Al-Maidah · Juz 6 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah al-Ma’idah Ayah 62 and 63

The Moral Loss of Jews

In this ayah, moral depravation and self-destructive attitude of many Jews has been mentioned. By using the term “many” it has be clarified that this is not the attitude of all of the Jews rather majority of them are such.

وَتَرَى كَثِيراً مِّنْهُمْ يُسَـرِعُونَ فِى الإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ وَأَكْلِهِمُ السُّحْتَ لَبِئْسَ مَا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ

“And you see many of them hurrying for sin and transgression, and eating illegal things. Evil indeed is that which they have been doing.”

The word yusarioona is from the root letters seen-ra-ayn; it means to hasten, be quick, swift or prompt. Ism refers to the sins committed against Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala while udwaan refers to the sins committed against people.

We will see many Jews rushing towards sins that are against the haq of Allah and that of people. They hurry to devour prohibited and illegal things, unjustly consuming other people’s properties through brides and riba.

The word suht refers to any earning earned through unlawful means whether it’s through theft, riba or bribe. There’s no barakah in such wealth. It destroys the halal wealth that a person has earned before. If a person earns his earning through halal means then deposits his money in an interest-bearing bank account all his halal earning will be corrupted even if the interest that he is getting is only 1%.

In this ayah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has identified three evils: ism, udwaan, and eating of suht. He calls it a horrible thing to do.

Ayah 63

In ayah 63, the Rabbis and scholars of the Jews have been sternly warned as to why would they not stop such people from evil deeds.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,

لَوْلاَ يَنْهَـهُمُ الرَّبَّـنِيُّونَ وَالاٌّحْبَارُ عَن قَوْلِهِمُ الإِثْمَ وَأَكْلِهِمُ السُّحْتَ لَبِئْسَ مَا كَانُواْ يَصْنَعُونَ 

“Why do not the Rabbaniyyun and the Ahbar forbid them from uttering sinful words and from eating illegal things. Evil indeed is that which they have been performing.”

The word yanhahumu is from the root letters noon-ha-ya; it means to prevent, forbid, make one stop from , or hinder.

The word rabbani refers to a religious scholar – one who trains or does tarbiyyah whether he is an aalim or not. He teaches the manners and etiquette regardless of how qualified he is. While the ahbar are the scholars.

It is the responsibility of scholars to teach people what to do and what not to do. So, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is asking these are the people who possess knowledge then why don’t they correct their people?

Sinful speech refers to uttering lies about Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, for example, the Jews said Uzair ibn Allah and the Christians said Eesa ibn Allah. Most of the words that they uttered were to cause hurt to the Muslims, but they didn’t realize they are abusing the same God that they too worship so why didn’t their scholars stop them?

Sinful speech also includes innovating things in religion, denying a Messenger, foul speech, mocking other people, spreading false propaganda. Any sinful speech that a person utters, he will be accountable for it.

Why didn’t the rabbis stop them? It is because they wanted to retain their leadership position. Moreover, they themselves were involved in these sins.

Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn Abbas radhiAllahu anhu said, “There is no Ayah in the Qur’an that has more severe admonition than this ayah.”

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Yahya bin Yamar said, “Ali bin Abi Talib once gave a speech, which he started by praising Allah and thanking Him. He then said, ‘O people! Those who were before you were destroyed because they committed sins and the Rabbaniyyun and Ahbar did not forbid them from evil. When they persisted in sin, they were overcome by punishment. Therefore, enjoin righteousness and forbid evil before what they suffered also strikes you. Know that enjoining righteousness and forbidding evil does not reduce the provision or shorten the term of life.’”

Imam Ahmad recorded that Jarir said that the Messenger of Allah sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam said,

مَا مِنْ قَوْمٍ يَكُونُ بَيْنَ أَظْهُرِهِمْ مَنْ يَعْمَلُ بِالْمَعَاصِي هُمْ أَعَزُّ مِنْهُ وَأَمْنَعُ، وَلَمْ يُغَيِّرُوا إِلَّا أَصَابَهُمُ اللهُ مِنْهُ بِعَذَاب

“There is no people among whom there are those who commit sins, while the rest are more powerful and mightier than the sinners, yet they do not stop them, but Allah will send a punishment upon them.”

Abu Dawud recorded it ibn Jareer said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam saying,

مَا مِنْ رَجُلٍ يَكُونُ فِي قَوْمٍ يُعْمَلُ فِيهِمْ بِالْمَعَاصِي، يَقْدِرُونَ أَنْ يُغَيِّرُوا عَلَيْهِ، فَلَا يُغَيِّرُوا إِلَّا أَصَابَهُمُ اللهُ بِعِقَابٍ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَمُوتُوا

“There is no one who resides among people committing evil among them, and they do not stop him though they are able to do so, but Allah will punish them (all) before they die.” Ibn Majah also recorded this hadeeth.


– We learn about four characteristics against which there is severe warning. These traits are, transgression against Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and His people, eating unlawful things and uttering sinful speech. This is an evil thing.

– We learn about the responsibility of a scholar, trainer, or teacher is that he admonishes people. Writing articles or books is not enough, but he must stop people from committed the wrong. His knowledge is not of any benefit if he doesn’t convey it to the people.

– When Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala asked the angels to destroy a certain town. The angel said that there lived in that town a devoted servant of His busy praying to Him. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said, “Let him too taste the punishment because he never showed his anger against people disobeying Us and committing sins openly, not even with a sign of it on his face.”

– The responsibility of the learned is not to keep the knowledge within himself.

– The fear of losing one’s position in the society by speaking the right thing is not acceptable. We should not worry about our prestige or rank, our responsibility is to correct them.


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