about Allah.”

Woe unto Those Criminals among the Jews

Allah said, “Then Waylun (woe) to those who write the book with their own hands and then say, “This is from Allah,” to purchase with it a little price!”. This is another category of people among the Jews who called to misguidance with falsehood and lies about Allah, thriving on unjustly amassing people’s property. ‘Waylun (woe)’ carries meanings of destruction and perishing, and it is a well-known word in the Arabic language. Az- Zuhri said that ‘Ubadydullah bin ‘Abdullah narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas said, “O Muslims! How could you ask the People of the Book about anything, while the Book of Allah (Qur’an) that He revealed to His Prophet is the most recent Book from Him and you still read it fresh and young? Allah told you that the People of the Book altered the Book of Allah, changed it and wrote another book with their own hands. They then said, ‘This book is from Allah,’ so that they acquired a small profit by it. Hasn’t the knowledge that came to you prohibited you from asking them? By Allah! We have not seen any of them asking you about what was revealed to you.” (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:245) This Hadith was also collected by Al-Bukhari. Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, “The little amount here means this life and all that it contains.”

Allah’s statement, “Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for that they earn thereby” means, “Woe to them because of what they have written with their own hands, the lies, falsehood and alterations. Woe to them because of the property that they unjustly acquired.” Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn ‘Abbas commented, “Woe to them”, “Means the torment will be theirs because of the lies that they wrote with their own hands, “And woe to them for that they earn thereby”, which they unjustly acquired from people, be they commonersor otherwise.”

{80. And they (Jews) say, “The Fire shall not touch us but for a few numbered days.” Say (O Muhammad to them): “Have you taken a covenant from Allah, so that Allah will not break His covenant? Or is it that you say of Allah what you know not?”}

The Jews hope They will only remain in the Fire for a Few Days

Allah mentioned the claim of the Jews, that the Fire will only touch them for a few days, and then they will be saved from it. Allah refuted this claim by saying, “Say (O Muhammad to them): “Have you taken a covenant from Allah?”. Hence, the Ayah proclaims, ‘if you had a promise from Allah for that, then Allah will never break His promise. However, such promise never existed. Rather, what you say, about Allah, you have no knowledge of and you thus utter a lie about Him.’ Al-‘Awfi said that Ibn ‘Abbas said about the Ayah, “And they (Jews) say, “The Fire shall not touch us but for a few numbered days.”. “The Jews said, ‘The Fire will only touch us for forty days.”’ Others added that this was the period during which the Jews worshipped the calf.

Also, Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr bin Marduwyah reported Abu Hurayrah saying, “When Khaybar was conquered, a roasted poisoned sheep was presented to the Prophet as a gift (by the Jews). The Messenger of Allah ordered, ‘Assemble before me all the Jews who were here.’ The Jews were summoned and the Prophet said (to them), `Who is your father?’ They replied, ‘So-and-so.’ He said, ‘You have lied; your father is so-and-so.’ They said, ‘You have uttered the truth.’ He said, `Will you now tell me the truth, if I ask you about something?’ They replied, ‘Yes, O Abul-Qasim; and if we should tell a lie, you will know our lie as you have about our fathers.’ On that he asked, `Who are the people of the (Hell) Fire?’ They said, `We shall remain in the (Hell) Fire for a short period, and after that you will replace us in it.’ The Prophet said, `May you be cursed and humiliated in it! By Allah, we shall never replace you in it.’ Then he asked, ‘Will you tell me the truth if I ask you a question?’ They said, ‘Yes, O Abul- Qasim.’ He asked, ‘Have you poisoned this sheep?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He asked, ‘What made you do so?’ They said, ‘We wanted to know if you were a liar, in which case we would get rid of you, and if you were a Prophet then the poison would not harm you.’ (Dala’il An-Nubawwah 4:256) Imam Ahmad, Al-Bukhari and An-Nasa’i recorded similarly.

{81. Yes! Whosoever earns evil and his sin has surrounded him, they are dwellers of the Fire (i.e. Hell); they will dwell therein forever.

82. And those who believe and do righteous good deeds, they are dwellers of Paradise, they will dwell therein forever.}

Allah says, the matter is not as you have wished and hoped it to be. Rather, whoever does an evil deed and abides purposefully in his error, coming on the Day of Resurrection with no good deeds, only evil deeds, then he will be among the people of the Fire. “And those who believe and do righteous good deeds” meaning, “They believe in Allah and His Messenger and perform the good deeds that conform with the Islamic Law. They shall be among the people of Paradise.” Allah said in a similar statement,

“It will not be in accordance with your desires (Muslims), nor those of the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), whosoever works evil, will have the recompense thereof, and he will not find any protector or helper besides Allah. And whoever does righteous good deeds, male or female, and is a (true) believer – in the Oneness of Allah (Muslim), such will enter Paradise and not the least injustice, even the size of a Naqira (speck on the back of a date stone), will be done to them” (4: 123-124).

Also, Abu Hurayrah, Abu Wa’il, ‘At a’, and Al-Hasan said that, “And his sin has surrounded him” means, “His Shirk (polytheism) has surrounded him.” Also, Al- A’ mash reported from Abu Razin that Ar-Rabi’bin Khuthaym said, “And his sin has surrounded him”, “Whoever dies before repenting from his wrongs.” As-Suddi and Abu Razin said similarly. Abu Al-‘Aliyah, Muj ahid, Al-Hasan, Qat adah and Ar-Rabi’ bin Anas said that, “And his sin has surrounded him” refers to major sins. All of these statements carry similar meanings, and Allah knows best.

When Small Sins gather, They bring about Destruction

Here we should mention the Hadith that Imam Ahmad recorded, in which ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Beware of the belittled sins, because they gather on a person until they destroy him.” He then said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, gave them an example,

“This is the example of people who set up camp on a flat land, and then their servants came. One of them collected some wood and another man collected some wood until they collected a great deal. They then started a fire and cooked what they put on it.” (Ahmad 1:204)

Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn ‘Abbas said that, “And those who believe and do righteous good deeds, they are dwellers of Paradise, they will dwell therein forever” “Whoever believes in what you (Jews) did not believe in and implements what you refrained from implementing of Muhammad’s religion, shall acquire Paradise for eternity. Allah stated that the recompense for good or evil works shall remain with its people for eternity. ”

{83. And (remember) when We took a covenant from the Children of Israel, (saying): Worship none but Allah (alone) and be dutiful and good to parents, and to kindred, and to orphans and (the poor), and speak good to people and perform As-Salah and give Zakah. Then you slid back, except a few of you, while you are backsliders.}

The Covenant that Allah took from the Children of Israel

Allah reminded the Children of Israel of the commandments that He gave them, and the covenants that He took from them to abide by those commands, and how they intentionally and knowingly turned away from all of that. Allah commanded them to worship Him and to associate none with Him in worship, just as He has commanded all of His creatures, for this is why Allah created them. Allah said,

“And We did not send any Messenger before you (O Muhammad ) but We revealed to him (saying): La ilaha illa Ana – none has the right to be worshipped but I (Allah) – , so worship Me (alone and none else)” (21:25), and,

“And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allah (alone), and avoid the Taghut (all false deities,)” (16:36).

This is the highest and most important right, that is, Allah’s right that He be worshipped alone without partners. After that comes the right of the creatures, foremost, the right of the parents. Allah usually mentions the rights of the parents along with His rights. For instance, Allah said,

“Give thanks to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination” (31:14). Also, Allah said ,

“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents” (17:23), until,

“And give to the kinsman his due and to the Miskin (poor) and to the wayfarer” (17:26).

The Two Sahihs record that Ibn Mas’ud said,

“I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! What is the best deed?’ He said, ‘Performing the prayer on time.’ I said, ‘Then what’ He said, ‘Being kind to one’s parents.’ I said, ‘Then what’ He said, Jihad in the cause of Allah.'” (Fath Al-Bari 6:5 and Muslim 1:89)

Allah then said, “and Al-Masakin (the poor)”, plural for Miskin, the one who does not find what he needs to spend on himself and his family. We will discuss these categories when we explain the Ayah of Surat An-Nisa’ where Allah said,

“Worship Allah and join none with Him (in worship); and do good to parents” (4:36).

Allah’s statement, “and speak good to people” meaning, say good words to them and be lenient with them, this includes commanding good and forbidding evil. Al-Hasan Al-Basri commented on Allah’s statement, “and speak good to people” “The good saying’ means commanding good and forbidding evil, and being patient and forgiving. The ‘good words to people’, as Allah commanded, also includes every good type of behavior that Allah is pleased with.” Imam Ahmad narrated that Abu Dharr said that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Do not belittle any form of righteousness, and even if you did not find any good deed except meeting your brother with a smiling face, then do so.” (Ahmad 5:173 and Muslim 4:2026)

Allah commands the servants to say good words to people, after He commanded them to be kind to them, thereby mentioning two categories of manners: good speech and good actions. He then emphasized the command to worship Him and the command to do good, ordaining the prayer and the Zakah, “and perform As-Salah and give Zakah”. Allah informed us that the People of the Book, except for a few among them, ignored these orders, that is, they knowingly and intentionally abandoned them. Allah ordered this Ummah similarly in Surat An-Nisa’ when He said,

“Worship Allah and join none with Him (in worship); and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, Al-Masakin (the poor), the neighbor who is near of kin, the neighbor who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (servants) whom your right hands possess. Verily, Allah does not like such as are proud and boastful” (4:36).

Of these orders, this Ummah has practiced what no other nation before it has, and all praise is due to Allah.

{84. And (remember) when We took your covenant (saying): Shed not the blood of your (people), nor turn out your own people from their dwellings. Then, (this) you ratified and (to this) you bore witness.

85. After this, it is you who kill one another and drive out a party of you from their homes, assist (their enemies) against them, in sin and transgression. And if they come to you as captives, you ransom them, although their expulsion was forbidden to you. Then do you believe in a part of the Book and reject the rest? Then what is the recompense of those who do so among you, except disgrace in the life of this world, and on the Day of Resurrection they shall be consigned to the most grievous torment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do.

86. Those are they who have bought the life of this world at the price of the Hereafter. Their torment shall not be lightened nor shall they be helped.}

The Terms of the Covenant and their Breach of It

Allah criticized the Jews who lived in Al-Madinah during the time of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. They used to suffer, because of the armed conflicts between the tribes of Al-Madinah, Aws and Khazraj. Before Islam, the Aws and Khazraj worshipped idols, and many battles took place bet ween them. There were three Jewish tribes in Al-Madinah at that time, Banu Qaynuqa’ and Banu An-Nadir, the allies of the Khazraj, and Banu Qurayzah, who used to be the allies of the Aws. When war erupted between Aws and Khazraj, their Jewish allies would assist them. The Jew would kill his Arab enemy, and sometimes they also killed Jews who were the allies of the other Arab tribe, although the Jews were prohibited from killing each other according to clear religious texts in their Books. They would also drive each other from their homes and loot whatever furniture and money they could. When the war ended, the victorious Jews would release the prisoners from the defeated party, according to the rulings of the Tawrah. This is why Allah said, “Then do you believe in a part of the Scripture and reject the rest?” Allah said, “And (remember) when We took your covenant (saying): Shed not the blood of your (people), nor turn out your own people from their dwellings.” meaning, “Do not kill each other, nor expel one another from their homes, nor participate in fighting against them.” Allah mentioned the word `your own’ here, just as He said in another Ayah.

So turn in repentance to your Creator and kill yourselves, that will be better for you with your Creator” (2:54) because the followers of one religion are just like one soul. Also, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“The example of the believers in their kindness, mercy and sympathy to each other is the example of one body, when an organ of it falls ill, the rest of the body rushes to its aid in fever and sleeplessness.” (Muslim 4:1999)

Allah’s statement, “Then, (this) you ratified and (to this) you bore witness.” means, “You testified that you know of the covenant and that you were witnesses to it.” “After this, it is you who kill one another and drive out a party of you from their homes”. Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar reported that Ibn ‘Abbas commented on the Ayah, “After this, it is you who kill one another and drive out a party of you from their home “Allah mentioned what they were doing, and that in the Tawrah He had prohibited them from shedding each other’s blood, and required them to free their prisoners. Now they were divided into two camps in Al-Madinah, Banu Qaynuq’, who were the allies of the Khazraj, and An- Nadir and Qurayzah, who were the allies of the Aws. When fighting erupted between Aws and Khazraj, Banu Qaynuqa’ would fight along with the Khazraj, while Banu An-Nadir and Qurayzah would fight along with the Aws. Each Jewish camp would fight against their Jewish brethren from the other camp. They would shed each other’s blood, although they had the Tawrah with them, and they knew their rights and dues. Meanwhile, the Aws and Khazraj were polytheists who worshipped idols. They did not know about Paradise, the Fire, Resurrection, Divine Books the lawful and prohibited. When the war would end, the Jews would ransom their prisoners and implement the Tawrah. Consequently, Banu Qaynuqa’ would ransom their prisoners who were captured by the Aws, while Banu An-Nadir and Qurayzah would ransom their prisoners who were captured by the Khazraj. They would also ask for blood money. During these wars, they would kill whomever (Jews or Arabs) they could, while helping the polytheists against their brethren. Therefore, Allah reminded them of this when He said, “Then do you believe in a part of the Scripture and reject the rest”. This Ayah means, ‘Do you ransom them according to the rulings of the Tawrah, yet kill them while the Tawrah forbade you from killing them and from expelling them from their homes. The Tawrah also commanded that you should not aid the polytheists and those who associate with Allah in the worship against your brethren. You do all this to acquire the life of this world.’ I was informed that the behavior of the Jews regarding the Aws and Khazraj was the reason behind revealing these Ayat.”

These noble Ayat criticized the Jews for implementing the Tawrah sometimes and defying it at other times, although they believed in the Tawrah and knew what they were doing was wrong. This is why they should not be trusted to preserve or convey the Tawrah. Further, they should not be believed when it comes to the description of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his coming, his expulsion from his land, and his Hijrah, and the rest of the information that the previous Prophets informed them about him, all of which they hid. The Jews, may they suffer the curse of Allah, hid all of these facts among themselves, and this is why Allah said, “Then what is the recompense of those who do so among you, except disgrace in the life of this world”, because they defied Allah’s Law and commandments, “And on the Day of Resurrection they shall be consigned to the most grievous torment” as punishment for defying the Book of Allah that they had. “And Allah is not unaware of what you do. Those are they who have bought the life of this world at the price of the Hereafter” meaning, they prefer this life to the Hereafter. Therefore, “Their torment shall not be lightened” not even for an hour, “Nor shall they be helped”, and they shall find no helper who will save them from the eternal torment they will suffer, nor shall they find any to grant them refuge from it.

{87. And indeed, We gave Musa the Book and followed him up with a succession of Messengers. And We gave `Isa, the son of Maryam, clear signs and supported him with Ruh-il-Qudus. Is it that whenever there came to you a Messenger with what you yourselves desired not, you grew arrogant? Some you disbelieved and some you killed.}

The Arrogance of the Jews who denied and killed Their Prophets

Allah described the insolence of Children of Israel, their rebelliousness, defiance and arrogance towards the Prophets, following their own lusts and desires. Allah mentioned that He gave Musa the Book, the Tawrah, and that the Jews changed, distorted, and defied its commands, as well as altered its meanings.

Allah sent Messengers and Prophets after Musa who followed his law, as Allah stated,

“Verily, We did reveal the Tawrah (to Musa), therein was guidance and light, by which the Prophets, who submitted themselves to Allah’s will, judged for the Jews. And the rabbis and the priests (too judged for the Jews by the Tawrah after those Prophets), for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah’s Book, and they were witnesses thereto” (5:44).

This is why Allah said here, “And Qaffayna him with Messengers”. As-Suddi said that Abu Malik said that Qaffayna means, “Succeeded”, while others said, “Followed”. Both meanings are plausible, since Allah said,

“Then We sent Our Messengers in succession” (23:44).

Thereafter, Allah sent the last Prophet among the Children of Israel, ‘Isa the son of Mary, who was sent with some laws that differed with some in the Tawrah. This is why Allah also sent miracles to support ‘Isa. These included bringing the dead back to life, forming the shape of birds from clay and blowing into them, afterwhich they became living birds by Allah’s leave, healing the sick and foretelling the Unseen, as Ibn ‘Abbas stated. Allah also aided him with Ruh Al-Qudus, and that refers to Jibril. All of these signs testified to the truthfulness of ‘Isa and what he was sent with. Yet, the Children of Israel became more defiant and envious of him and did not want to differ with even one part of the Tawrah, as Allah said about ‘Isa,

“And to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden to you, and I have come to you with a proof from your Lord” (3:50).

Hence, the Children of Israel treated the Prophets in the worst manner, rejecting some of them and killing some of them. All of this occurred because the Prophets used to command the Jews with what differed from their desires and opinions. The Prophets also upheld the rulings of the Tawrah that the Jews had changed, and this is why it was difficult for them to believe in these Prophets. Therefore, they rejected the Prophets and killed some of them. Allah said, “Is it that whenever there came to you a Messenger with what you yourselves desired not, you grew arrogant? Some you disbelieved and some you kill”.

Jibril is Ruh Al-Qudus

The proof that Jibril is the Ruh Al-Qudus is the statement of Ibn Mas’ud in explanation of this Ayah. This is also the view of Ibn ‘Abbas, Muhammad bin Ka’b, Isma’il bin Khalid, As-Suddi, Ar- Rabi ‘bin Anas, ‘Atiyah Al-‘Awfi and Qatadah. Additionally, Allah said,

“Which the trustworthy Ruh (Jibril) has brought down. Upon your heart (O Muhammad) that you may be (one) of the warners” (26:193-194).

Al-Bukhari recorded ‘A’ishah saying that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, erected a Minbar in the Masjid on which Hassan bin Thabit (the renowned poet) used to defend the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him (with his poems). The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“O Allah! Aid Hassan with Ruh Al-Qudus, for he defended Your Prophet.” (Fath Al Bari 10:562)

Further, Ibn Hibban recorded in his Sahih that Ibn Mas’ud said that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Ruh Al-Qudus informed me that no soul shall die until it finishes its set provisions and term limit. Therefore, have Taqwa of Allah and seek your sustenance in the most suitable way.” (See As-Sunnah 14:304)

The Jews tried to kill the Prophet

Az-Zamakhshari commented on Allah’s statement, “Some you disbelieved and some you kill”, “Allah did not say ‘killed’ here, because the Jews would still try to kill the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, in the future, using poison and magic.” During the illness that preceded his death, the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“I kept feeling the effect of what I ate (from the poisoned sheep) during the day of Khaybar, until now, when it is the time that the aorta will be cut off (meaning when death is near).” (Fath Al-Bari 7:737)

{88. And they say, “Our hearts are Ghulf.” Nay, Allah has cursed them for their disbelief, so little is that which they believe.}

Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn ‘Abbas said that, “And they say, “Our hearts are Ghulf.”, means, “Our hearts are screened.” Mujahid also said that, “And they say, “Our hearts are Ghulf.”, means, “They are covered.” Ikrimah said, “There is a stamp on them.” Abu Al-`Aliyah said, “They do not comprehend.” Mujahid and Qatadah said that Ibn ‘Abbas read the Ayah in a way that means, “Our hearts contain every type of knowledge and do not need the knowledge that you (O Muhammad) have.” (Al-Qurtubi) This is the opinion of ‘At a’ and Ibn ‘Abbas.

 “Nay, Allah has cursed them for their disbelief” meaning, “Allah expelled them and deprived them of every type of righteousness.” Qatadah said that the Ayah, “So little is that which they believe” means, “Only a few of them believe.” Allah’s statement, “And they say, “Our hearts are Ghulf.” is similar to His statement,

“And they say: “Our hearts are under coverings (screened) from that to which you invite us” (41:5).

This is why Allah said here, “Nay, Allah has cursed them for their disbelief, so little is that which they believe.” meaning, “It is not as they claim. Rather, their hearts are cursed and stamped,” just as Allah said in Surat An-Nisa:

“And of their saying: “Our hearts are wrapped (with coverings, i.e. we do not understand what the Messengers say) – nay, Allah has set a seal upon their hearts because of their disbelief, so they believe not but a little.” (4:155)

There is a difference of opinion regarding the meaning of Allah’s statement, “So little is that which they believe” and His statement, “So they believe not except a few”. Some scholars said that the Ayat indicate that a few of them would believe, or that their faith is minute, because they believe in Resurrection and in Allah’s reward and punishment that Musa foretold. Yet, this faith will not benefit them since it is overshadowed by their disbelief in what Muhammad brought them. Some scholars said that the Jews did not actually believe in anything and that Allah said, “So little is that which they believe”, meaning, they do not believe. This meaning is similar to the Arabic expression, “Hardly have I seen anything like this,” meaning, “I have never seen anything like this.”

{89. And when there came to them (the Jews), a Book (this Qur’an) from Allah confirming what is with them (the Tawrah) and the Injil (Gospel), although aforetime they had invoked Allah (for the coming of Muhammad) in order to gain victory over those who disbelieved, then when there came to them that which they had recognised, they disbelieved in it. So let the curse of Allah be on the disbelievers.}

The Jews were awaiting the Prophet’s coming, but They disbelieved in Him when He was sent

Allah said, “And when there came to them” meaning, the Jews, “a Book from Allah” meaning, the Qur’an that Allah sent down to Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, “confirming what is with them” meaning, the Tawrah. Further, Allah said, “although aforetime they had invoked Allah (for coming of Muhammad) in order to gain victory over those who disbelieved” meaning, before this Messenger came to them, they used to ask Allah to aid them by his arrival, against their polytheistic enemies in war. They used to say to the polytheists, “A Prophet shall be sent just before the end of this world and we, along with him, shall exterminate you, just as the nations of ‘Ad and Iram were exterminated.” Also, Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas said, “The Jews used to invoke Allah (for the coming of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in order to gain victory over the Aws and Khazraj, before the Prophet was sent. When Allah sent him to the Arabs, they rejected him and denied what they used to say about him. Hence, Mu’adh bin Jabal and Bishr bin Al-Bara’ bin Ma` rur, from Bani Salamah, said to them, ‘O Jews! Fear Allah and embrace Islam. You used to invoke Allah for the coming of Muhammad when we were still disbelievers and you used to tell us that he would come and describe him to us,’ Salam bin Mushkim from Bani An-Nadir replied, ‘He did not bring anything that we recognize. He is not the Prophet we told you about.’ Allah then revealed this Ayah about their statement, “And when there came to them (the Jews), a Book (this Qur’an) from Allah confirming what is with them (the Tawrah) and the Injil (Gospel).”’ 

Abu Al-‘Aliyah said, “The Jews used to ask Allah to send Muhammad so that they would gain victory over the Arab disbelievers. They used to say, ‘O Allah! Send the Prophet that we read about – in the Tawrah – so that we can torment and kill the disbelievers alongside him.’ When Allah sent Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and they saw that he was not one of them, they rejected him and envied the Arabs, even though they knew that he was the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Hence, Allah said, “Then when there came to them that which they had recognized, they disbelieved in it. So let the curse of Allah be on the disbelievers)”

{90. How bad is that for which they have sold their own selves, that they should disbelieve in that which Allah has revealed (the Qur’an), grudging that Allah should reveal of His grace unto whom He wills of His servants. So they have drawn on themselves wrath upon wrath. And for the disbelievers, there is disgracing torment.}

Mujahid said, “How bad is that for which they have sold their own selves”, “The Jews sold the truth for falsehood and hid the truth about Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.” (At-Tabari 2:340) As-Suddi said that the Ayah, “How bad is that for which they have sold their own selves” means, “The Jews sold themselves.” meaning, what is worse is what they chose for themselves by disbelieving in what Allah revealed to Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him instead of believing, aiding and supporting him. This behavior of theirs is the result of their injustice, envy and hatred, “grudging that Allah should reveal of His grace unto whom He wills of His servants” There is no envy worse than this. Therefore, “So they have drawn on themselves wrath upon wrath”. Ibn ‘Abbas commented on this Ayah, “Allah became angry with them because they ignored some of the Tawrah and disbelieved in the Prophet that He sent to them.” (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:279)

I (Ibn Kathir) say that the meaning of, “And they drew on themselves” is that they deserved and acquired multiplied anger. Also, Abu Al-‘Aliyah said, “Allah became angry with them, because of their disbelief in the Injil and ‘Isa and He became angry with them again, because they disbelieved in Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and the Qur’an.” Similar was said by ‘Ikrimah and Qatadah. Allah said, “And for the disbelievers, there is disgracing torment”. Since their disbelief was a result of their transgression and envy, which was caused by arrogance, they were punished with disgrace and humiliation in this world and the Hereafter. Similarly, Allah said,

“Verily, those who scorn My worship (i.e. do not invoke Me, and do not believe in My Oneness) they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!” (40:60)

meaning, “Disgraced, degraded and humiliated.” Imam Ahmad narrated that ‘Amr bin Shu’ayb said that his father said that his grandfather said that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“The arrogant people will be gathered on the Day of Resurrection in the size of ants, but in the shape of men. Everything shall be above them, because of the humiliation placed on them, until they enter a prison in Jahannam called `Bawlas’ where the fire will surround them from above. They shall drink from the puss of the people of the Fire.” (Ahmad 2:179)

{91. And when it is said to them (the Jews), “Believe in what Allah has sent down,” they say, “We believe in what was sent down to us.” And they disbelieve in that which came after it, while it is the truth confirming what is with them. Say (O Muhammad to them): “Why then have you killed the Prophets of Allah aforetime, if you indeed have been believers”

92. And indeed Musa came to you with clear proofs, yet you worshipped the calf after he left, and you were Zalimun.}

Although The Jews denied the Truth, They claimed to be Believers!

Allah said, “And when it is said to them”, meaning, the Jews and the People of the Book, “Believe in what Allah has sent down” to Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, believe in and follow him, “They say, “We believe in what was sent down to us.” meaning, it is enough for us to believe in what was revealed to us in the Tawrah and the Injil, and this is the path that we choose, “And they disbelieve in that which came after it, while it is the truth confirming what is with them” meaning, while knowing that what was revealed to Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, “it is the truth confirming what is with them”. This means that since what was sent to Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him conforms to what was revealed to the People of the Book, then this fact constitutes a proof against them. Similarly, Allah said,

“Those to whom We gave the Scripture (Jews and Christians) recognize him (Muhammad) as they recognize their sons” (2:146).

Allah said next, “Why then have you killed the Prophets of Allah aforetime, if you indeed have been believers”. This means, “If your claim that you believe in what was revealed to you is true, then why did you kill the Prophets who came to you affirming the Tawrah’s Law, although you knew they were true Prophets? You killed them simply out of transgression, stubbornness and injustice with Allah’s Messengers. Therefore, you only follow your lusts, opinions and desires.” Similarly, Allah said, “Is it that whenever there came to you a Messenger with what you yourselves desired not, you grew arrogant Some you disbelieved and some you killed” Also, As-Suddi said, “In this Ayah, Allah chastised the People of the Book, “Say (O Muhammad to them): “Why then have you killed the Prophets of Allah aforetime, if you indeed have been believers”’ (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:281)

“And indeed Musa came to you with clear proofs” meaning, with clear signs and clear proofs that he was the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah. The clear signs -or miracles- mentioned here are the flood, the locusts, the lice, the frogs, the blood, the staff and the hand. Musa’s miracles also include parting the sea, shading the Jews with clouds, the manna and quails, the gushing stone, etc. “yet you worshipped the calf” meaning, as a deity instead of Allah, during the time of Musa. Allah’s statement, “after he left” after Musa went to Mount Tur to speak to Allah. Similarly, Allah said,

“And the people of Musa made in his absence, out of their ornaments, the image of a calf (for worship). It had a sound (as if it was mooing)” (7:148).

“and you were Zalimun” meaning, you were unjust in this behavior of worshipping the calf, although you knew that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah. Similarly, Allah said,

“And when they regretted and saw that they had gone astray, they (repented and) said: “If our Lord have not mercy upon us and forgive us, we shall certainly be of the losers” (7:149)

{93. And (remember) when We took your covenant and We raised above you the Mount (saying), “Hold firmly to what We have given you and hear (Our Word).” They said, “We have heard and disobeyed.” And their hearts absorbed (the worship of) the calf because of their disbelief. Say: “Worst indeed is that which your faith enjoinson you if you are believers.”}

The Jews rebel after Allah took Their Covenant and raised the Mountain above Their Heads

Allah reminded the Jews of their errors, breaking His covenant, transgression and defiance, when He raised Mount Tur above them so that they would believe and agree to the terms of the covenant. Yet, they broke it soon afterwards, “They said, “We have heard and disobeyed.” We have mentioned the Tafsir of this subject before. ‘Abdur-Razzaq said that Ma’mar narrated that Qatadah said that, “And their hearts absorbed (the worship of) the calf” means, “They absorbed its love, until its love resided in their hearts.” (‘Abdur Razzaq 1:52) This is also the opinion of Abu Al-‘Aliyah and Ar-Rabi’ bin Anas. (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:283)

Allah’s statement, “Say: “Worst indeed is that which your faith enjoins on you if you are believers.” means, “Worse yet is the manner in which you behaved in the past and even now, disbelieving in Allah’s Ayat and defying the Prophets. You also disbelieved in Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, which is the worst of your deeds and the harshest sin that you committed. You disbelieved in the Final Messenger and the master of all Prophets and Messengers, the one who was sent to all mankind, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. How can you then claim that you believe, while committing the evil of breaking Allah’s covenant, disbelieving in Allah’s Ayat and worshipping the calf instead of Allah?”

{94. Say to (them): “If the abode of the Hereafter with Allah is indeed for you especially and not for others of mankind, then long for death if you are truthful.”

95. But they will never long for it because of what their hands have sent before them (i.e. what they have done). And Allah is Aware of the Zalimin .

96. And verily, you will find them (the Jews) the greediest of mankind for life and (even greedier) than those who ascribe partners to Allah. One of them wishes that he could be given a life of a thousand years. But the grant of such life will not save him even a little from (due) punishment. And Allah is Seer of what they do.}

Calling the Jews to invoke Allah to destroy the Unjust Party

Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas said, “Allah said to His Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, “Say to (them): “If the home of the Hereafter with Allah is indeed for you especially and not for others, of mankind, then long for death if you are truthful.” meaning, ‘Invoke Allah to bring death to the lying camp among the two (Muslims and Jews).’ The Jews declined this offer by the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.” “But they will never long for it because of what their hands have sent before them (i.e. what they have done) And Allah is Aware of the Zalimin (polytheists and wrongdoers)” meaning, “Since they know that they recognize you, and yet disbelieve in you.” Had they wished death that day, no Jew would have remained alive on the face of the earth. Moreover, Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn`Abbas said that,”Then long for death”, means, “Invoke (Allah) for death.” (At-Tabari 2:366) Also, ‘Abdur-Razzaq narrated that  ‘Ikrimah said that Ibn ‘Abbas commented, “Then long for death if you are truthful”, “Had the Jews invoked Allah for death, they would have perished.” (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:285) Also, Ibn Abi Hatim recorded Sa’id bin Jubayr saying that Ibn ‘Abbas said, “Had the Jews asked for death, one of them would have choked on his own saliva.” (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:284) These statements have authentic chains of narration up to Ibn ‘Abbas. Further, Ibn Jarir said in his Tafsir, “We were told that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Had the Jews wished for death, they would have died and seen their seats in the Fire. And, those who invoked such curse against Allah’s Messenger would have found no families or property had they returned to their homes.” (At-Tabari 2:362)

Similar to this Ayah is Allah’s statement in Surah Al-Jumuah,

“(Say (O Muhammad ): “O you Jews! If you pretend that you are friends of Allah, to the exclusion of (all) other mankind, then long for death if you are truthful. ”But they will never long for it (death), because of what (deeds) their hands have sent before them! And Allah knows well the Zalimin. Say (to them): “Verily, the death from which you flee will surely meet you, then you will be sent back to (Allah) the Knower of the unseen and the seen, and He will tell you what you used to do.” (62:6-8).

So they claimed that they are Allah’s sons and loved ones and said, “Only those who are Christian or Jews shall enter Paradise.” Therefore, they were called to invoke Allah to destroy the lying group, be it them or the Muslims. When the Jews declined, every one was sure of their wrong, for had they been sure of their claims, then they would have accepted the proposal. Their lies were thus exposed after they declined the offer to invoke the curse.

Similarly, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, called a delegation of Najran’s Christians to curse after he refuted them in a debate in which they demonstrated stubbornness and defiance. Allah said,

“Then whoever disputes with you concerning him (‘Isa) after (all this) knowledge that has come to you (i.e. ‘Isa) being a servant of Allah, and having no share in divinity), say (O Muhammad ): “Come, let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves – then we pray and invoke (sincerely) the curse of Allah upon those who lie.” (3:61).

When the Christians heard this challenge, some of them said to each other, “By Allah! If you do such with this Prophet, none of you will have an eye that blinks.” This is when they resorted to peace and gave the Jizyah (tax) in disgrace. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, accepted the Jizyah from them and sent Abu ‘Ubaydah bin Al-Jarrah with them as a trustee. Similar to this meaning is Allah’s command to His Prophet to proclaim to the polytheists:

“Say (O Muhammad ) whoever is in error, the Most Gracious (Allah) will prolong him (in it)” (19:75)

meaning, “Whoever among us has deviated, may Allah increase and prolong his deviation.” We will mention this subject later, Allah willing.

The Mubahalah (invocation to Allah to destroy the liars) was called a ‘wish’ here, because every just person wishes that Allah destroy the unjust opponent who is debating with him, especially when the just person has a clear, apparent proof for the truth he is calling to. Also, the Mubahalah involves invoking Allah for death of the unjust group, because to disbelievers, life is the biggest prize, especially when they know the evil destination they will meet after death.

{95. But they will never long for it because of what their hands have sent before them (i.e. what they have done). And Allah is Aware of the Zalimin .

96. And verily, you will find them (the Jews) the greediest of mankind for life and (even greedier) than those who ascribe partners to Allah. One of them wishes that he could be given a life of a thousand years. But the grant of such life will not save him even a little from (due) punishment. And Allah is Seer of what they do.}

Disbelievers wish They could live longer

Allah said next, “But they will never long for it because of what their hands have sent before them (i.e.what they have done). And Allah is Aware of the Zalimin. And verily, you will find them (the Jews) the greediest of mankind for life.” meaning, greedy to live longer, because they know their evil end, and the only reward they will have with Allah is total loss. This life is a prison for the believer and Paradise for the disbeliever. Therefore, the People of the Book wish they could delay the Hereafter, as much as possible. However, they shall certainly meet what they are trying to avoid, even if they are more eager to delay the Hereafter than the polytheists who do not have a divine book.

Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas commented on, “But the grant of such life will not save him even a little from (due) punishment.” “Long life shall not save them from torment. Certainly, the polytheists do not believe in resurrection after death, and they would love to enjoy a long life. The Jews know the humiliation they will suffer in the Hereafter for knowingly ignoring the truth.” Also, ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said, “The Jews are most eager for this life. They wish they could live for a thousand years. However, living for a thousand years will not save them from torment, just as Iblis’ – Satan – long life did not benefit him, due to being a disbeliever.” “And Allah is Seer of what they do” meaning, “Allah knows what His servants are doing, whether good or evil, and will compensate each of them accordingly.”

 

{97. Say (O Muhammad ): “Whoever is an enemy to Jibril (Gabriel) (let him die in his fury), for indeed he has brought it (this Qur’an) down to your heart by Allah’s permission, confirming what came before it (i.e. the Tawrah and the Injil) and guidance and glad tidings for the believers

98. “Whoever is an enemy to Allah, His Angels, His Messengers, Jibril and Mika’il, then verily, Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers.”}

 

The Jews are the Enemies of Jibril

Imam Abu Ja’far bin Jarir At-Tabari said, “The scholars of Tafsir agree that this Ayah (2: 97-98) was revealed in response to the Jews who claimed that Jibril (Gabriel) is an enemy of the Jews and that Mika’il (Michael) is their friend.” (At-Tabari 2:377) Al-Bukhari said, “Allah said, “Whoever is an enemy of Jibril (let him die in his fury)”. ‘Ikrimah said, “Jibr, Mik and Israf all mean, worshipper, while ‘il’ means, Allah”.

Anas bin Malik said, “When ‘Abdullah bin Salam heard of the arrival of the Prophet in Al-Madinah, he was working on his land. He came to the Prophet,  peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and said, ‘I am going to ask you about three things which nobody knows except a Prophet. What will be the first portent of the Hour? What will be the first meal taken by the people of Paradise? Why does a child resemble its father, and why does it resemble its maternal uncle?’ Allah’s Messenger said,“Jibril has just told me the answers.” Abdullah said, ‘He (i.e. Jibril), among all the angels, is the enemy of the Jews.’ Allah’s Messenger recited the Ayah, “Whoever is an enemy to Jibril (Gabriel) (let him die in his fury), for indeed he has brought it (this Qur’an) down to your heart”. Allah’s Messenger then said,

“The first portent of the Hour will be a fire that will bring together the people from the east to the west; the first meal of the people of Paradise will be the caudate lobe of the liver of fish. As for the child resembling his parents: If a man has sexual intercourse with his wife and his discharge is first, the child will resemble the father. If the woman has a discharge first, the child will resemble her side of the family.”

On that ‘Abdullah bin Salam said, ‘I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and you are the Messenger of Allah.’ Abdullah bin Salam further said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! The Jews are liars, and if they should come to know about my conversion to Islam before you ask them (about me), they will tell a lie about me.’ The Jews came to Allah’s Messenger peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and ‘Abdullah went inside the house. Allah’s Messenger asked (the Jews), ‘What kind of man is ‘Abdullah bin Salam?’ They replied, ‘He is the best among us, the son of the best among us, our master and the son of our master.’ Allah’s Messenger peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, “What do you think if he would embrace Islam?” The Jews said, ‘May Allah save him from it.’ Then ‘Abdullah bin Salam came out in front of them saying, ‘I testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.’ Thereupon they said, ‘He is the evilest among us, and the son of the evilest among us.’ And they continued talking badly about him. Ibn Salam said, ‘This is what I feared, O Messenger of Allah!.”’ (Fath Al-Bari 8:15)

Some people say that ‘il’ means worshipper while whatever word that is added to it becomes Allah’s Name, because ‘il’ is a constant in such conjunction. This is similar to the names ‘Abdullah, ‘Abdur-Rahman, ‘Abdul-Malik, ‘Abdul-Quddus, ‘Abdus-Salam, ‘Abdul-Kafi, ‘Abdul-Jalil, and so forth. Hence, ‘Abd’ is constant in these compound names, while the remainder differs from name to name. This is the same case with Jibril, Mika’il, ‘Azra’il, Israfil, and so forth. Allah knows best.

Choosing Some Angels to believe in over Others is Disbelief like choosing Some Prophets over Others

Allah said, “Whoever is an enemy to Jibril (Gabriel) (let him die in his fury), for indeed he has brought it (this Qur’an) down to your heart by Allah’s permission,” meaning, whoever becomes an enemy of Jibril, let him know that he is Ruh Al-Qudus who brought down the Glorious Dhikr (Qur’an) to your heart from Allah by His leave. Hence, he is a messenger from Allah. Whoever takes a messenger as an enemy, will have taken all the messengers as enemies. Further, whoever believes in one messenger, is required to believe in all of the messengers. Whoever rejects one messenger, he has rejected all of the messengers. Similarly, Allah said,

“Verily, those who disbelieve in Allah and His Messengers and wish to make distinction between Allah and His Messengers (by believing in Allah and disbelieving in His Messengers) saying, “We believe in some but reject others.” (4:150)

Allah decreed that they are disbelievers, because they believe in some Prophets and reject others. This is the same with those who take Jibril as an enemy, because Jibril did not choose missions on his own, but by the command of his Lord,

“And we (angels) descend not except by the command of your Lord” (19: 64), and,

“And truly, this (the Qur’an) is a revelation from the Lord of all that exists. Which the trustworthy Ruh (Jibril) has brought down. Upon your heart (O Muhammad ) that you may be (one) of the warners” (26:192-194).

Al-Bukhari reported that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him said,

“Allah said, ‘Whoever takes a friend of Mine as an enemy, will have started a war with Me.” (Fath Al-Bari 11:348)

Therefore, Allah became angry with those who took Jibril as an enemy. Allah said, “Whoever is an enemy to Jibril (Gabriel) (let him die in his fury), for indeed he has brought it (this Qur’an) down to your heart by Allah’s permission, confirming what came before it” meaning, the previous Books, “and guidance and glad tidings for the believers” meaning, as guidance to their hearts and bringer of the good news of Paradise, which is exclusively for the believers. Similarly, Allah said,

 “Say: “It is for those who believe, a guide and a healing.” (41:44), and,

“And We send down of the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe” (17:82).

Allah then said, “Whoever is an enemy to Allah, His Angels, His Messengers, Jibril and Mika’il (Michael), then verily, Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers.” Allah stated that whoever takes Him, His angels and messengers as enemies, then…Allah’s messengers include angels and men, for Allah said,

“Allah chooses Messengers from angels and from men” (22:75).

Allah said, “Jibril (Gabriel) and Mika’il (Michael)”. Allah mentioned Jibril and Mika’il specifically – although they are included among the angels who were messengers – only because this Ayah was meant to support Jibril the emissary between Allah and His Prophets. Allah also mentioned Mika’il here, because the Jews claimed that Jibril was their enemy and Mika’il was their friend. Allah informed them that whoever is an enemy of either of them, then he is also an enemy of the other as well as Allah. We should state here that Mika’il sometimes descended to some of Allah’s Prophets, although to a lesser extent than Jibril, because this was primarily Jibril’s task, and Israfil is entrusted with the job of blowing the Trumpet for the commencement of Resurrection on the Day of Judgment. It is recorded in the Sahih that whenever the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, would wake up at night, he would supplicate,

“O Allah, Lord of Jibril, Mika’il and Israfil, Creator of the heavens and earth and Knower of the seen and the unseen! You judge between Your servants regarding what they differ in, so direct me to the truth which they differ on, by Your leave. Verily, You guide whom You will to the straight path.” (Muslim 1:534)

Allah’s statement, “then verily, Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers” informed the disbelievers that whoever takes a friend of Allah as an enemy, then he has taken Allah as an enemy, and whoever treats Allah as an enemy, then he shall be Allah’s enemy. Indeed, whoever is an enemy of Allah then he will lose in this life and the Hereafter, as stated earlier; “Whoever takes a friend of Mine as an enemy, I shall wage war on him.”

 

 

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