Allah states that because of the injustice and transgression of the Jews, demonstrated by committing major sins, He prohibited some of the lawful, pure things which were previously allowed for them. This prohibition could be only that of decree, meaning that Allah allowed the Jews to falsely interpret their Book and change and alter the information about what was allowed for them. They thus, out of exaggeration and extremism in the religion, prohibited some things for themselves. It could also mean that in the Tawrah, Allah prohibited things that were allowed for them before. Allah said,
(All food was lawful to the Children of Israel, except what Isra'il made unlawful for himself before the Tawrah was revealed.) We mentioned this Ayah before, which means that all types of food were allowed for the Children of Israel before the Tawrah was revealed, except the camel's meat and milk that Isra'il prohibited for himself. Later, Allah prohibited many things in the Tawrah. Allah said in Surat Al-An`am (chapter 6),
(And unto those who are Jews, We forbade every (animal) with undivided hoof, and We forbade them the fat of the ox and the sheep except what adheres to their backs or their entrails, or is mixed up with a bone. Thus We recompensed them for their rebellion. And verily, We are Truthful.) This means, We prohibited these things for them because they deserved it due to their transgression, injustice, defying their Messenger and disputing with him. So Allah said;
(For the wrongdoing of the Jews, We made unlawful to them certain good foods which had been lawful to them, and for their hindering many from Allah's way.) This Ayah states that they hindered themselves and others from following the truth, and this is the behavior that they brought from the past to the present. This is why they were and still are the enemies of the Messengers, killing many of the Prophets. They also denied Muhammad and `Isa, peace be upon them. Allah said,
(And their taking of Riba' though they were forbidden from taking it,) Allah prohibited them from taking Riba', yet they did so using various kinds of tricks, ploys and cons, thus devouring people's property unjustly. Allah said,
(And We have prepared for the disbelievers among them a painful torment. ) Allah then said,
(But those among them who are well-grounded in knowledge...) firm in the religion and full of beneficial knowledge. We mentioned this subject when we explained Surah Al `Imran (3). The Ayah;
(and the believers...) refers to the well-grounded in knowledge;
(believe in what has been sent down to you and what was sent down before you;) Ibn `Abbas said, "This Ayah was revealed concerning `Abdullah bin Salam, Tha`labah bin Sa`yah, Zayd bin Sa`yah and Asad bin `Ubayd who embraced Islam and believed what Allah sent Muhammad with. Allah said,
(and give Zakah,) This could be referring to the obligatory charity due on one's wealth and property, or those who purify themselves, or both. Allah knows best.
(and believe in Allah and in the Last Day,) They believe that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, believe in Resurrection after death and the reward or punishment for the good or evil deeds. Allah's statement,
(It is they,) those whom the Ayah described above,
(To whom We shall give a great reward.) means Paradise.
(163. Verily, We have sent the revelation to you as We sent the revelation to Nuh and the Prophets after him; We (also) sent the revelation to Ibrahim, Isma`il, Ishaq, Ya`qub, and Al-Asbat, (the offspring of the twelve sons of Ya`qub) `Isa, Ayyub, Yunus, Harun, and Sulayman; and to Dawud We gave the Zabur.) (164. And Messengers We have mentioned to you before, and Messengers We have not mentioned to you, and to Musa Allah spoke directly.) (165. Messengers as bearers of good news and warning, in order that mankind should have no plea against Allah after the (coming of) Messengers. And Allah is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise.)
Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Muhammad bin Abi Muhammad said that `Ikrimah, or Sa`id bin Jubayr, related to Ibn `Abbas that he said, "Sukayn and `Adi bin Zayd said, `O Muhammad! We do not know that Allah sent down anything to any human after Musa.' Allah sent down a rebuttal of their statement,
(Verily, We have inspired you (O Muhammad) as We inspired Nuh and the Prophets after him.)'' Allah states that He sent down revelation to His servant and Messenger Muhammad just as He sent down revelation to previous Prophets. Allah said,
(Verily, We have inspired you (O Muhammad) as We inspired Nuh and the Prophets after him,) until,
(...and to Dawud We gave the Zabur. ) The `Zabur' (Psalms) is the name of the Book revealed to Prophet Dawud, peace be upon him.
(And Messengers We have mentioned to you before, and Messengers We have not mentioned to you) Before the revelation of this Ayah. The following are the names of the Prophets whom Allah named in the Qur'an. They are: Adam, Idris, Nuh (Noah), Hud, Salih, Ibrahim (Abraham), Lut, Isma`il (Ishmael), Ishaq (Isaac), Ya`qub (Jacob), Yusuf (Joseph), Ayyub (Job), Shu`ayb, Musa (Moses), Harun (Aaron), Yunus (Jonah), Dawud (David), Sulayman (Solomon), Ilyas (Elias), Al-Yasa` (Elisha), Zakariya (Zachariya), Yahya (John) and `Isa (Jesus), and their leader, Muhammad . Several scholars of Tafsir also listed Dhul-Kifl among the Prophets. Allah's statement,
(and Messengers We have not mentioned to you,) means, `there are other Prophets whom We did not mention to you in the Qur'an.'
(and to Musa Allah spoke directly.) This is an honor to Musa, and this is why he is called the Kalim, he whom Allah spoke to directly. Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr bin Marduwyah recorded that `Abdul-Jabbar bin `Abdullah said, "A man came to Abu Bakr bin `Ayyash and said, `I heard a man recite (this Ayah this way): وَكَلَّمَ اللَّهَ مُوسَى تَكلِيمًا "and to Allah, Musa spoke directly.'' Abu Bakr said, `Only a disbeliever would recite it like this.' Al-A`mash recited it with Yahya bin Withab, who recited it with Abu `Abdur-Rahman As-Sulami who recited it with `Ali bin Abi Talib who recited with the Messenger of Allah ,
(and to Musa Allah spoke directly.)''' Abu Bakr bin Abi Ayyash was so angry with the man who recited the Ayah differently, because he altered its words and meanings. That person was from the group of Mu`tazilah who denied that Allah spoke to Musa or that He speaks to any of His creation. We were told that some of the Mu`tazilah once recited the Ayah that way, so one teacher present said to him, "O son of a stinking woman! What would you do concerning Allah's statement,
(And when Musa came at the time and place appointed by Us, and his Lord spoke to him,) (7:143)'' The Shaykh meant that the later Ayah cannot be altered or changed.
(Messengers as bearers of good news as well as of warning,) meaning, the Prophets bring good news to those who obey Allah and practice the good things that please Him. They also warn against His punishment and torment for those who defy His commandments. Allah said next,
(in order that mankind should have no plea against Allah after the Messengers. And Allah is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise.) Allah sent down His Books and sent His Messengers with good news and warnings. He explained what He likes and is pleased with and what He dislikes and is displeased with. This way, no one will have an excuse with Allah. Allah said in other Ayat,
(And if We had destroyed them with a torment before this, they would surely have said: "Our Lord! If only You had sent us a Messenger, we should certainly have followed Your Ayat, before we were humiliated and disgraced.'') and,
(And if (We had) not (sent you to the people of Makkah) in case a calamity should seize them for (the deeds) that their hands have sent forth. ) It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that Ibn Mas`ud said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(No one is more jealous than Allah. This is why He prohibited all types of sin committed in public or secret. No one likes praise more than Allah, and this is why He has praised Himself. No one likes to give excuse more than Allah, and this is why He sent the Prophets as bearers of good news and as warners.) In another narration, the Prophet said,
(And this is why He sent His Messengers and revealed His Books.)
(166. But Allah bears witness to that which He has sent down unto you; He has sent it down with His knowledge, and the angels bear witness. And Allah is All-Sufficient as a Witness.) (167. Verily, those who disbelieve and prevent (others) from the path of Allah; they have certainly strayed far away.) (168. Verily, those who disbelieve and did wrong; Allah will not forgive them, nor will He guide them to a way.) (169. Except the way of Hell, to dwell therein forever; and this is ever easy for Allah.) (170. O mankind! Verily, there has come to you the Messenger with the truth from your Lord. So believe in him, it is better for you. But if you disbelieve, then certainly to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. And Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise.) Allah's statement
(Verily, We have inspired you...) emphasized the Prophet's prophethood and refuted the idolators and People of the Scripture who denied him. Allah said,
(But Allah bears witness to that which He has sent down unto you,) meaning, even if they deny, defy and disbelieve in you, O Muhammad, Allah testifies that you are His Messenger to whom He sent down His Book, the Glorious Qur'an that,
(Falsehood cannot come to it from before it or behind it, (it is) sent down by the All-Wise, Worthy of all praise.) Allah then said,
(He has sent it down with His knowledge,) The knowledge of His that He willed His servants to have access to. Knowledge about the clear signs of guidance and truth, what Allah likes and is pleased with, what He dislikes and is displeased with, and knowledge of the Unseen, such as the past and the future. This also includes knowledge about His honorable attributes that no sent Messenger or illustrious angel can even know without Allah's leave. Similarly, Allah said,
(And they will never compass anything of His knowledge except that which He wills.) and,
(but they will never compass anything of His knowledge.) Allah's statement,
(and the angels bear witness.) to the truth of what you came with and what was revealed and sent down to you, along with Allah's testimony to the same,
(And Allah is All-Sufficient as a Witness.) Allah said,
(Verily, those who disbelieve and prevent (others) from the path of Allah, they have certainly strayed far away.) For they are disbelievers themselves and do not follow the truth. They strive hard to prevent people from following and embracing Allah's path. Therefore, they have defied the truth, deviated, and strayed far away from it. Allah also mentions His judgment against those who disbelieve in His Ayat, Book and Messenger, those who wrong themselves by their disbelief and hindering others from His path, committing sins and violating His prohibitions. Allah states that He will not forgive them;
(nor will He guide them to a way (that is, of good).)
(Except the way of Hell, to dwell therein forever...) and this is the exception. Allah then said,
(O mankind! Verily, there has come to you the Messenger with the truth from your Lord, so believe in him, it is better for you.) This Ayah means, Muhammad has come to you with guidance, the religion of truth and clear proof from Allah. Therefore, believe in what he has brought you and follow him, for this is better for you. Allah then said,
(But if you disbelieve, then certainly to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth.) Allah is far too rich than to need you or your faith, and no harm could ever affect Him because of your disbelief. Allah said in another Ayah,
(And Musa said: "If you disbelieve, you and all on earth together, then verily, Allah is Rich (Free of all needs), Owner of all praise.'') Allah said here,
(And Allah is Ever All-Knowing,) He knows those who deserve to be guided, and He will guide them. He also knows those who deserve deviation, and He leads them to it,
(All-Wise) in His statements, actions, legislation and all that He decrees.
(171. O People of the Scripture! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allah except the truth. Al-Masih `Isa, son of Maryam, was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah and His Word, which He bestowed on Maryam and a spirit from ﴿created by﴾ Him; so believe in Allah and His Messengers. Say not: "Three!'' Cease! (it is) better for you. For Allah is (the only) One God, hallowed be He above having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is All-Sufficient as a Disposer of affairs.)