Similarly, in a Hadith recorded in the Two Sahihs the Messenger of Allah said,
(`Kibr, is refusing the truth and degrading (belittling) people.)
Imam Ahmad recorded, `Abdullah bin Mas`ud saying that the Messenger of Allah said,
(The people who will receive the most torment on the Day of Resurrection are: a man who was killed by a Prophet or who killed a Prophet, an unjust ruler and one who mutilates (the dead).) Allah's statement,
(That was because they disobeyed and used to transgress the bounds) mentions another reason why the Children of Israel were punished in this manner, for they used to disobey and transgress the limits. Disobedience is to do what is prohibited, while transgression entails overstepping the set limits of what is allowed and what is prohibited. Allah knows best.
(62. Verily, those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians (Sabi'in), whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.)
After Allah described the condition - and punishment - of those who defy His commands, fall into His prohibitions and transgress set limits by committing prohibited acts, He stated that the earlier nations who were righteous and obedient received the rewards for their good deeds. This shall be the case, until the Day of Judgment. Therefore, whoever follows the unlettered Messenger and Prophet shall acquire eternal happiness and shall neither fear from what will happen in the future nor become sad for what has been lost in the past. Similarly, Allah said,
(No doubt! Verily, the Awliya' of Allah, no fear shall come upon them nor shall they grieve) (10:62).
The angels will proclaim to the dying believers, as mentioned,
(Verily, those who say: "Our Lord is Allah (alone),'' and then they stand firm, on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): "Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised!''). (41:30)
`Ali bin Abi Talhah narrated from Ibn `Abbas, about,
(Verily, those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day) that Allah revealed the following Ayah afterwards,
(And whoever seeks religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers) (3:85).
This statement by Ibn `Abbas indicates that Allah does not accept any deed or work from anyone, unless it conforms to the Law of Muhammad that is, after Allah sent Muhammad . Before that, every person who followed the guidance of his own Prophet was on the correct path, following the correct guidance and was saved.
The Jews are the followers of Prophet Musa, who used to refer to the Tawrah for judgment. Yahud is a word that means, `repenting', just as Musa said,
("Who will be my helpers in Allah's cause'' Al-Hawariyyun said: "We are the helpers of Allah.'') (61:14)
It was said that they were called `Nasara', because they inhabited a land called An-Nasirah (Nazareth), as Qatadah, Ibn Jurayj and Ibn `Abbas were reported to have said, Allah knows best. Nasara is certainly plural for Nasran.
When Allah sent Muhammad as the Last and Final Prophet and Messenger to all of the Children of Adam, mankind was required to believe in him, obey him and refrain from what he prohibited them; those who do this are true believers. The Ummah of Muhammad was called `Mu'minin' (believers), because of the depth of their faith and certainty, and because they believe in all of the previous Prophets and matters of the Unseen.
There is a difference of opinion over the identity of the Sabians. Sufyan Ath-Thawri said that Layth bin Abu Sulaym said that Mujahid said that, "The Sabians are between the Majus, the Jews and the Christians. They do not have a specific religion.'' Similar is reported from Ibn Abi Najih. Similar statements were attributed to `Ata' and Sa`id bin Jubayr. They (others) say that the Sabians are a sect among the People of the Book who used to read the Zabur (Psalms), others say that they are a people who worshipped the angels or the stars. It appears that the closest opinion to the truth, and Allah knows best, is Mujahid's statement and those who agree with him like Wahb bin Munabbih, that the Sabians are neither Jews nor Christians nor Majus nor polytheists. Rather, they did not have a specific religion that they followed and enforced, because they remained living according to their Fitrah (instinctual nature). This is why the idolaters used to call whoever embraced Islam a `Sabi', meaning, that he abandoned all religions that existed on the earth. Some scholars stated that the Sabians are those who never received a message by any Prophet. And Allah knows best.
(63. And (O Children of Isra'il, remember) when We took your covenant and We raised above you the Mount (saying): "Hold fast to that which We have given you, and remember that which is therein so that you may acquire Taqwa.) (64. Then after that you turned away. Had it not been for the grace and mercy of Allah upon you, indeed you would have been among the losers.)
Allah reminded the Children of Israel of the pledges, covenants and promises that He took from them to believe in Him alone, without a partner, and follow His Messengers. Allah stated that when He took their pledge from them, He raised the mountain above their heads, so that they affirm the pledge that they gave Allah and abide by it with sincerity and seriousness. Hence, Allah's statement,
(And (remember) when We raised the mountain over them as if it had been a canopy, and they thought that it was going to fall on them. (We said): "Hold firmly to what We have given you (Tawrah), and remember that which is therein (act on its commandments), so that you may fear Allah and obey Him.'') (7:171).
The mount mentioned here is At-Tur, just as it was explained in Surat Al-A`raf, according to the Tafsir of Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, `Ata', `Ikrimah, Al-Hasan, Ad-Dahhak, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and others. This is more obvious. There is another report from Ibn `Abbas saying; `The Tur is a type of mountain that vegetation grows on, if no vegetation grows on it, it is not called Tur.' And in the Hadith about the trials, Ibn `Abbas said; "When they (the Jews) refused to obey, Allah raised the mountain above their heads so that they would listen.''
Al-Hasan said that Allah's statement,
(Hold fast to that which We have given you) means, the Tawrah. Mujahid said that the Ayah commanded, "Strictly adhere to it.'' Abu Al-`Aliyah and Ar-Rabi` said that,
(and remember that which is therein) means, "Read the Tawrah and implement it.'' Allah's statement,
(Then after that you turned away. Had it not been for the grace of Allah) means, "Yet, after the firm pledge that you gave, you still deviated and broke your pledge'';
(Had it not been for the grace and mercy of Allah upon you), meaning, by forgiving you and by sending the Prophets and Messengers to you,
(Indeed you would have been among the losers) meaning, in this life and the Hereafter due to their breach of the covenant.
(65. And indeed you knew those amongst you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath (i.e. Saturday). We said to them: "Be you monkeys, despised and rejected.'') (66. So We made this punishment an example for those in front of it and those behind it, and a lesson for Al-Muttaqin (the pious.)
(And indeed you knew). This Ayah means, O Jews! Remember that Allah sent His torment on the village that disobeyed Him and broke their pledge and their covenant to observe the sanctity of the Sabbath. They began using deceitful means to avoid honoring the Sabbath by placing nets, ropes and artificial pools of water for the purpose of fishing before the Sabbath. When the fish came in abundance on Saturday as usual, they were caught in the ropes and nets for the rest of Saturday. During the night, the Jews collected the fish after the Sabbath ended. When they did that, Allah changed them from humans into monkeys, the animals having the form closest to humans. Their evil deeds and deceit appeared lawful on the surface, but they were in reality wicked. This is why their punishment was compatible with their crime. This story is explained in detail in Surat Al-A`raf, where Allah said (7:163),
(And ask them (O Muhammad) about the town that was by the sea; when they transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath (i.e. Saturday): when their fish came to them openly on the Sabbath day, and did not come to them on the day they had no Sabbath. Thus We made a trial of them, for they used to rebel (disobey Allah).) (7:163)
In his Tafsir, Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said,
(We said to them: "Be you monkeys, despised and rejected'') means, "Allah changed their bodies into those of monkeys and swines. The young people turned into monkeys while the old people turned into swine.'' Shayban An-Nahwi reported that Qatadah commented on,
(We said to them: "Be you monkeys, despised and rejected''), "These people were turned into howling monkeys with tails, after being men and women.''
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "Those who violated the sanctity of the Sabbath were turned into monkeys, then they perished without offspring.'' Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas said, "Allah turned them into monkeys because of their sins. They only lived on the earth for three days, for no transformed person ever lives more than three days. They did not eat, drink or have offspring. Allah transformed their shapes into monkeys, and He does what He wills, with whom He wills and He changes the shape of whomever He wills. On the other hand, Allah created the monkeys, swines and the rest of the creation in the six days (of creation) that He mentioned in His Book.''
(So We made this punishment an example) means, Allah made the people of this village, who violated the sanctity of the Sabbath,
(an example) via the way they were punished. Similarly, Allah said about Pharaoh,
(So Allah, seized him with punishing example for his last and first transgression) (79:25). Allah's statement,
(for those in front of it and those behind it) meaning, for the other villages. Ibn `Abbas commented, "Meaning, `We made this village an example for the villages around it by the manner in which We punished its people.''' Similarly, Allah said,
(And indeed We have destroyed towns (populations) round about you, and We have (repeatedly) shown (them) the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) in various ways that they might return (to the truth and believe in the Oneness of Allah ـ Islamic Monotheism)).(46:27)
Therefore, Allah made them an example for those who lived during their time as well as a reminder for those to come, by preserving their story. This is why Allah said,
(and a lesson for Al-Muttaqin (the pious)), meaning, a reminder. This Ayah means, "The torment and punishment that this village suffered was a result of indulging in Allah's prohibitions and their deceit. Hence, those who have Taqwa should be aware of their evil behavior, so that what occurred to this village does not befall them as well.'' Also, Imam Abu `Abdullah bin Battah reported that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Do not commit what the Jews committed, breaching what Allah has forbidden, by resorting to the lowest types of deceit.)
This Hadith has a good (Jayid) chain of narration. Allah knows best.
(67. And (remember) when Musa said to his people: "Verily, Allah commands you that you slaughter a cow.'' They said, "Do you make fun of us'' He said, "I take Allah's refuge from being among Al-Jahilin (the ignorant or the foolish).'')
Allah said, `O Children of Israel! Remember how I blessed you with miracle of the cow that was the means for discovering the identity of the murderer, when the murdered man was brought back to life.'
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded `Ubaydah As-Salmani saying, "There was a man from among the Children of Israel who was impotent. He had substantial wealth, and only a nephew who would inherit from him. So his nephew killed him and moved his body at night, placing it at the doorstep of a certain man. The next morning, the nephew cried out for revenge, and the people took up their weapons and almost fought each other. The wise men among them said, `Why would you kill each other, while the Messenger of Allah is still among you' So they went to Musa and mentioned the matter to him and Musa said,
("Verily, Allah commands you that you slaughter a cow.'' They said, "Do you make fun of us'' He said, "I take Allah's refuge from being among Al-Jahilin (the ignorant or the foolish)).'' "Had they not disputed, it would have been sufficient for them to slaughter any cow. However, they disputed, and the matter was made more difficult for them, until they ended up looking for the specific cow that they were later ordered to slaughter. They found the designated cow with a man, only who owned that cow. He said, `By Allah! I will only sell it for its skin's fill of gold.' So they paid the cow's fill of its skin in gold, slaughtered it and touched the dead man with a part of it. He stood up, and they asked him, `Who killed you' He said, `That man,' and pointed to his nephew. He died again, and his nephew was not allowed to inherit him. Thereafter, whoever committed murder for the purpose of gaining inheritance was not allowed to inherit.'' Ibn Jarir reported something similar to that. Allah knows best.
(68. They said, "Call upon your Lord for us that He may make plain to us what it is!'' He said, "He says, `Verily, it is a cow neither too old nor too young, but (it is) between the two conditions', so do what you are commanded.'') (69. They said, "Call upon your Lord for us to make plain to us its colour.'' He said, "He says, `It is a yellow cow, bright in its colour, pleasing the beholders.' '') (70. They said, "Call upon your Lord for us to make plain to us what it is. Verily, to us all cows are alike. And surely, if Allah wills, we will be guided.'') (71. He (Musa) said, "He says, `It is a cow neither trained to till the soil nor water the fields, sound, having no blemish in it.' '' They said, "Now you have brought the truth.'' So they slaughtered it though they were near to not doing it.)