يَـبَنِى إِسْرَءِيلَ اذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَتِيَ الَّتِى أَنْعَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَأَوْفُواْ بِعَهْدِى أُوفِ بِعَهْدِكُمْ وَإِيَّـىَ فَارْهَبُونِ – وَءَامِنُواْ بِمَآ أَنزَلْتُ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا مَعَكُمْ وَلاَ تَكُونُواْ أَوَّلَ كَافِرٍ بِهِ وَلاَ تَشْتَرُواْ بِآيَـتِي ثَمَنًا قَلِيلاً وَإِيَّـىَ فَاتَّقُونِ
And believe in what I have sent down confirming that which is [already] with you, and be not the first to disbelieve in it. And do not exchange My signs for a small price, and fear [only] Me.
This ayah reminds the children of Israel that the Qur’an which is sent down to Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the unlettered Arab Prophet, is a bringer of glad tidings, a warner and a light. The Qur’an contains the Truth from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and affirms what was revealed beforehand in the Tawrah and the Injil (the Gospel).
It asks the Israelites not to be the first to deny the Quran, although being a disbeliever is in itself the ultimate sin, whether one be the first or the last. This ayat, in fact, suggests that the man who is the first to deny and disbelieve will not only incur the sin of his own denial but also bear the additional burden of the sin of misleading all those who follow his example; and will thus have to undergo a multiple punishment. It follows from here that the man who is in any way responsible for others falling into any kind of sin will have to bear the burden of this sin along with the sinners; similarly, the man who in some way helps others to do a good deed will receive a reward for it along with them. Several ayaat of the Quran and the ahadeeth of the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam repeatedly stress this point.
وَلاَ تَشْتَرُواْ بِآيَـتِي ثَمَنًا قَلِيلاً
It 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.
It also warns the Israelites against taking a paltry price for His signs or ayaat (the Arabic word, Ayaat has both meanings). The context makes it clear that it is forbidden to take money from people by misinterpreting or concealing the ayaat of the Book of Allah in order to please them or to serve their worldly interests. There is an absolute consensus of the Ummah on this point.