Allah reminded the Jews of their errors, breaking His covenant, transgression and defiance, when He raised Mount Tur above them so that they would believe and agree to the terms of the covenant. Yet, they broke it soon afterwards,
(They said, "We have heard and disobeyed.'') We have mentioned the Tafsir of this subject before. `Abdur-Razzaq said that Ma`mar narrated that Qatadah said that,
(And their hearts absorbed (the worship of) the calf) means, "They absorbed its love, until its love resided in their hearts.'' This is also the opinion of Abu Al-`Aliyah and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas. Allah's statement,
(Say: "Worst indeed is that which your faith enjoins on you if you are believers.'') means, "Worse yet is the manner in which you behaved in the past and even now, disbelieving in Allah's Ayat and defying the Prophets. You also disbelieved in Muhammad , which is the worst of your deeds and the harshest sin that you committed. You disbelieved in the Final Messenger and the master of all Prophets and Messengers, the one who was sent to all mankind. How can you then claim that you believe, while committing the evil of breaking Allah's covenant, disbelieving in Allah's Ayat and worshipping the calf instead of Allah"
(94. Say to (them): "If the abode of the Hereafter with Allah is indeed for you especially and not for others of mankind, then long for death if you are truthful.'') (95. But they will never long for it because of what their hands have sent before them (i.e. what they have done). And Allah is Aware of the Zalimin .) (96. And verily, you will find them (the Jews) the greediest of mankind for life and (even greedier) than those who ascribe partners to Allah. One of them wishes that he could be given a life of a thousand years. But the grant of such life will not save him even a little from (due) punishment. And Allah is Seer of what they do.)
Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Ibn `Abbas said, "Allah said to His Prophet ,
(Say to (them): "If the home of the Hereafter with Allah is indeed for you especially and not for others, of mankind, then long for death if you are truthful.'') meaning, `Invoke Allah to bring death to the lying camp among the two (Muslims and Jews).' The Jews declined this offer by the Messenger of Allah .''
(But they will never long for it because of what their hands have sent before them (i.e. what they have done). And Allah is Aware of the Zalimin (polytheists and wrongdoers).) meaning, "Since they know that they recognize you, and yet disbelieve in you.'' Had they wished death that day, no Jew would have remained alive on the face of the earth. Moreover, Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas said that,
(Then long for death), means, "Invoke (Allah) for death.'' Also, `Abdur-Razzaq narrated that `Ikrimah said that Ibn `Abbas commented,
(Then long for death if you are truthful), "Had the Jews invoked Allah for death, they would have perished.'' Also, Ibn Abi Hatim recorded Sa`id bin Jubayr saying that Ibn `Abbas said, "Had the Jews asked for death, one of them would have choked on his own saliva.'' These statements have authentic chains of narration up to Ibn `Abbas. Further, Ibn Jarir said in his Tafsir, "We were told that the Prophet said,
(Had the Jews wished for death, they would have died and seen their seats in the Fire. And, those who invoked such curse against Allah's Messenger would have found no families or property had they returned to their homes).''
Similar to this Ayah is Allah's statement in Surat Al-Jumu`ah,
((Say (O Muhammad): "O you Jews! If you pretend that you are friends of Allah, to the exclusion of (all) other mankind, then long for death if you are truthful. ''But they will never long for it (death), because of what (deeds) their hands have sent before them! And Allah knows well the Zalimin. Say (to them): "Verily, the death from which you flee will surely meet you, then you will be sent back to (Allah) the Knower of the unseen and the seen, and He will tell you what you used to do.'') (62:6-8).
So they claimed that they are Allah's sons and loved ones and said, "Only those who are Christian or Jews shall enter Paradise.'' Therefore, they were called to invoke Allah to destroy the lying group, be it them or the Muslims. When the Jews declined, every one was sure of their wrong, for had they been sure of their claims, then they would have accepted the proposal. Their lies were thus exposed after they declined the offer to invoke the curse.
Similarly, the Messenger of Allah called a delegation of Najran's Christians to curse after he refuted them in a debate in which they demonstrated stubbornness and defiance. Allah said,
(Then whoever disputes with you concerning him (`Isa) after (all this) knowledge that has come to you (i.e. `Isa) being a servant of Allah, and having no share in divinity), say (O Muhammad): "Come, let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves ـ then we pray and invoke (sincerely) the curse of Allah upon those who lie.'') (3:61).
When the Christians heard this challenge, some of them said to each other, "By Allah! If you do such with this Prophet, none of you will have an eye that blinks.'' This is when they resorted to peace and gave the Jizyah (tax) in disgrace. The Prophet accepted the Jizyah from them and sent Abu `Ubaydah bin Al-Jarrah with them as a trustee. Similar to this meaning is Allah's command to His Prophet to proclaim to the polytheists:
(Say (O Muhammad) whoever is in error, the Most Gracious (Allah) will prolong him (in it).) (19:75) meaning, "Whoever among us has deviated, may Allah increase and prolong his deviation.'' We will mention this subject later, Allah willing.
The Mubahalah (invocation to Allah to destroy the liars) was called a `wish' here, because every just person wishes that Allah destroy the unjust opponent who is debating with him, especially when the just person has a clear, apparent proof for the truth he is calling to. Also, the Mubahalah involves invoking Allah for death of the unjust group, because to disbelievers, life is the biggest prize, especially when they know the evil destination they will meet after death.
This is why Allah said next,
(But they will never long for it because of what their hands have sent before them (i.e.what they have done). And Allah is Aware of the Zalimin. And verily, you will find them (the Jews) the greediest of mankind for life.) meaning, greedy to live longer, because they know their evil end, and the only reward they will have with Allah is total loss. This life is a prison for the believer and Paradise for the disbeliever. Therefore, the People of the Book wish they could delay the Hereafter, as much as possible. However, they shall certainly meet what they are trying to avoid, even if they are more eager to delay the Hereafter than the polytheists who do not have a divine book.
Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Ibn `Abbas commented on,
(But the grant of such life will not save him even a little from (due) punishment.) "Long life shall not save them from torment. Certainly, the polytheists do not believe in resurrection after death, and they would love to enjoy a long life. The Jews know the humiliation they will suffer in the Hereafter for knowingly ignoring the truth.'' Also, `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said, "The Jews are most eager for this life. They wish they could live for a thousand years. However, living for a thousand years will not save them from torment, just as Iblis' - Satan - long life did not benefit him, due to being a disbeliever.''
(And Allah is Seer of what they do.) meaning, "Allah knows what His servants are doing, whether good or evil, and will compensate each of them accordingly.''
(97. Say (O Muhammad): "Whoever is an enemy to Jibril (Gabriel) (let him die in his fury), for indeed he has brought it (this Qur'an) down to your heart by Allah's permission, confirming what came before it (i.e. the Tawrah and the Injil) and guidance and glad tidings for the believers). (98. "Whoever is an enemy to Allah, His Angels, His Messengers, Jibril and Mika'il, then verily, Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers.'')
Imam Abu Ja`far bin Jarir At-Tabari said, "The scholars of Tafsir agree that this Ayah (2: 97-98) was revealed in response to the Jews who claimed that Jibril (Gabriel) is an enemy of the Jews and that Mika'il (Michael) is their friend.'' Al-Bukhari said, "Allah said,
(Whoever is an enemy of Jibril (let him die in his fury)). `Ikrimah said, "Jibr, Mik and Israf all mean, worshipper, while il means, Allah''. Anas bin Malik said, "When `Abdullah bin Salam heard of the arrival of the Prophet in Al-Madinah, he was working on his land. He came to the Prophet and said, `I am going to ask you about three things which nobody knows except a Prophet. What will be the first portent of the Hour, What will be the first meal taken by the people of Paradise, Why does a child resemble its father, and why does it resemble its maternal uncle' Allah's Messenger said, (Jibril has just told me the answers.) `Abdullah said, `He (i.e. Jibril), among all the angels, is the enemy of the Jews.' Allah's Messenger recited the Ayah,
(Whoever is an enemy to Jibril (Gabriel) (let him die in his fury), for indeed he has brought it (this Qur'an) down to your heart). Allah's Messenger then said, (The first portent of the Hour will be a fire that will bring together the people from the east to the west; the first meal of the people of Paradise will be the caudate lobe of the liver of fish. As for the child resembling his parents: If a man has sexual intercourse with his wife and his discharge is first, the child will resemble the father. If the woman has a discharge first, the child will resemble her side of the family.) On that `Abdullah bin Salam said, `I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and you are the Messenger of Allah.' `Abdullah bin Salam further said, `O Allah's Messenger! The Jews are liars, and if they should come to know about my conversion to Islam before you ask them (about me), they will tell a lie about me.' The Jews came to Allah's Messenger , and `Abdullah went inside the house. Allah's Messenger asked (the Jews), (`What kind of man is `Abdullah bin Salam') They replied, `He is the best among us, the son of the best among us, our master and the son of our master.' Allah's Messenger said, (What do you think if he would embrace Islam) The Jews said, `May Allah save him from it.' Then `Abdullah bin Salam came out in front of them saying, `I testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.' Thereupon they said, `He is the evilest among us, and the son of the evilest among us.' And they continued talking badly about him. Ibn Salam said, `This is what I feared, O Messenger of Allah! ''' Only Al-Bukhari recorded this Hadith with this chain of narration. Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded this Hadith from Anas using another chain of narration.
Some people say that `il' means worshipper while whatever word that is added to it becomes Allah's Name, because `il' is a constant in such conjunction. This is similar to the names `Abdullah, `Abdur-Rahman, `Abdul-Malik, `Abdul-Quddus, `Abdus-Salam, `Abdul-Kafi, `Abdul-Jalil, and so forth. Hence, `Abd' is constant in these compound names, while the remainder differs from name to name. This is the same case with Jibril, Mika'il, `Azra'il, Israfil, and so forth. Allah knows best.
(Whoever is an enemy to Jibril (Gabriel) (let him die in his fury), for indeed he has brought it (this Qur'an) down to your heart by Allah's permission,) meaning, whoever becomes an enemy of Jibril, let him know that he is Ruh Al-Qudus who brought down the Glorious Dhikr (Qur'an) to your heart from Allah by His leave. Hence, he is a messenger from Allah. Whoever takes a messenger as an enemy, will have taken all the messengers as enemies. Further, whoever believes in one messenger, is required to believe in all of the messengers. Whoever rejects one messenger, he has rejected all of the messengers. Similarly, Allah said,
(Verily, those who disbelieve in Allah and His Messengers and wish to make distinction between Allah and His Messengers (by believing in Allah and disbelieving in His Messengers) saying, "We believe in some but reject others.'') (4:150)
Allah decreed that they are disbelievers, because they believe in some Prophets and reject others. This is the same with those who take Jibril as an enemy, because Jibril did not choose missions on his own, but by the command of his Lord,
(And we (angels) descend not except by the command of your Lord) (19: 64), and,
(And truly, this (the Qur'an) is a revelation from the Lord of all that exists. Which the trustworthy Ruh (Jibril) has brought down. Upon your heart (O Muhammad) that you may be (one) of the warners) (26:192-194).
Al-Bukhari reported that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Allah said, `Whoever takes a friend of Mine as an enemy, will have started a war with Me.)
Therefore, Allah became angry with those who took Jibril as an enemy. Allah said,
(Whoever is an enemy to Jibril (Gabriel) (let him die in his fury), for indeed he has brought it (this Qur'an) down to your heart by Allah's permission, confirming what came before it) meaning, the previous Books,
(and guidance and glad tidings for the believers) meaning, as guidance to their hearts and bringer of the good news of Paradise, which is exclusively for the believers. Similarly, Allah said,
(Say: "It is for those who believe, a guide and a healing.'') (41:44), and,
(And We send down of the Qur'an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe) (17:82).
Allah then said,
(Whoever is an enemy to Allah, His Angels, His Messengers, Jibril and Mika'il (Michael), then verily, Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers.)
Allah stated that whoever takes Him, His angels and messengers as enemies, then...Allah's messengers include angels and men, for Allah said,
(Allah chooses Messengers from angels and from men) (22:75). Allah said,
(Jibril (Gabriel) and Mika'il (Michael)). Allah mentioned Jibril and Mika'il specifically - although they are included among the angels who were messengers - only because this Ayah was meant to support Jibril the emissary between Allah and His Prophets. Allah also mentioned Mika'il here, because the Jews claimed that Jibril was their enemy and Mika'il was their friend. Allah informed them that whoever is an enemy of either of them, then he is also an enemy of the other as well as Allah. We should state here that Mika'il sometimes descended to some of Allah's Prophets, although to a lesser extent than Jibril, because this was primarily Jibril's task, and Israfil is entrusted with the job of blowing the Trumpet for the commencement of Resurrection on the Day of Judgment. It is recorded in the Sahih that whenever the Messenger of Allah would wake up at night, he would supplicate,
(O Allah, Lord of Jibril, Mika'il and Israfil, Creator of the heavens and earth and Knower of the seen and the unseen! You judge between Your servants regarding what they differ in, so direct me to the truth which they differ on, by Your leave. Verily, You guide whom You will to the straight path.)
(then verily, Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers) informed the disbelievers that whoever takes a friend of Allah as an enemy, then he has taken Allah as an enemy, and whoever treats Allah as an enemy, then he shall be Allah's enemy. Indeed, whoever is an enemy of Allah then he will lose in this life and the Hereafter, as stated earlier;
(Whoever takes a friend of Mine as an enemy, I shall wage war on him.)
(99. And indeed We have sent down to you manifest Ayat and none disbelieve in them but Fasiqun (those who rebel against Allah's command).) (100. Is it not (the case) that every time they make a covenant, some party among them throw it aside Nay! (the truth is:) most of them believe not.) (101. And when there came to them a Messenger from Allah (i.e. Muhammad) confirming what was with them, a party of those who were given the Scripture threw away the Book of Allah behind their backs as if they did not know!) (102. They followed what the Shayatin (devils) gave out (falsely of the magic) in the lifetime of Sulayman (Solomon). Sulayman did not disbelieve, but the Shayatin (devils) disbelieved, teaching men magic and such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels, Harut and Marut, but neither of these two (angels) taught anyone (such things) till they had said, "We are for trial, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us).'' And from these (angels) people learn that by which they cause separation between man and his wife, but they could not thus harm anyone except by Allah's leave. And they learn that which harms them and profits them not. And indeed they knew that the buyers of it (magic) would have no share in the Hereafter. And how bad indeed was that for which they sold their own selves, if they but knew.) (103. And if they had believed and guarded themselves from evil and kept their duty to Allah, far better would have been the reward from their Lord, if they but knew!)