Allah reminded the Children of Israel of the commandments that He gave them, and the covenants that He took from them to abide by those commands, and how they intentionally and knowingly turned away from all of that. Allah commanded them to worship Him and to associate none with Him in worship, just as He has commanded all of His creatures, for this is why Allah created them. Allah said,
(And We did not send any Messenger before you (O Muhammad) but We revealed to him (saying): La ilaha illa Ana ﴿none has the right to be worshipped but I (Allah)﴾, so worship Me (alone and none else)) (21:25), and,
(And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): "Worship Allah (alone), and avoid the Taghut (all false deities,)) (16:36).
This is the highest and most important right, that is, Allah's right that He be worshipped alone without partners.
After that comes the right of the creatures, foremost, the right of the parents. Allah usually mentions the rights of the parents along with His rights. For instance, Allah said,
(Give thanks to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination) (31:14). Also, Allah said,
(And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents) (17:23), until,
(And give to the kinsman his due and to the Miskin (poor) and to the wayfarer) (17:26). The Two Sahihs record that Ibn Mas`ud said,
(I said, `O Messenger of Allah! What is the best deed' He said, `Performing the prayer on time.' I said, 'Then what' He said, `Being kind to one's parents.' I said, `Then what' He said, `Jihad in the cause of Allah.')
Allah then said,
(and to orphans) meaning, the young who have no fathers to fend for them.
(and Al-Masakin (the poor)), plural for Miskin, the one who does not find what he needs to spend on himself and his family. We will discuss these categories when we explain the Ayah of Surat An-Nisa` where Allah said,
(Worship Allah and join none with Him (in worship); and do good to parents) (4:36).
(and speak good to people) meaning, say good words to them and be lenient with them, this includes commanding good and forbidding evil. Al-Hasan Al-Basri commented on Allah's statement,
(and speak good to people), ".`The good saying' means commanding good and forbidding evil, and being patient and forgiving. The `good words to people', as Allah commanded, also includes every good type of behavior that Allah is pleased with.'' Imam Ahmad narrated that Abu Dharr said that the Prophet said,
(Do not belittle any form of righteousness, and even if you did not find any good deed except meeting your brother with a smiling face, then do so.)
This Hadith was also collected by Muslim in his Sahih and At-Tirmidhi, who graded it Sahih.
Allah commands the servants to say good words to people, after He commanded them to be kind to them, thereby mentioning two categories of manners: good speech and good actions. He then emphasized the command to worship Him and the command to do good, ordaining the prayer and the Zakah,
(and perform As-Salah and give Zakah). Allah informed us that the People of the Book, except for a few among them, ignored these orders, that is, they knowingly and intentionally abandoned them. Allah ordered this Ummah similarly in Surat An-Nisa' when He said,
(Worship Allah and join none with Him (in worship); and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, Al-Masakin (the poor), the neighbor who is near of kin, the neighbor who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (servants) whom your right hands possess. Verily, Allah does not like such as are proud and boastful) (4:36).
Of these orders, this Ummah has practiced what no other nation before it has, and all praise is due to Allah.
(84. And (remember) when We took your covenant (saying): Shed not the blood of your (people), nor turn out your own people from their dwellings. Then, (this) you ratified and (to this) you bore witness.) (85. After this, it is you who kill one another and drive out a party of you from their homes, assist (their enemies) against them, in sin and transgression. And if they come to you as captives, you ransom them, although their expulsion was forbidden to you. Then do you believe in a part of the Book and reject the rest Then what is the recompense of those who do so among you, except disgrace in the life of this world, and on the Day of Resurrection they shall be consigned to the most grievous torment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do.) (86. Those are they who have bought the life of this world at the price of the Hereafter. Their torment shall not be lightened nor shall they be helped.)
Allah criticized the Jews who lived in Al-Madinah during the time of the Messenger of Allah. They used to suffer, because of the armed conflicts between the tribes of Al-Madinah, Aws and Khazraj. Before Islam, the Aws and Khazraj worshipped idols, and many battles took place between them. There were three Jewish tribes in Al-Madinah at that time, Banu Qaynuqa` and Banu An-Nadir, the allies of the Khazraj, and Banu Qurayzah, who used to be the allies of the Aws. When war erupted between Aws and Khazraj, their Jewish allies would assist them. The Jew would kill his Arab enemy, and sometimes they also killed Jews who were the allies of the other Arab tribe, although the Jews were prohibited from killing each other according to clear religious texts in their Books. They would also drive each other from their homes and loot whatever furniture and money they could. When the war ended, the victorious Jews would release the prisoners from the defeated party, according to the rulings of the Tawrah. This is why Allah said,
(Then do you believe in a part of the Scripture and reject the rest) Allah said,
(And (remember) when We took your covenant (saying): Shed not the blood of your (people), nor turn out your own people from their dwellings.) meaning, "Do not kill each other, nor expel one another from their homes, nor participate in fighting against them.'' Allah mentioned the word `your own' here, just as He said in another Ayah.
(So turn in repentance to your Creator and kill yourselves, that will be better for you with your Creator) (2:54) because the followers of one religion are just like one soul. Also, the Messenger of Allah said,
(The example of the believers in their kindness, mercy and sympathy to each other is the example of one body, when an organ of it falls ill, the rest of the body rushes to its aid in fever and sleeplessness.) Allah's statement,
(Then, (this) you ratified and (to this) you bore witness.) means, "You testified that you know of the covenant and that you were witnesses to it.''
(After this, it is you who kill one another and drive out a party of you from their homes). Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar reported that Ibn `Abbas commented on the Ayah,
(After this, it is you who kill one another and drive out a party of you from their homes) "Allah mentioned what they were doing, and that in the Tawrah He had prohibited them from shedding each other's blood, and required them to free their prisoners. Now they were divided into two camps in Al-Madinah, Banu Qaynuqa`, who were the allies of the Khazraj, and An-Nadir and Qurayzah, who were the allies of the Aws. When fighting erupted between Aws and Khazraj, Banu Qaynuqa` would fight along with the Khazraj, while Banu An-Nadir and Qurayzah would fight along with the Aws. Each Jewish camp would fight against their Jewish brethren from the other camp. They would shed each other's blood, although they had the Tawrah with them, and they knew their rights and dues. Meanwhile, the Aws and Khazraj were polytheists who worshipped idols. They did not know about Paradise, the Fire, Resurrection, Divine Books the lawful and prohibited. When the war would end, the Jews would ransom their prisoners and implement the Tawrah. Consequently, Banu Qaynuqa` would ransom their prisoners who were captured by the Aws, while Banu An-Nadir and Qurayzah would ransom their prisoners who were captured by the Khazraj. They would also ask for blood money. During these wars, they would kill whomever (Jews or Arabs) they could, while helping the polytheists against their brethren. Therefore, Allah reminded them of this when He said,
(Then do you believe in a part of the Scripture and reject the rest) This Ayah means, `Do you ransom them according to the rulings of the Tawrah, yet kill them while the Tawrah forbade you from killing them and from expelling them from their homes The Tawrah also commanded that you should not aid the polytheists and those who associate with Allah in the worship against your brethren. You do all this to acquire the life of this world.' I was informed that the behavior of the Jews regarding the Aws and Khazraj was the reason behind revealing these Ayat.''
These noble Ayat criticized the Jews for implementing the Tawrah sometimes and defying it at other times, although they believed in the Tawrah and knew what they were doing was wrong. This is why they should not be trusted to preserve or convey the Tawrah. Further, they should not be believed when it comes to the description of the Messenger of Allah , his coming, his expulsion from his land, and his Hijrah, and the rest of the information that the previous Prophets informed them about him, all of which they hid. The Jews, may they suffer the curse of Allah, hid all of these facts among themselves, and this is why Allah said,
(Then what is the recompense of those who do so among you, except disgrace in the life of this world), because they defied Allah's Law and commandments,
(And on the Day of Resurrection they shall be consigned to the most grievous torment) as punishment for defying the Book of Allah that they had.
(And Allah is not unaware of what you do. Those are they who have bought the life of this world at the price of the Hereafter) meaning, they prefer this life to the Hereafter. Therefore,
(Their torment shall not be lightened) not even for an hour,
(Nor shall they be helped), and they shall find no helper who will save them from the eternal torment they will suffer, nor shall they find any to grant them refuge from it.
(87. And indeed, We gave Musa the Book and followed him up with a succession of Messengers. And We gave `Isa, the son of Maryam, clear signs and supported him with Ruh-il-Qudus. Is it that whenever there came to you a Messenger with what you yourselves desired not, you grew arrogant Some you disbelieved and some you killed.)
Allah described the insolence of Children of Israel, their rebelliousness, defiance and arrogance towards the Prophets, following their lusts and desires. Allah mentioned that He gave Musa the Book, the Tawrah, and that the Jews changed, distorted, and defied its commands, as well as altered its meanings.
Allah sent Messengers and Prophets after Musa who followed his law, as Allah stated,
(Verily, We did reveal the Tawrah (to Musa), therein was guidance and light, by which the Prophets, who submitted themselves to Allah's will, judged for the Jews. And the rabbis and the priests (too judged for the Jews by the Tawrah after those Prophets), for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah's Book, and they were witnesses thereto) (5:44). This is why Allah said here,
(And Qaffayna him with Messengers).
As-Suddi said that Abu Malik said that Qaffayna means, "Succeeded'', while others said, "Followed". Both meanings are plausible, since Allah said,
(Then We sent Our Messengers in succession) (23:44).
Thereafter, Allah sent the last Prophet among the Children of Israel, `Isa the son of Mary, who was sent with some laws that differed with some in the Tawrah. This is why Allah also sent miracles to support `Isa. These included bringing the dead back to life, forming the shape of birds from clay and blowing into them, after which they became living birds by Allah's leave, healing the sick and foretelling the Unseen, as Ibn `Abbas stated. Allah also aided him with Ruh Al-Qudus, and that refers to Jibril. All of these signs testified to the truthfulness of `Isa and what he was sent with. Yet, the Children of Israel became more defiant and envious of him and did not want to differ with even one part of the Tawrah, as Allah said about `Isa,
(And to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden to you, and I have come to you with a proof from your Lord) (3:50).
Hence, the Children of Israel treated the Prophets in the worst manner, rejecting some of them and killing some of them. All of this occurred because the Prophets used to command the Jews with what differed from their desires and opinions. The Prophets also upheld the rulings of the Tawrah that the Jews had changed, and this is why it was difficult for them to believe in these Prophets. Therefore, they rejected the Prophets and killed some of them. Allah said,
(Is it that whenever there came to you a Messenger with what you yourselves desired not,you grew arrogant Some you disbelieved and some you kill).
The proof that Jibril is the Ruh Al-Qudus is the statement of Ibn Mas`ud in explanation of this Ayah. This is also the view of Ibn `Abbas, Muhammad bin Ka`b, Isma`il bin Khalid, As-Suddi, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, `Atiyah Al-`Awfi and Qatadah. Additionally, Allah said,
(Which the trustworthy Ruh (Jibril) has brought down. Upon your heart (O Muhammad) that you may be (one) of the warners) (26:193-194).
Al-Bukhari recorded `A'ishah saying that the Messenger of Allah erected a Minbar in the Masjid on which Hassan bin Thabit (the renowned poet) used to defend the Messenger of Allah (with his poems). The Messenger of Allah said,
(O Allah! Aid Hassan with Ruh Al-Qudus, for he defended Your Prophet.)
Abu Dawud recorded this Hadith in his Sunan as did At-Tirmidhi who graded it Hasan Sahih. Further, Ibn Hibban recorded in his Sahih that Ibn Mas`ud said that the Prophet said,
(Ruh Al-Qudus informed me that no soul shall die until it finishes its set provisions and term limit. Therefore, have Taqwa of Allah and seek your sustenance in the most suitable way.)
Az-Zamakhshari commented on Allah's statement,
(Some you disbelieved and some you kill), "Allah did not say `killed' here, because the Jews would still try to kill the Prophet in the future, using poison and magic.'' During the illness that preceded his death, the Prophet said,
(I kept feeling the effect of what I ate (from the poisoned sheep) during the day of Khaybar, until now, when it is the time that the aorta will be cut off (meaning when death is near).)
This Hadith was collected by Al-Bukhari and others
(88. And they say, "Our hearts are Ghulf.'' Nay, Allah has cursed them for their disbelief, so little is that which they believe.)
Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn `Abbas said that,
(And they say, "Our hearts are Ghulf.''), means, "Our hearts are screened.'' Mujahid also said that,
(And they say, "Our hearts are Ghulf.''), means, "They are covered. ''`Ikrimah said, "There is a stamp on them.'' Abu Al-`Aliyah said, "They do not comprehend.'' Mujahid and Qatadah said that Ibn `Abbas read the Ayah in a way that means, "Our hearts contain every type of knowledge and do not need the knowledge that you (O Muhammad) have.'' This is the opinion of `Ata' and Ibn `Abbas.
(Nay, Allah has cursed them for their disbelief) meaning, "Allah expelled them and deprived them of every type of righteousness.'' Qatadah said that the Ayah,
(So little is that which they believe.) means, "Only a few of them believe.'' Allah's statement,
(And they say, "Our hearts are Ghulf.'') is similar to His statement,
(And they say: "Our hearts are under coverings (screened) from that to which you invite us) (41:5).
This is why Allah said here,
(Nay, Allah has cursed them for their disbelief, so little is that which they believe.) meaning, "It is not as they claim. Rather, their hearts are cursed and stamped,'' just as Allah said in Surat An-Nisa' (4:155),
(And of their saying: "Our hearts are wrapped (with coverings, i.e. we do not understand what the Messengers say) ـ nay, Allah has set a seal upon their hearts because of their disbelief, so they believe not but a little.)
There is a difference of opinion regarding the meaning of Allah's statement,
(So little is that which they believe.) and His statement,
(So they believe not except a few). Some scholars said that the Ayat indicate that a few of them would believe, or that their faith is minute, because they believe in Resurrection and in Allah's reward and punishment that Musa foretold. Yet, this faith will not benefit them since it is overshadowed by their disbelief in what Muhammad brought them. Some scholars said that the Jews did not actually believe in anything and that Allah said,
(So little is that which they believe), meaning, they do not believe. This meaning is similar to the Arabic expression, "Hardly have I seen anything like this,'' meaning, "I have never seen anything like this.''
(89. And when there came to them (the Jews), a Book (this Qur'an) from Allah confirming what is with them (the Tawrah) and the Injil (Gospel), although aforetime they had invoked Allah (for the coming of Muhammad) in order to gain victory over those who disbelieved, then when there came to them that which they had recognized, they disbelieved in it. So let the curse of Allah be on the disbelievers.)