Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayaat 181 – 184
The subject matter shifts from lessons from the Battle of Uhud to the attitude of the people to whom Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala had given the Book and knowledge. He says,
Background of the Ayah 181
Sa’eed ibn Jubayr said that Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu said when the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam recited, “Who is it that would loan Allah a goodly loan so He may multiply it for him many times over?” (al-Baqarah 2: 245), the Jews said, “O Muhammad! Has your Lord become poor so that He asks His servants to give Him a loan?”
(We seek refuge in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala from uttering or entertaining such thoughts, ameen.)
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala responded to them by saying, “Allah has certainly heard the statement of those who said, ‘Indeed, Allah is poor, while we are rich.’”
Notice that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala does not provide any explanations that why He is asking for a “loan,” He only mentions that their statement has been heard and now it is on record. He says, “We will record what they said and their killing of the prophets without right…”
Ibn Katheer comments that this statement contains a threat and warning from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala that their actions are not being ignored. They are on record and they will be held accountable for their actions and statement.
Recall that in the previous ayah we have read that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is the Inheritor of everything that is between the heavens and the earth. He does not need anyone’s wealth or help. It is for our own benefit that we are not attached to our wealth and belongings and give in His way whenever there is a call or need to give.
Another crime of the Jews was that they would kill the prophets of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. They killed Yahya ‘alayhi salaam and tried to kill ‘Eesa ‘alayhi salaam but he was raised to the heavens before they could reach him.
They will be punished with the punishment of the Burning Fire because they called it upon themselves. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is not unjust. He gives us warnings and wakeup calls to take heed and mend our ways, but when we ignore His warnings then eventually we are disgraced and punished.
In ayah 184, we come across another false accusation of the Jews who came up with an excuse to reject the prophethood the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Their contention was that during the period of the past prophets there used to a method under which charities and offerings were placed in the center of an open ground or on top of a hill where the heavenly fire came and burned these to ashes. This used to symbolize that the offerings were accepted.
Remember that we have shared previously that every nation had a Shar’iah (or law) that were suitable for their time. So for the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his Ummah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala did not choose this method of accepting someone’s charity. The charity is to be given to the poor and needy Muslims in one’s community.
Since the Shar’iah changed, it gave the disbelievers an excuse to say: If you were a true prophet, you too would have been given the miracle whereby the heavenly fire would have consumed the offerings and charities.
They did not stop here but fabricated lies and said,
الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَهِدَ إِلَيْنَا أَلَّا نُؤْمِنَ لِرَسُولٍ حَتَّىٰ يَأْتِيَنَا بِقُرْبَانٍ تَأْكُلُهُ النَّارُ ۗ
“Indeed, Allah has taken our promise not to believe any messenger until he brings us an offering which fire [from heaven] will consume.”
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala refuted their claim that in their Books, He took a covenant from them to only believe in the Messenger whose miracles include fire coming down from the sky that consumes the charity offered by a member of the Messenger’s nation.
Since this claim was false there was no need to counter it. So, to disarm them through their proven saying Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala replied, “Say, ‘There have already come to you messengers before me with clear proofs and [even] that of which you speak. So why did you kill them, if you should be truthful?’”
It means if you are true in saying that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has taken such a pledge from you, then the past prophets who had obliged you by showing the miracle of your choice whereby the heavenly fire consumed the offerings certainly deserved that you should have at least believed in them. But what actually happened? You did not spare them either. You denied them and went to the extreme of transgression by killing them.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then comforts Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, “Then if they deny you, [O Muhammad] – so were messengers denied before you, who brought clear proofs and written ordinances and the enlightening Scripture.”
It means do not be sad because they deny, for this is something faced by all the prophets in the past. These messengers were rejected although they brought clear proofs, plain evidence, unequivocal signs, the divinely revealed Books and the clarification and the best explanation.
We should be careful about the statements that we utter even in private. We may believe no one is listening but remember Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is always there, watching and listening.
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