;
The Children of Israel scatter throughout the Land

Allah states that He divided the Jews into various nations, sects and groups,

﴿ وَقُلۡنَا مِنۢ بَعۡدِهِۦ لِبَنِىٓ إِسۡرَٲٓءِيلَ ٱسۡكُنُواْ ٱلۡأَرۡضَ فَإِذَا جَآءَ وَعۡدُ ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ جِئۡنَا بِكُمۡ لَفِيفً۬ا

(And We said to the Children of Israel after him (after Musa died): "Dwell in the land, then, when the final and the last promise comes near, We shall bring you altogether as a mixed crowd (gathered out of various nations).'') (17:104)

﴿ مِّنۡهُمُ ٱلصَّـٰلِحُونَ وَمِنۡہُمۡ دُونَ ذَٲلِكَ‌ۖ

(some of them are righteous and some are away from that), some of them are led aright and some are not righteous, just as the Jinns declared,

﴿ وَأَنَّا مِنَّا ٱلصَّـٰلِحُونَ وَمِنَّا دُونَ ذَٲلِكَ‌ۖ كُنَّا طَرَآٮِٕقَ قِدَدً۬ا

("There are among us some that are righteous, and some the contrary; we are groups having different ways (religious sects).'') (72:11) Allah said here,

﴿ وَبَلَوۡنَـٰهُم

(And We tried them), and tested them,

﴿ بِٱلۡحَسَنَـٰتِ وَٱلسَّيِّـَٔاتِ

(with good and evil), with times of ease, difficulty, eagerness, fear, well-being and affliction,

﴿ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَرۡجِعُونَ

(in order that they might turn (to Allah)) Allah said next,

﴿ فَخَلَفَ مِنۢ بَعۡدِهِمۡ خَلۡفٌ۬ وَرِثُواْ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ يَأۡخُذُونَ عَرَضَ هَـٰذَا ٱلۡأَدۡنَىٰ

(Then after them succeeded an (evil) generation, which inherited the Book, but they chose (for themselves) the goods of this low life) This Ayah means, after the generation made up of righteous and unrighteous people, another generation came that did not have goodness in them, and they inherited the Tawrah and studied it. Mujahid commented on Allah's statement,

﴿ يَأۡخُذُونَ عَرَضَ هَـٰذَا ٱلۡأَدۡنَىٰ

(They chose (for themselves) the goods of this low life) "They will consume anything they can consume in this life, whether legally or illegally. Yet, they wish for forgiveness,

﴿ وَيَقُولُونَ سَيُغۡفَرُ لَنَا وَإِن يَأۡتِہِمۡ عَرَضٌ۬ مِّثۡلُهُ ۥ يَأۡخُذُوهُ‌ۚ

(Saying: "(Everything) will be forgiven for us.'' And if (again) the offer of the like came their way, they would (again) seize them.)'' Qatadah commented on Allah's statement,

﴿ يَأۡخُذُونَ عَرَضَ هَـٰذَا ٱلۡأَدۡنَىٰ

(they chose (for themselves) the goods of this low life) "This, by Allah, is an evil generation,

﴿ وَرِثُواْ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ

(which inherited the Book) after their Prophets and Messengers, for they were entrusted with this job by Allah's command to them. Allah said in another Ayah,

﴿ فَخَلَفَ مِنۢ بَعۡدِهِمۡ خَلۡفٌ أَضَاعُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ

(Then, there has succeeded them a posterity who neglect the Salah (the prayers).) (19:59) Allah said next,

﴿ يَأۡخُذُونَ عَرَضَ هَـٰذَا ٱلۡأَدۡنَىٰ وَيَقُولُونَ سَيُغۡفَرُ لَنَا

(They chose the goods of this low life saying: "(Everything) will be forgiven to us.'') They wish and hope from Allah, while deceiving themselves,

﴿ وَإِن يَأۡتِہِمۡ عَرَضٌ۬ مِّثۡلُهُ ۥ يَأۡخُذُوهُ‌ۚ

(And if (again) the offer of the like came their way, they would (again) seize them.) Nothing stops them from this behavior, for whenever they are given an opportunity in this life, they will consume regardless of it being allowed or not.'' As-Suddi said about Allah's statement,

﴿ فَخَلَفَ مِنۢ بَعۡدِهِمۡ خَلۡفٌ۬

(Then after them succeeded an (evil) generation) until,

﴿ وَدَرَسُواْ مَا فِيهِ‌ۗ

(and they have studied what is in it (the Book).) "Every time the Children of Israel appointed a judge, he used to take bribes. The best ones among them held a counsel and took covenants from each that they would not take bribes. However, when one of them would take bribes in return for judgment and was asked, `What is the matter with you; you take a bribe to grant judgment', he replied, `I will be forgiven.' So the rest of his people would admonish him for what he did. But when he died, or was replaced, the one who replaced him would take bribes too. Therefore, Allah says, if the others (who admonished him) would have a chance to loot this world, they will take it.''' Allah said,

﴿ أَلَمۡ يُؤۡخَذۡ عَلَيۡہِم مِّيثَـٰقُ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ أَن لَّا يَقُولُواْ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ إِلَّا ٱلۡحَقَّ

(Was not the covenant of the Book taken from them that they would not say about Allah anything but the truth) thus, admonishing them for this behavior. Allah took a pledge from them that they would declare the truth to people and not hide it. Allah said in another Ayah,

﴿ وَإِذۡ أَخَذَ ٱللَّهُ مِيثَـٰقَ ٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ لَتُبَيِّنُنَّهُ ۥ لِلنَّاسِ وَلَا تَكۡتُمُونَهُ ۥ فَنَبَذُوهُ وَرَآءَ ظُهُورِهِمۡ وَٱشۡتَرَوۡاْ بِهِۦ ثَمَنً۬ا قَلِيلاً۬‌ۖ فَبِئۡسَ مَا يَشۡتَرُونَ

((And remember) when Allah took a covenant from those who were given the Scripture to make it known and clear to mankind, and not to hide it, but they threw it away behind their backs, and purchased with it some miserable gain! And indeed worst is that which they bought) (3:187). Ibn Jurayj said that Ibn `Abbas said about the Ayah,

﴿ أَلَمۡ يُؤۡخَذۡ عَلَيۡہِم مِّيثَـٰقُ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ أَن لَّا يَقُولُواْ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ إِلَّا ٱلۡحَقَّ

(Was not the covenant of the Book taken from them that they would not say about Allah anything but the truth), "Their claim that Allah will forgive the sins they keep committing without repenting from them.'' Allah said,

﴿ وَٱلدَّارُ ٱلۡأَخِرَةُ خَيۡرٌ۬ لِّلَّذِينَ يَتَّقُونَ‌ۗ أَفَلَا تَعۡقِلُونَ

(And the home in the Hereafter is better for those who have Taqwa Do not you then understand) Encouraging them to seek Allah's tremendous reward and warning them against His severe torment. Allah says here, `My reward and what I have are better for those who avoid prohibitions, abandon lusts and become active in the obedience of their Lord.'

﴿ أَفَلَا تَعۡقِلُونَ

(Do not you then understand) Allah says' Do not these people, who preferred this life instead of what is with Me, have any sense to prohibit them from their foolish and extravagant ways' Allah then praises those who adhere to His Book, which directs them to follow His Messenger Muhammad ,

﴿ وَٱلَّذِينَ يُمَسِّكُونَ بِٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ

(And as to those who hold fast to the Book) adhere to it, implement its commands and refrain from its prohibitions,

﴿ وَأَقَامُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ إِنَّا لَا نُضِيعُ أَجۡرَ ٱلۡمُصۡلِحِينَ

(and perform the Salah, certainly We shall never waste the reward of those who do righteous deeds.)

﴿ وَإِذۡ نَتَقۡنَا ٱلۡجَبَلَ فَوۡقَهُمۡ كَأَنَّهُ ۥ ظُلَّةٌ۬ وَظَنُّوٓاْ أَنَّهُ ۥ وَاقِعُۢ بِہِمۡ خُذُواْ مَآ ءَاتَيۡنَـٰكُم بِقُوَّةٍ۬ وَٱذۡكُرُواْ مَا فِيهِ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَتَّقُونَ

(171. And (remember) when We Nataqna 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 (the Tawrah), and remember that which is therein (act on its commandments), so that you may fear Allah and obey Him.'')

Raising Mount Tur over the Jews, because of Their Rebellion

`Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas commented on the Ayah,

﴿ وَإِذۡ نَتَقۡنَا ٱلۡجَبَلَ فَوۡقَهُمۡ

(And (remember) when We Nataqna the mountain over them), "We raised the mountain, as Allah's other statement testifies,

﴿ وَرَفَعۡنَا فَوۡقَهُمُ ٱلطُّورَ بِمِيثَـٰقِهِمۡ

(And for their covenant, We raised over them the mountain) (4:154).'' Also, Sufyan Ath-Thawri narrated that Al-A`mash said that, Sa`id bin Jubayr said that Ibn `Abbas said, "The angels raised the Mount over their heads, as reiterated by Allah's statement,

﴿ وَرَفَعۡنَا فَوۡقَهُمُ ٱلطُّورَ

(We raised over them the mountain) (4:154).'' Al-Qasim bin Abi Ayyub narrated that Sa`id bin Jubayr said that Ibn `Abbas said, "Musa later on proceeded with them to the Sacred Land. He took along the Tablets, after his anger subsided, and commanded them to adhere to the orders that Allah ordained to be delivered to them. But these orders became heavy on them and they did not want to implement them until Allah raised the mountain over them,

﴿ كَأَنَّهُ ۥ ظُلَّةٌ۬

(as if it had been a canopy), that is, when the angels raised the mountain over their heads.'' An-Nasa'i collected it.

﴿ وَإِذۡ أَخَذَ رَبُّكَ مِنۢ بَنِىٓ ءَادَمَ مِن ظُهُورِهِمۡ ذُرِّيَّتَہُمۡ وَأَشۡہَدَهُمۡ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِہِمۡ أَلَسۡتُ بِرَبِّكُمۡ‌ۖ قَالُواْ بَلَىٰ‌ۛ شَهِدۡنَآ‌ۛ أَن تَقُولُواْ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَـٰمَةِ إِنَّا ڪُنَّا عَنۡ هَـٰذَا غَـٰفِلِينَ أَوۡ تَقُولُوٓاْ إِنَّمَآ أَشۡرَكَ ءَابَآؤُنَا مِن قَبۡلُ وَڪُنَّا ذُرِّيَّةً۬ مِّنۢ بَعۡدِهِمۡ‌ۖ أَفَتُہۡلِكُنَا بِمَا فَعَلَ ٱلۡمُبۡطِلُونَ وَكَذَٲلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ ٱلۡأَيَـٰتِ وَلَعَلَّهُمۡ يَرۡجِعُونَ

(172. And (remember) when your Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam, from their loins, their seed and made them testify as to themselves (saying): "Am I not your Lord'' They said: "Yes! We testify,'' lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection: "Verily, we were unaware of this.'') (173. Or lest you should say: "It was only our fathers aforetime who took others as partners in worship along with Allah, and we were (merely their) descendants after them; will You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practiced falsehood'') (174. Thus do We explain the Ayat in detail, so that they may turn (unto the truth).)

The Covenant taken from the Descendants of Adam

Allah stated that He brought the descendants of Adam out of their fathers' loins, and they testified against themselves that Allah is their Lord and King and that there is no deity worthy of worship except Him. Allah created them on this Fitrah, or way, just as He said,

﴿ فَأَقِمۡ وَجۡهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفً۬ا‌ۚ فِطۡرَتَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلَّتِى فَطَرَ ٱلنَّاسَ عَلَيۡہَا‌ۚ لَا تَبۡدِيلَ لِخَلۡقِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ

(So set you (O Muhammad) your face truly towards the religion, Hanifan. Allah's Fitrah with which He has created mankind. No change let there be in Khalqillah.) (30:30) And it is recorded in the Two Sahihs from Abu Hurayrah who said that the Messenger of Allah said,

« كُلُّ مَوْلُودٍ يُولَدُ عَلَى الْفِطْرَةِ، فَأَبَوَاهُ يُهَوِّدَانِهِ وَيُنَصِّرَانِهِ وَيُمَجِّسَانِهِ كَمَا تُولَدُ بَهِيمَةً جَمْعَاءَ هَلْ تُحِسُّونَ فِيهَا مِنْ جَدْعَاء »

(Every child is born upon the Fitrah, it is only his parents who turn him into a Jew, a Christian or a Zoroastrian. Just as animals are born having full bodies, do you see any of them having a cutoff nose (when they are born)) . Muslim recorded that `Iyad bin `Himar said that the Messenger of Allah said;

« يَقُولُ اللهُ: إِنِّي خَلَقْتُ عِبَادِي حُنَفَاءَ فَجَاءَتْهُمُ الشَّيَاطِينُ فَاجْتَالَتْهُمْ عَنْ دِينِهِمْ وَحَرَّمَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ مَا أَحْلَلْتُ لَهُم »

(Allah said, `I created My servants Hunafa' (monotheists), but the devils came to them and deviated them from their religion, prohibiting what I allowed.) There are Hadiths that mention that Allah took Adam's offspring from his loins and divided them into those on the right and those on the left. Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas bin Malik said that the Prophet said,

« يُقَالُ لِلرَّجُلِ مِنْ أَهْلِ النَّارِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَرَأَيْتَ لَوْ كَانَ لَكَ مَا عَلَى الْأَرْضِ مِنْ شَيْءٍ أَكُنْتَ مُفْتَدِيًا بِهِ قَالَ: فَيَقُولُ: نَعَمْ فَيَقُولُ: قَدْ أَرَدْتُ مِنْكَ أَهْوَنَ مِنْ ذَلِكَ قَدْ أَخَذْتُ عَلَيْكَ فِي ظَهْرِ آدَمَ أَنْ لَا تُشْرِكَ بِي شَيْئًا فَأَبَيْتَ إِلَّا أَنْ تُشْرِكَ بِي »

(It will be said to a man from the people of the Fire on the Day of Resurrection, `If you owned all that is on the earth, would you pay it as ransom' He will reply, `Yes.' Allah will say, `I ordered you with what is less than that, when you were still in Adam's loins, that is, associate none with Me (in worship). You insisted that you associate with Me (in worship).') This was recorded in the Two Sahihs Commenting on this Ayah (7:172), At-Tirmidhi recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

« لَمَّا خَلَقَ اللهُ آدَمَ مَسَحَ ظَهْرَهُ فَسَقَطَ مِنْ ظَهْرِهِ كُلُّ نَسَمَةٍ هُوَ خَالِقُهَا مِنْ ذُرِّيَّتِهِ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَ عَيْنَي كَلِّ إِنْسَانٍ مِنْهُمْ وَبِيصًا مِنْ نُورٍ ثُمَّ عَرَضَهُمْ عَلَى آدَمَ فَقَالَ: أَيْ رَبِّ مَنْ هؤُلَاءِ؟ قَالَ: هؤُلَاءِ ذُرِّيَّتُكَ فَرَأَىَ رَجُلًا مِنْهُمْ فَأَعْجَبَهُ وَبِيصُ مَا بَيْنَ عَيْنَيْهِ قَالَ: أَيْ رَبِّ مَنْ هَذَا؟ قَالَ: هَذَا رَجُلٌ مِنْ آخِرِ الْأُمَمِ مِنْ ذُرِّيَّتِكَ يُقَالُ لَهُ دَاوُدُ قَالَ: رَبِّ وَكَمْ جَعَلْتَ عُمْرَهُ؟ قَالَ: سِتِّينَ سَنَةً، قَالَ: أَيْ رَبِّ وَقَدْ وَهَبْتُ لَهُ مِنْ عُمْرِي أَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةً فَلَمَّا انْقَضَى عُمْرُ آدَمَ جَاءَهُ مَلَكُ الْمَوْتِ قَالَ: أَوَ لَمْ يَبْقَ مِنْ عُمْرِي أَرْبَعُونَ سَنَةً قَالَ: أَوَ لَمْ تُعْطِهَا ابْنَكَ دَاوُدَ؟ قَالَ: فَجَحَدَ آدَمُ فَجَحَدَتْ ذُرِّيَّتُهُ وَنَسِيَ آدَمُ فَنِسَيتْ ذُرِّيَّتُهُ وَخَطِىءَ آدَمُ فَخَطِئَتْ ذُرِّيَّتُه »

(When Allah created Adam, He wiped Adam's back and every person that He will create from him until the Day of Resurrection fell out from his back. Allah placed a glimmering light between the eyes of each one of them. Allah showed them to Adam and Adam asked, `O Lord! Who are they' Allah said, `These are your offspring.' Adam saw a man from among them whose light he liked. He asked, `O Lord! Who is this man' Allah said, `This is a man from the latter generations of your offspring. His name is Dawud.' Adam said, `O Lord! How many years would he live' Allah said, `Sixty years.' Adam said, `O Lord! I have forfeited forty years from my life for him.' When Adam's life came to an end, the angel of death came to him (to take his soul). Adam said, `I still have forty years from my life term, don't I' He said, `Have you not given it to your son Dawud' So Adam denied that and his offspring followed suit (denying Allah's covenant), Adam forgot and his offspring forgot, Adam made a mistake and his offspring made mistakes.) At-Tirmidhi said, "This Hadith is Hasan Sahih, and it was reported from various chains of narration through Abu Hurayrah from the Prophet ''. Al-Hakim also recorded it in his Mustadrak, and said; "Sahih according to the criteria of Muslim, and they did not record it.'' These and similar Hadiths testify that Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored, brought forth Adam's offspring from his loins and separated between the inhabitants of Paradise and those of the Fire. Allah then said,

﴿ وَأَشۡہَدَهُمۡ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِہِمۡ أَلَسۡتُ بِرَبِّكُمۡ‌ۖ قَالُواْ بَلَىٰ‌ۛ

(and made them testify as to themselves (saying): "Am I not your Lord'' They said: "Yes!'') Therefore, Allah made them testify with themselves by circumstance and words. Testimony is sometimes given in words, such as,

﴿ قَالُواْ شَہِدۡنَا عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِنَا‌ۖ

(They will say: "We bear witness against ourselves.'') (6:130) At other times, testimony is given by the people themselves, such as Allah's statement,

﴿ مَا كَانَ لِلۡمُشۡرِكِينَ أَن يَعۡمُرُواْ مَسَـٰجِدَ ٱللَّهِ شَـٰهِدِينَ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِهِم بِٱلۡكُفۡرِ‌ۚ

(It is not for the Mushrikin, (polytheists) to maintain the mosques of Allah, while they testify against their own selves of disbelief.) (9:17) This Ayah means that their disbelief testifies against them, not that they actually testify against themselves here. Another Ayah of this type is Allah's statement,

﴿ وَإِنَّهُ ۥ عَلَىٰ ذَٲلِكَ لَشَہِيدٌ۬

(And to that he bears witness (by his deeds). ) (100:7) The same is the case with asking, sometimes takes the form of words and sometimes a situation or circumstance. For instance, Allah said,

﴿ وَءَاتَٮٰكُم مِّن ڪُلِّ مَا سَأَلۡتُمُوهُ‌ۚ

(And He gave you of all that you asked for.) (14:34) Allah said here,

﴿ أَن تَقُولُواْ

(lest you should say), on the Day of Resurrection

﴿ إِنَّا ڪُنَّا عَنۡ هَـٰذَا

(we were of this) of Tawhid

﴿ غَـٰفِلِينَ أَوۡ تَقُولُوٓاْ إِنَّمَآ أَشۡرَكَ ءَابَآؤُنَا

(unaware. Or lest you should say: "It was only our fathers aforetime who took others as partners in worship along with Allah,'') (7:172-173)

﴿ وَٱتۡلُ عَلَيۡهِمۡ نَبَأَ ٱلَّذِىٓ ءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُ ءَايَـٰتِنَا فَٱنسَلَخَ مِنۡهَا فَأَتۡبَعَهُ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ فَكَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡغَاوِينَ وَلَوۡ شِئۡنَا لَرَفَعۡنَـٰهُ بِہَا وَلَـٰكِنَّهُ ۥۤ أَخۡلَدَ إِلَى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَٱتَّبَعَ هَوَٮٰهُ‌ۚ فَمَثَلُهُ ۥ كَمَثَلِ ٱلۡڪَلۡبِ إِن تَحۡمِلۡ عَلَيۡهِ يَلۡهَثۡ أَوۡ تَتۡرُڪۡهُ يَلۡهَث‌ۚ ذَّٲلِكَ مَثَلُ ٱلۡقَوۡمِ ٱلَّذِينَ كَذَّبُواْ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَا‌ۚ فَٱقۡصُصِ ٱلۡقَصَصَ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ سَآءَ مَثَلاً ٱلۡقَوۡمُ ٱلَّذِينَ كَذَّبُواْ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَا وَأَنفُسَہُمۡ كَانُواْ يَظۡلِمُونَ

(175. And recite to them the story of him to whom We gave Our Ayat, but he threw them away; so Shaytan followed him up, and he became of those who went astray.) (176. And had We willed, We would surely have elevated him therewith, but he clung to the earth and followed his own vain desires. So his parable is the parable of a dog: if you drive him away, he pants, or if you leave him alone, he (still) pants. Such is the parable of the people who reject Our Ayat. So relate the stories, perhaps they may reflect.) (177. Evil is the parable of the people who rejected Our Ayat, and used to wrong themselves.)

Story Bal`am bin Ba`ura

`Abdur-Razzaq recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said that Allah's statement,

﴿ وَٱتۡلُ عَلَيۡهِمۡ نَبَأَ ٱلَّذِىٓ ءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُ ءَايَـٰتِنَا فَٱنسَلَخَ مِنۡهَا

(And recite to them the story of him to whom We gave Our Ayat, but he threw them away) "Is about Bal`am bin Ba`ura' a man from the Children of Israel.'' Shu`bah and several other narrators narrated this statement from Mansur who got it from Ibn Mas`ud. Sa`id bin Abi `Arubah narrated that Qatadah said that Ibn `Abbas said, "He is Sayfi, son of Ar-Rahib.'' Qatadah commented that Ka`b said, "He was a man from Al-Balqla' (a province of Jordan) who knew Allah's Greatest Name. He used to live in Bayt Al-Maqdis with the tyrants.'' Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "He is Bal`am bin Ba`ura', a man from Yemen whom Allah had given the knowledge of His Ayat, but he abandoned them.'' Malik bin Dinar said, "He was one of the scholars of the Children of Israel whose supplication was acceptable. They used to seek his lead in supplication in times of difficulty. Allah's Prophet Musa sent him to the King of Madyan to call him to Allah. That king appeased him and gave him land and gifts, and he reverted from the religion of Musa and followed the king's religion.'' `Imran bin `Uyaynah narrated that `Husayn said that `Imran bin Al-Harith said that Ibn `Abbas said, "He is Bal`am son of Ba`ura'.'' Similar was said by Mujahid and `Ikrimah. Therefore, it is well-known that this honorable Ayah was revealed about a man from the Children of Israel in ancient times, according to Ibn Mas`ud and several others among the Salaf. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "He is a man from the city of the tyrants (Jerusalem) whose name was Bal`am and who knew Allah's Greatest Name.'' `Ali bin Abi Talhah also reported that Ibn `Abbas that he said, "When Musa and those with him went to the city of the tyrants (Jerusalem), the cousins of Bal`am and his people came to him and said, `Musa is a strong man, and he has many soldiers. If he gains the upper hand over us, we will be destroyed. Therefore, supplicate to Allah that He prevents Musa and those with him from prevailing over us.' Bal`am said, `If I supplicate to Allah that He turns back Musa and those with him, I will lose in this life and the Hereafter.' They kept luring him until he supplicated against Musa and his people, and Allah took away what he bestowed on him (of knowledge). Hence Allah's statement,

﴿ فَٱنسَلَخَ مِنۡهَا فَأَتۡبَعَهُ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ

(but he threw them away; so Shaytan followed him up).''' Allah said next,

﴿ وَلَوۡ شِئۡنَا لَرَفَعۡنَـٰهُ بِہَا وَلَـٰكِنَّهُ ۥۤ أَخۡلَدَ إِلَى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَٱتَّبَعَ هَوَٮٰهُ‌ۚ

(And had We willed, We would surely have elevated him therewith but he clung to the earth and followed his own vain desires.) Allah said,

﴿ وَلَوۡ شِئۡنَا لَرَفَعۡنَـٰهُ بِہَا

(And had We willed, We would surely have elevated him therewith) from the filth of this earthly life through the Ayat that We gave him knowledge of,

﴿ وَلَـٰكِنَّهُ ۥۤ أَخۡلَدَ إِلَى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ

(but he clung to the earth), he became interested in the adornment of this life and its delights. He indulged in the lusts of life and its joys and was deceived by it, just as life deceived others like him, without sound comprehension or a good mind. Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar narrated from Salim, from Abu An-Nadr that when Musa entered the land of Bani Canaan in the area of Ash-Sham (Greater Syria), the people of Bal`am came to him, saying, "This is Musa, son of `Imran with the Children of Israel. He wants to drive us out from our land, kill us and replace us with the Children of Israel. We are your people and have no other dwelling area. You are a person whose supplication is acceptable (to Allah), so go out and supplicate to Allah against them.'' He said, "Woe to you! Here is Allah's Prophet (Musa) with whom the angels and believers are! How can I supplicate against them when I know from Allah what I know'' They said, "We have no other dwelling area.'' So they kept luring and begging him until he was tempted by the trial and went on his donkey towards Mount Husban, which was behind the Israelite military barracks. When he proceeded on the Mount for a while, the donkey sat down and refused to proceed. He got off the donkey and struck it until it stood up again and he rode it. The donkey did the same after a little while, and he struck it again until it stood up... So he proceeded and tried to supplicate against Musa and his people. However, Allah made his tongue mention his people with evil and the Children of Israel with good instead of his people, who protested, "O Bal`am! What are you doing You are supplicating for them and against us!'' He said, "It is against my will. This is a matter that Allah has decided.'' He then said to them, as his tongue was made to loll out of his mouth, "Now I have lost this life and the Hereafter.'' This Ayah was revealed about the story of Bal`am son of Ba`ura'

﴿ وَٱتۡلُ عَلَيۡهِمۡ نَبَأَ ٱلَّذِىٓ ءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُ ءَايَـٰتِنَا فَٱنسَلَخَ مِنۡهَا

(And recite to them the story of him to whom We gave Our Ayat, but he threw them away.), until,

﴿ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

(perhaps they may reflect.) Allah said next,

﴿ فَمَثَلُهُ ۥ كَمَثَلِ ٱلۡڪَلۡبِ إِن تَحۡمِلۡ عَلَيۡهِ يَلۡهَثۡ أَوۡ تَتۡرُڪۡهُ يَلۡهَث‌ۚ

(So his parable is the parable of a dog: if you drive him away, he pants, or if you leave him alone, he (still) pants.) Scholars of Tafsir have conflicting opinions regarding the meaning of this Ayah. Some scholars said that it refers to the end of Bal`am's tongue which flickered out of his mouth, as in the story narrated from Ibn Ishaq, from Salim, from Abu An-Nadr. Therefore, his example is the example of the dog, its tongue pants regardless of whether it is driven away or not. It was also said that the meaning here is a parable of this man -- and his like -- concerning their misguidance, persisting the wrong path and not being able to benefit from faith or comprehend what they are being called to. So his example is that of a dog which pants whether it was driven away or left alone. The person described here does not benefit from the advice or the call to faith, just as if the advice and call never occurred. Allah said in another Ayah,

﴿ سَوَآءٌ عَلَيۡهِمۡ ءَأَنذَرۡتَهُمۡ أَمۡ لَمۡ تُنذِرۡهُمۡ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ

(It is the same to them (disbelievers) whether you warn them or do not warn them, they will not believe.) (2:6) and,

﴿ ٱسۡتَغۡفِرۡ لَهُمۡ أَوۡ لَا تَسۡتَغۡفِرۡ لَهُمۡ إِن تَسۡتَغۡفِرۡ لَهُمۡ سَبۡعِينَ مَرَّةً۬ فَلَن يَغۡفِرَ ٱللَّهُ لَهُمۡ‌ۚ

(Whether you ask forgiveness for them (hypocrites) or ask not forgiveness for them -- (and even) if you ask seventy times for their forgiveness -- Allah will not forgive them.) (9:80) and similar Ayat. It was also said that the meaning here, is that the heart of the disbeliever, the hypocrite and the wicked is weak and devoid of guidance. Therefore, it keeps faltering. Similar was narrated from Al-Hasan Al-Basri.

﴿ فَٱقۡصُصِ ٱلۡقَصَصَ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

(So relate the stories, perhaps they may reflect) Allah said next to His Prophet Muhammad ,

﴿ فَٱقۡصُصِ ٱلۡقَصَصَ لَعَلَّهُمۡ

(So relate the stories, perhaps they may) the Children of Israel, who have knowledge or the story of Bal`am and what happened to him when Allah allowed him to stray and expelled him from His mercy. Allah favored him by teaching him His Greatest Name, by which, if He is asked, He will grant, and if He is called upon, He answers. But Bal`am used it in disobedience to Allah and invoked Him against His own party of the people of faith, followers of His servant and Messenger during that time, Musa, the son of `Imran, peace be upon him, whom Allah spoke to directly,

﴿ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

(perhaps they may reflect.) and avoid Bal`am's behavior, for Allah has given the Jews knowledge and made them superior to the bedouins surrounding them. He gave them the description of Muhammad which would allow them to recognize him, as they recognize their own children. They, among people, have the most right to follow, aid and support Muhammad , in obedience to their Prophets who informed them of him and commanded them to follow him. Therefore, whoever among them defies the knowledge in their Books or hides it from the servants, Allah will place disgrace on him in this life, followed by humiliation in the Hereafter. Allah said,

﴿ سَآءَ مَثَلاً ٱلۡقَوۡمُ ٱلَّذِينَ كَذَّبُواْ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَا

(Evil is the parable of the people who rejected Our Ayat.) Allah says, evil is the example of the people who deny Our Ayat in that they are equated with dogs that have no interest but to collect food and satisfy lusts.' Therefore, whoever goes out of the area of knowledge and guidance, and seeks satisfaction for his lusts and vain desires, is just like a dog; what an evil example. The Sahih recorded that the Messenger of Allah said,

« لَيْسَ لَنَا مَثَلُ السَّوْءِ، الْعَائِدُ فِي هِبَتِهِ كَالْكَلْبِ يَعُودُ فِي قَيْئِه »

(The evil example is not suitable for us: he who goes back on his gift is just like the dog that eats its vomit.) Allah's statement,

﴿ وَأَنفُسَہُمۡ كَانُواْ يَظۡلِمُونَ

(and they used to wrong themselves.) means, Allah did not wrong them, but they wronged themselves by rejecting guidance, not obeying the Lord, being content with this life that will soon end, all the while seeking to fulfill desires and obey lusts.

﴿ مَن يَہۡدِ ٱللَّهُ فَهُوَ ٱلۡمُهۡتَدِى‌ۖ وَمَن يُضۡلِلۡ فَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرُونَ

(178. Whomsoever Allah guides, he is the guided one, and whomsoever He sends astray, -- then those! They are the losers.) Allah says, whomever He leads aright, then none can lead him to misguidance, and whomever He leads astray, will have acquired failure, loss and sure misguidance. Verily, whatever Allah wills occurs; and whatever He does not will, does not occur. A Hadith narrated from `Abdullah bin Mas`ud reads,

« إِنَّ الْحَمْدَ للهِ نَحْمَدُهُ وَنَسْتَعِينُهُ وَنَسْتَهْدِيهِ وَنَسْتَغْفِرُهُ وَنَعُوذُ بِاللهِ مِنْ شُرُورِ أَنْفُسِنَا وَمِنْ سَيِّئَاتِ أَعْمَالِنَا، مَنْ يَهْدِ اللهُ فَلَا مُضِلَّ لَهُ وَمَنْ يُضْلِلِ اللهُ فَلَا هَادِيَ لَهُ، وَأَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ وَأَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُه »

(All praise is due to Allah, Whom we praise and seek help, guidance and forgiveness from. We seek refuge with Allah from the evils within ourselves and from the burden of our evil deeds. He whom Allah guides, will never be misled; and he whom He misguides, will never have one who will guide him. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah without partners and that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger.) The complete Hadith was collected by Imam Ahmad and the collectors of Sunan and others.

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ ذَرَأۡنَا لِجَهَنَّمَ ڪَثِيرً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلۡجِنِّ وَٱلۡإِنسِ‌ۖ لَهُمۡ قُلُوبٌ۬ لَّا يَفۡقَهُونَ بِہَا وَلَهُمۡ أَعۡيُنٌ۬ لَّا يُبۡصِرُونَ بِہَا وَلَهُمۡ ءَاذَانٌ۬ لَّا يَسۡمَعُونَ بِہَآ‌ۚ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ كَٱلۡأَنۡعَـٰمِ بَلۡ هُمۡ أَضَلُّ‌ۚ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلۡغَـٰفِلُونَ

(179. And surely, We have created many of the Jinn and mankind for Hell. They have hearts wherewith they understand not, and they have eyes wherewith they see not, and they have ears wherewith they hear not (the truth). They are like cattle, nay even more astray; those! They are the heedless ones.)