Allah said next (2:105),
(Neither those who disbelieve among the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) nor Al-Mushrikin (the idolaters), like that there should be sent down unto you any good from your Lord).
Allah described the deep enmity that the disbelieving polytheists and People of the Scripture, whom Allah warned against imitating, have against the believers, so that Muslims should sever all friendship with them. Also, Allah mentioned what He granted the believers of the perfect Law that He legislated for their Prophet Muhammad. Allah said,
(But Allah chooses for His mercy whom He wills. And Allah is the Owner of great bounty) (2:105).
(106. Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh (We abrogate) or Nunsiha (cause to be forgotten), We bring a better one or similar to it. Know you not that Allah is Able to do all things) (107. Know you not that it is Allah to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth And besides Allah you have neither any Wali (protector or guardian) nor any helper.)
Ibn Abi Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas said that,
(Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh) means, "Whatever an Ayah We abrogate.'' Also, Ibn Jurayj said that Mujahid said that,
(Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh) means, "Whatever an Ayah We erase.'' Also, Ibn Abi Najih said that Mujahid said that,
(Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh) means, "We keep the words, but change the meaning.'' He related these words to the companions of `Abdullah bin Mas`ud. Ibn Abi Hatim said that similar statements were mentioned by Abu Al-`Aliyah and Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi. Also As-Suddi said that,
(Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh) means, "We erase it.'' Further, Ibn Abi Hatim said that it means, "Erase and raise it, such as erasing the following wordings (from the Qur'an), `The married adulterer and the married adulteress: stone them to death,' and, `If the son of Adam had two valleys of gold, he would seek a third.'''
Ibn Jarir stated that,
(Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh) means, "Whatever ruling we repeal in an Ayah by making the allowed unlawful and the unlawful allowed.'' The Nasakh only occurs with commandments, prohibitions, permissions, and so forth. As for stories, they do not undergo Nasakh. The word, `Nasakh' literally means, `to copy a book'. The meaning of Nasakh in the case of commandments is removing the commandment and replacing it by another. And whether the Nasakh involves the wordings, the ruling or both, it is still called Nasakh.
Allah said next,
(or Nunsiha (cause it to be forgotten)). `Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas said that,
(Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh or Nunsiha) means, "Whatever Ayah We repeal or uphold without change.'' Also, Mujahid said that the companions of Ibn Mas`ud (who read this word Nansa'ha) said that it means, "We uphold its wording and change its ruling.'' Further, `Ubayd bin `Umayr, Mujahid and `Ata' said, `Nansa'ha' means, "We delay it (i.e., do not abrogate it).'' Further, `Atiyyah Al-`Awfi said that the Ayah means, "We delay repealing it.'' This is the same Tafsir provided by As-Suddi and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas. `Abdur-Razzaq said that Ma`mar said that Qatadah said about Allah's statement,
(Whatever a verse (revelation) do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten) "Allah made His Prophet forget what He willed and He abrogated what He will.''
(We bring a better one or similar to it), better, relates to the benefit provided for the one it addresses, as reported from `Ali bin Abi Talhah that Ibn `Abbas said,
(We bring a better one) means, "We bring forth a more beneficial ruling, that is also easier for you.'' Also, As-Suddi said that,
(We bring a better one or similar to it) means, "We bring forth a better Ayah, or similar to that which was repealed.'' Qatadah also said that,
(We bring a better one or similar to it) means, "We replace it by an Ayah more facilitating, permitting, commanding, or prohibiting.''
(Know you not that Allah is Able to do all things Know you not that it is Allah to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth And besides Allah you have neither any Wali (protector or guardian) nor any helper).
Allah directed His servants to the fact that He alone is the Owner of His creatures and that He does with them as He wills. Indeed, His is the supreme authority and all creation is His, and just as He created them as He wills, He brings happiness to whom He wills, misery to whom He wills, health to whom He wills and ailment to whom He wills. He also brings success to whom He wills and failure to whom He wills. He judges between His servants as He wills, allows what He wills and disallows what He wills. He decides what He wills, there is no opponent for His judgment, and no one can question Him about what He does, while they shall be questioned. He tests His servants and their obedience to His Messengers by the Naskh. He commands a matter containing a benefit which He knows of, and then He out of His wisdom, prohibits it. Hence, perfect obedience is realized by adhering to His commands, following His Messengers, believing in what ever they convey, implementing their commands and avoiding what they prohibit.
The statements of Allah here contain tremendous benefit, prove that the Jews are disbelievers and refute their claim that Naskh does not occur, may Allah curse the Jews. In ignorance and arrogance they claimed that the sound mind stipulates that Naskh does not occur. Some of them falsely claimed that there are divine texts that dismiss the possibility that Naskh occurred.
Imam Abu Ja`far bin Jarir said, "The Ayah means, `Do you not know, O Muhammad, that I alone own the heavens and the earth and that I decide whatever I will in them I forbid whatever I will, change and repeal whatever I will of My previous rulings, whenever I will. I also uphold whatever I will.''
Ibn Jarir then said, "Although Allah directed His statement indicating His greatness towards His Prophet, He also rejected the lies of the Jews who denied that the rulings of the Torah could undergo Naskh. The Jews also denied the prophethood of Jesus and Muhammad, because of their dislike for what they brought from Allah, such as changing some rulings of the Torah, as Allah commanded. Allah thus proclaimed to the Jews that He owns the heavens and earth and also all authority in them. Further, the subjects in Allah's kingdom are His creation, and they are required to hear and obey His commands and prohibitions. Allah has full authority to command the creation as He wills, forbidding them from what He wills, abrogate what He wills, uphold what He wills, and decide whatever commandments and prohibitions He wills.''
I (Ibn Kathir) say that the Jews' dismissal of the occurrence of the Naskh is only a case of their disbelief and rebellion. The sound mind does not deny that there could be a Naskh in Allah's commandments, for He decides what He wills, just as He does what He wills. Further, Naskh occurred in previous Books and Law. For instance, Allah allowed Adam to marry his daughters to his sons and then later forbade this practice. Allah also allowed Nuh to eat from all kinds of animals after they left the ark, then prohibited eating some types of foods. Further, marrying two sisters to one man was allowed for Israel and his children, but Allah prohibited this practice later in the Torah. Allah commanded Abraham to slaughter his son, then repealed that command before it was implemented. Also, Allah commanded the Children of Israel to kill those who worshipped the calf and then repealed that command, so that the Children of Israel were not all exterminated. There are many other instances that the Jews admit have occurred, yet they ignore them. Also, it is a well-known fact that their Books foretold about Muhammad and contained the command to follow him. These texts, in their Books, indicate that the Jews were required to follow the Prophet Muhammad and that no good deed would be accepted from them, unless it conformed to Muhammad's Law. The Prophet brought another Book, - the Qur'an -, which is the last revelation from Allah.
(108. Or do you want to ask your Messenger (Muhammad) as Musa (Moses) was asked before (i.e. show us openly our Lord) And he who changes faith for disbelief, verily, he has gone astray from the right way.)
In this Ayah, Allah forbade the believers from asking the Prophet numerous questions about matters that did not occur yet. Similarly, Allah said,
(O you who believe! Ask not about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble. But if you ask about them while the Qur'an is being revealed, they will be made plain to you) (5:101).
This Ayah means, "If you ask about a matter after it is revealed, it shall be duly explained to you. Therefore, do not ask about matters that have not occurred yet, for they might become prohibited, due to your questions.'' This is why the Sahih narrated,
(The greatest criminal among the Muslims is the one who asks if a thing is prohibited, which is not prohibited, and it becomes prohibited because of his asking about it.)
This is why when the Messenger of Allah was asked about a husband who finds another man with his wife; if he exposes the adultery, he will be exposing a major incident; if he is quiet about it, he will be quiet about a major matter. The Messenger of Allah did not like such questions. Later on, Allah revealed the ruling of Mula`anah (Refer to Nur 24:6-9 in the Qur'an). The Two Sahihs recorded that Al-Mughirah bin Shu`bah said that the Messenger of Allah "Forbade saying, `It was said' and `He said,' and wasting money and asking many questions.'' Muslim recorded that the Prophet said,
(Leave me as I leave you; those before you were only destroyed because of their excessive questioning and disputing with their Prophets. Therefore, when I command you with a matter, adhere to it as much as you can, and when I forbid from something, avoid it.)
The Prophet only said this after he told the Companions that Allah has ordered them to perform Hajj. A man asked, "Every year, O Messenger of Allah'' The Prophet did not answer him, but he repeated his question three times. Then the Prophet said,
(No. Had I said yes, it would have been ordained, and you would not have been able to implement it.)
This is why Anas bin Malik said, "We were forbidden from asking the Messenger of Allah about things. So we were delighted when a Bedouin man would come and ask him while we listened.''
Muhammad bin Ishaq said that Muhammad bin Abi Muhammad told him that `Ikrimah or Sa`id said that Ibn `Abbas said that Rafi` bin Huraymilah or Wahb bin Zayd said, "O Muhammad! Bring us a Book sent down from heaven and which we could read, and make some rivers flow for us, then we will follow you and believe in you.'' Allah sent down the answer to this challenge,
(Or do you want to ask your Messenger (Muhammad) as Musa was asked before (i.e. show us openly our Lord) And he who changes faith for disbelief, verily, he has gone astray from the right way).
Allah criticized those who ask the Messenger of Allah about a certain matter just for the purpose of being difficult, just as the Children of Israel asked Musa out of stubbornness, rejection and rebellion. Allah said,
(And he who changes faith for disbelief) meaning, whoever prefers disbelief to faith,
(verily, he has gone astray from the right way) meaning, he has strayed from the straight path, to the path of ignorance and misguidance. This is the case of those who deviated from accepting the Prophets and obeying them and those who kept asking their Prophets unnecessary questions in defiance and disbelief, just as Allah said,
(Have you not seen those who have changed the blessings of Allah into disbelief (by denying Prophet Muhammad and his Message of Islam), and caused their people to dwell in the house of destruction Hell, in which they will burn and what an evil place to settle in!) (14:28-29).
Abu Al-`Aliyah commented, "They exchanged comfort for hardship.''
(109. Many of the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) wish that they could turn you away as disbelievers after you have believed, out of envy from their own selves, even after the truth (that Muhammad is Allah's Messenger) has become manifest unto them. But forgive and overlook, till Allah brings His command. Verily, Allah is able to do all things.) (110. And perform the Salah and give the Zakah, and whatever of good you send forth for yourselves before you, you shall find it with Allah. Certainly, Allah is the Seer of what you do.)
Allah warned His believing servants against following the ways of the People of Book, who publicly and secretly harbor enmity and hatred for the believers, and who envy the believers, while they recognize the virtue of the believers and their Prophet. Allah also commanded His believing servants to forgive them and to be patient with them, until Allah delivers His aid and victory to them. Allah commanded the believers to perform the prayer perfectly, to pay the Zakah and He encouraged them to preserve the practice of these righteous deeds.
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Abdullah bin Ka`b bin Malik said that Ka`b bin Al-Ashraf, who was a Jew and a poet, used to criticize the Prophet in his poems, so Allah revealed,
(Many of the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) wish that they could turn you away...) regarding his matter.
Also, Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas said, "An unlettered Messenger came to the People of the Scriptures confirming what they have in their own Books about the Messengers and the Ayat of Allah. He also believes in all of this, just as they believe in it. Yet, they rejected the Prophet out of disbelief, envy and transgression. This is why Allah said,
(out of envy from their own selves, even after the truth (that Muhammad is Allah's Messenger) has become manifest unto them).
Allah said that after He illuminated the truth for them, such that they were not ignorant of any of it, yet their envy made them deny the Prophet. Thus Allah criticized, chastised and denounced them.'' Allah legislated the characteristics that His Prophet and the believers should adhere to: belief, faith and accepting what Allah revealed to them and to those before them out of His generosity and tremendous kindness.
Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said that,
(from their own selves) means, "of their making.'' Also, Abu Al-`Aliyah said that,
(even after the truth (that Muhammad is Allah's Messenger) has become manifest unto them) means, "After it became clear that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah whom they find written of in the Torah and the Injil. They denied him in disbelief and transgression because he was not one of them.'' Qatadah and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said similarly. Allah said,
(But forgive and overlook, till Allah brings His command.) this is similar to His saying;
(And you shall certainly hear much that will grieve you from those who received the Scripture before you (Jews and Christians) and from those who ascribe partners to Allah) (3: 186).
`Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas said that Allah's statement,
(But forgive and overlook, till Allah brings His command.) was abrogated by the Ayah,
(Then kill the Mushrikin wherever you find them) (9:5), and,
(Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day) (9:29) until,
(And feel themselves subdued) (9:29).
Allah's pardon for the disbelievers was repealed.'' Abu Al-`Aliyah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Qatadah and As-Suddi said similarly: It was abrogated by the Ayah of the sword." (Mentioned above). The Ayah,
(till Allah brings His command.) gives further support for this view.
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded Usamah bin Zayd saying that the Messenger of Allah and his Companions used to forgive the disbelievers and the People of the Book, just as Allah commanded in His statement,
(But forgive and overlook, till Allah brings His command. Verily, Allah is able to do all things).
The Messenger of Allah used to forgive them and was patient with them as Allah ordered him, until Allah allowed fighting them. Then Allah destroyed those who He decreed to be killed among the strong men of Quraysh, by the Prophet's forces. The chain of narration for this text is Sahih, but I did not see its wordings in the six collections of Hadith, although the basis of it is in the Two Sahihs, narrated from Usamah bin Zayd.
(And perform the Salah and give the Zakah, and whatever of good you send forth for yourselves before you, you shall find it with Allah).
Allah encouraged the believers to busy themselves in performing deeds that would bring them benefit and reward on the Day of Resurrection, such as prayer and paying Zakah. This way, they will gain Allah's aid in this life and on a Day when the witnesses testify,
(The Day when their excuses will be of no profit to the Zalimin (wrongdoers). Theirs will be the curse, and theirs will be the evil abode (i.e. painful torment in Hell-fire)) (40:52).
This is why Allah said,
(Certainly, Allah sees what you do), meaning, that He is never unaware of the deeds of any person, nor will these deeds be lost by Him. Whether deeds are righteous or evil, Allah will award each according to what he or she deserves based on their deeds.
(111. And they say, "None shall enter Paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian.'' These are their own desires. Say (O Muhammad) , "Produce your Burhan if you are truthful.'') (112. Yes! But whoever submits his face (himself) to Allah (i.e. follows Allah's religion of Islamic Monotheism) and he is a Muhsin then his reward is with his Lord (Allah), on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.) (113. The Jews said that the Christians follow nothing (i.e. are not on the right religion); and the Christians said that the Jews follow nothing (i.e. are not on the right religion); though they both recite the Scripture. Like unto their word, said those (the pagans) who know not. Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection about that wherein they have been differing.)