The Jews Say that Allah’s Hands are Tied
In this ayah, we read about an offensive and utterly undignified remark of Jews concerning Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. The Jews described Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala as stingy and miser. They claimed that Allah is poor while they are rich.
Before we proceed, a little background about the ayah:
The Jews of Madina were affluent people by the Will of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. But when they rejected Prophet’s call to Islam, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala as a punishment withheld His blessings and poverty was struck upon them. Thereupon, being frustrated by their circumstances they started uttering words to the effect that Divine treasure seems to be running short or, perhaps, Allah has chosen to become miserly [a’uthoobillah].
In answer to their comments, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala revealed this ayah and said,
وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ يَدُ اللَّهِ مَغْلُولَةٌ
The Jews say: “Allah’s Hand is tied up.”
The word maghloola is from the root letters ghain-laam-laam; ghala means to insert something into another, put a lock around someone’s wrist or neck, collar, shackle, fetter or bind someone. Maghloola is the one being tied up.
Ali ibn Abi Talhah reported that ibn Abbas radhiAllahu anhu commented about this ayah, “They do not mean that Allah’s Hand is literally tied up. Rather, they mean that He is a miser and does not spend from what He has. Allah is far holier than what they attribute to Him.”
Ikrimah said that this ayah was revealed about Finhas, one of the Jews, for which he was smacked by Abu Bakr radhiAllahu anhu. Finhas’s statement has been recorded in Surah ale-Imran ayah 181. He said,
إِنَّ اللَّهَ فَقِيرٌ وَنَحْنُ أَغْنِيَآءُ
“Truly, Allah is poor and we are rich!”
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala refuted what the Jews attributed to Him and cursed them in retaliation for their lies and fabrications about Him.
غُلَّتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَلُعِنُواْ بِمَا قَالُواْ بَلْ يَدَاهُ مَبْسُوطَتَانِ يُنفِقُ كَيْفَ يَشَآءُ
Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for what they uttered. Nay, both His Hands are widely outstretched. He spends as He wills.
The hands to be tied up will be their own hands who are saying what they are saying and cursed they shall be in the Hereafter, and in the present world as well in the form of disgrace.
As for the Hands of Allah, they are always opens and well-extended, and His generosity has been there since ever and shall remain forever. He Himself is Independent, free of need, yet the Master of all means. Means are extended for whom He wills in His Wisdom and means are straightened for whom He wills in His Wisdom.
What Allah said occurred, for the Jews are indeed miserly, envious, cowards and tremendously humiliated. Allah said in Surah an-Nisa ayaat 53 and 54,
أَمْ لَهُمْ نَصِيبٌ مِّنَ الْمُلْكِ فَإِذاً لاَّ يُؤْتُونَ النَّاسَ نَقِيراً – أَمْ يَحْسُدُونَ النَّاسَ عَلَى مَآ ءَاتَـهُمُ اللَّهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ فَقَدْ ءَاتَيْنَآ ءَالَ إِبْرَهِيمَ الْكِتَـبَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَءَاتَيْنَـهُمْ مُّلْكاً عَظِيماً
Or have they a share in the dominion? Then in that case they would not give mankind even a Naqeer. Or do they envy men for what Allah has given them of His bounty? Then, We had already given the family of Ibraheem the Book and the Hikmah, and conferred upon them a great kingdom.
He also said in Surah ale-Imran ayah 112,
ضُرِبَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ الذِّلَّةُ
Indignity is put over them.
Allah’s favors are ample, His bounty unlimited, as He owns the treasures of everything. Any good that reaches His servants is from Him alone, without partners. He has created everything that we need by night or by day, while traveling or at home and in all situations and conditions. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said in Surah Ibraheem ayah 34,
وَآتَاكُم مِّن كُلِّ مَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُ وَإِن تَعُدُّواْ نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ لاَ تُحْصُوهَا إِنَّ الإنْسَانَ لَظَلُومٌ كَفَّارٌ
And He gave you of all that you asked for, and if you count the blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them. Indeed, mankind is [generally] most unjust and ungrateful.
There are many other ayaat on this subject. Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal said that Abdur-Razzaq narrated to him that Ma`mar said that Hammam bin Munabbih said, “This is what Abu Hurayrah radhiAllahu anhu narrated to us that the Messenger of Allah sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam said,
إِنَّ يَمِينَ اللهِ مَلْأَى، لَا يَغِيضُهَا نَفَقَةٌ، سَحَّاءُ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ، أَرَأَيْتُمْ مَا أَنْفَقَ مُنْذُ خَلَقَ السَّموَات وَالْأَرْضَ، فَإِنَّهُ لَمْ يَغِضْ مَا فِي يَمِينِهِ قال : وَعَرْشُهُ عَلَى الْمَاءِ، وَفِي يَدِهِ الْأَخُرى الْقَبْضُ يَرْفَعُ وَيَخْفِض
“Allah’s Right Hand is perfectly full, and no amount of spending can decrease what He has, even though He spends by night and by day. Do you see how much Allah has spent since He created the heavens and earth? Yet surely it has not decreased what He has in His Right Hand. His Throne is over the water and in His Other Hand is the hold by which He raises and lowers.” He also said,
قُولُ اللهُ تَعَالى
أَنْفِقْ، أُنْفِقْ عَلَيْك
Allah said, “Spend and I will spend on you.” This hadeeth was recorded in the two saheehs.