بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Ayaat 75 – 77 – Little Hope for the Jews of Madina to believe
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala asks the believers if they expect that the Jews to accept Islam. How can they? They were the people who modified their Book; they disrespected their prophets and killed some of them. How could they then believe in and respect Prophet Muhammad ﷺ? They are the deviant sect of Jews whose fathers witnessed the clear signs, but their hearts became hard afterward. They used to hear the Word of Allah and change it according to what pleased their hearts. [Today, some Muslims who cannot submit to the commands of the Qur’an say, there is a need to make amendments in the Qur’an (a’oothubillah). They do not ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for understanding of the Book rather they want to make changes according to what pleases their hearts. We seek Allah’s protection from such an attitude.]
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “…a party of them used to hear the words of Allah and then distort the Torah after they had understood it.” Mujahid commented that ‘a party’ here means the scholar or the Jewish Rabbis. They understood the Word of Allah (i.e. Torah), but still distorted its meaning and defied the truth. They did so while being fully of their erroneous interpretations and corruptions.
Ibn Zayd said, “They altered the Torah that Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) 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 (subhanahu wa ta’ala) said to them ‘Enjoin you Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and every act of obedience to Allah) on the people and you forget (to practice it) yourselves, while you recite the Scripture (the Torah)! Have you then no sense?’ [Al-Baqarah 2: 44]”
It is important for us Muslims to see where we take our knowledge from. We can neither interpret the Qur’an on our own, nor can we make changes in it. We cannot make lawful what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has forbidden. With deep sadness, we have to say today Muslims parents find no shame in marrying their daughters to an unbeliever. The Qur’an only gives permission to the man to marry a woman other than a Muslim woman. But there are some conditions. For example, she should be from the People of the Book, and not a Mushrik or an atheist. Secondly, she should be chaste. Although there is a permission to marry a woman from the People of the Book, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says that a slave Muslim woman is better than a non-Muslim woman, even if the latter pleases you. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala wants to protect our emaan and is concerned about it. May He guide us, keep us in His protection, teach us the Qur’an as He wants it to be understood, and lead us to that which pleases Him, ameen.
The Jews recognized the Prophet ﷺ, but stubbornly disbelieved in Him
The Jews recognized the Prophet ﷺ as the Last Messenger, his personality matched the description present in their Book (the Torah). When the common Jews would meet the common Muslims or the Companions radhiAllahu ‘anhum, they would acknowledge that indeed, he is the Final Messenger. Why did the Sahabah ask the Jews about the Messenger ﷺ? It was because the Jews were the People of the Book; they were literate people. They knew the signs while many of the Arabs were not as learned as them.
When the common Jews would return to their people, their Rabbis would rebuke them for revealing the truth. They would say, “Do you talk to them about what Allah has revealed to you so they can argue with you about it before your Lord?”
In the Torah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala had described some of the traits of the Last Messenger. A covenant was taken from them that when he arrives they are to follow him. The Jews promised that they would. But when Prophet Muhammad arrived, they denied him. They claimed that he was a messenger sent to the Arabs – the illiterate ones and they will not follow him. As read previously, the Jews were arrogant about their lineage. They called themselves children of God, children of the prophets, the chosen ones, etc. They refused to accept that the Last Messenger has been chosen from the Arabs.
So, when they met the Sahabah radhiAllahu ‘anhum while they would accept Muhammad ﷺ is the Prophet they would say, “He was only sent to you (i.e. the Arabs).” They created confusion.
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 (ﷺ) 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.”
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala responds, “But do they not know that Allah knows what they conceal and what they declare?” meaning the One Who took a covenant from them, the One Who revealed the Torah, the One revealed the Qur’an, and Who sent Muhammad ﷺ is fully aware of their secret acknowledgement and public denial of the truth. We can hide the truth from the people, but how can we hide from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala?
Live an honest public and private life. Learn from authentic resources and only convey that which is the truth. Keep away from following or spreading falsehood.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala show us the truth as truth, and allow us to follow it. May He show us falsehood as falsehood and keep us away from it, ameen.
DOWNLOAD PDF: Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayaat 75-77