The People of the Book are Enraged at the Believers Because of their Faith in Allah
In the previous ayaat, we learned that some of the People of the Book made fun of the Muslims. They mocked at the pillars of Islam. In this ayah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is commanding the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam to ask those who mock and jest about Islam from among the People of the Book what their problem is.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
قُلْ يَـأَهْلَ الْكِتَـبِ هَلْ تَنقِمُونَ مِنَّآ إِلاَّ أَنْ ءَامَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَمَآ أُنزِلَ مِن قَبْلُ وَأَنَّ أَكْثَرَكُمْ فَـسِقُونَ
“Say: ‘O People of the Scripture! Do you criticize us for no other reason than that we believe in Allah, and in what has been sent down to us and in that which has been sent down before (us), and that most of you are rebellious?’”
The word tunqimoon is from the root letters noon-qaf-meem. Naqama means to develop dislike or hatred for someone, to take vengeance from somebody, or to inflict harm.
The Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam is being instructed to ask: Is it because we believe in Allah that you dislike us? Is it because we believe in all the Scriptures the one revealed to us and those revealed before us? Do you have any criticism or cause of blame for us, other than this. Or is it because most of you are sinful? Have you seen your own actions that you are disliking us?
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says in Surah at-Tawbah ayah 74,
وَمَا نَقَمُواْ إِلاَ أَنْ أَغْنَاهُمُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ
“…and they could not find any cause to do so except that Allah and His Messenger had enriched them of His bounty.”
Moreover, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says in Surah al-Buruj ayah 8,
وَمَا نَقَمُواْ مِنْهُمْ إِلاَّ أَن يُؤْمِنُواْ بِاللَّهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَمِيدِ
“And they had no fault except that they believed in Allah, the Almighty, Worthy of all praise!”
– In this ayah we learn about the permissibility of asking the hater what their problem is. If there’s someone who doesn’t show us respect or displays dislike for us then we have the right to ask. Asking serves two purposes; it helps us identify our own mistakes and shortcomings and secondly, it tells us if the other person is envious of him. When the problem is within us we can fix it. And if they are envious of us our asking will make them conscious of their attitude.
– Those people who are envious of ahlul-khair [the ones who do good] have no reason to justify their envy. There may be a righteous scholar spreading khair but there are people writing articles against him and spreading propaganda.
– People who hate others are fasiqoon themselves. They are sinful and those who cross the limits therefore, they cannot see other people doing any good either.