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The Jews Seeking Excuses

By: Ayatullah al-Uzma Naser Makarem Shirazi

(153)

153- THE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK ASK YOU TO BRING DOWN TO THEM A BOOK FROM HEAVEN. THEY ASKED MOSES FOR GREATER THAN THAT, AND SAID:- ``SHOW US ALLAH OPENLY.'' THEN THE THUNDERBOLT SMOTE THEM FOR THEIR OPPRESSION. AFTER THAT, THEY TOOK THE CALF (FOR GOD) AFTER THE CLEAR SIGNS THAT HAD COME TO THEM. YET WE PARDONED THEM THAT, AND WE BESTOWED UPON MOSES A CLEAR AUTHORITY.
(154)

154- AND WE RAISED ABOVE THEM THE MOUNT SINAI FOR THEIR COVENANT, AND WE SAID TO THEM:- `ENTER THE GATE PROSTRATING.'' AND WE SAID TO THEM:- `TRANSGRESS NOT THE SABBATH.'' AND WE TOOK FROM THEM A SOLEMN COVENANT.
THE COMMENTARY
CAUSE OF THE REVELATION (VERSE NO. 153)
A group of the Jews came to the prophet Mohammad S.A., and said:- ``If you are a truthful Messenger of God, then bring us down from the heaven a Book complete and perfect; and at once and not gradually, that so did Moses. The verse was revealed to answer them.

THE JEWS SEEKING EXCUSES
They asked our prophet to cause a completed Book to descend from the heavens, and of surety their request came of their bad intention and not for seeking knowledge and insight. The revelation of the Scriptures is for the guidance of mankind, and it may come down at once or gradually, according to the demands of time and space. This is why Allah reminds His Messenger of the many childish excuses and foolish requests that the Israelites wanted of Moses to perform. They asked to see God face to face and with their material eyes and sense of sight! So the lightening dazzled their eyes and dazed them and knocked them down to death! In spite of all that; the compassionate God pardoned them, but again and again they sinned and after all took the golden calf for their worship!
VERSE NO. 154
In spite of all the miracles, advices, and admonitions, they did not wake up to the seriousness of their situation, and continued with their arrogance, by breaking the covenant that they made under the towering height of Mount Sinai; violating the Sabbath rites, and showing arrogance when they were ordered to enter the gate of the town prostrating.

(155)

155- BUT FOR THEIR BREACH OF THEIR COVENANT, AND THEIR DISBELIEF IN THE SIGNS OF ALLAH, AND THEIR SLAYING THE PROPHETS WITHOUT RIGHT, AND FOR THEIR SAYING OUR HEARTS ARE COVERED. (AND WE UNDERSTAND NOT WHAT DO THE PROPHETS SAY) NAY, BUT ALLAH HAS SEALED THEIR HEARTS FOR THEIR BLASPHEMY, AND SO WILL THEY NOT BELIEVE EXCEPT A FEW.
(156)

156- AND FOR THEIR BLASPHEMY, AND FOR THEIR UTTERING AGAINST MARY A GRAVE CALUMNY.
(157)

157- AND FOR THEIR SAYINGS:- `WE SLEW MESSIAH, JESUS SON OF MARY THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH.'' AND THEY DID NOT KILL HIM, AND DID NOT CRUCIFY HIM, BUT IT WAS MISREPRESENTED TO THEM. AND THOSE WHO ARE AT VARIANCE CONCERNING HIM, ARE IN DOUBT REGARDING HIM. THEY HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE OTHER THAN SHEER CONJECTURE, AND THEY KILLED HIM NOT CERTAINLY.
(158)

158- RATHER ALLAH RAISED HIM UP TOWARDS HIMSELF, THAT ALLAH IS MIGHTY WISE.
THE COMMENTARY
ANOTHER CORNER OF THE JEWISH WRONGS (VERSE NO. 155)
Here it begins with another series of the Jewish iniquities and wickedness from a different point of view; that, they broke their covenants, and rejected God's guidance. They even did not stop to that level of heinous sins, and slew their apostles, and proceeded to catch and crucify Jesus Christ, the arch prophet of Allah! They perpetually closed the doors of guidance and Divine Inspiration in their hearts saying:- ``Our hearts are covered and closed'', so that no word of truth could ever penetrate in those stony hearts, nor there remained a way for God's Grace and Guidance to enter in!
VERSE NO. 156
They inroad into blasphemy so firm and so fast that they could shamelessly make false charges and gave calumny against a godly and chaste woman, who was chosen by God to be the mother of an arch prophet, like Jesus Christ (AS).
VERSE NO. 157
They even boasted of having killed Jesus; though they were the liars who followed their sheer conjectures; because they neither killed Jesus, nor crucified him. The incident was misrepresented to them, and in fact Allah raised His arch prophet, Jesus Christ towards Himself in the higher lives and ranks.
If we see that Quran puts stress and emphasis upon the matter, that, Jesus was neither killed nor crucified; it is to wind up, and give an end to such superstitions, like the theological doctrine of Blood Sacrifice, and the vicarious Atonement for sins, that has turned to a trading shop, in which one may purchase a part in the Paradise and sell a pit in the Hell!
(159)

159- THERE IS NO ONE OF THE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK, BUT, WILL BELIEVE IN HIM BEFORE HIS DEATH; AND IN THE DAY OF RESURRECTION HE WILL BE A WITNESS ON THEM.
THE COMMENTARY
VERSE NO. 159
Commentators have understood two shades of meanings for the above verse, when considering the pronoun `his death' some of them hold that Jesus did not die. He was neither killed nor crucified, and that he is still alive in his material body, and will eventually come down to fulfill the word of God in accompany with Imam Almahdi; and that the pronoun; His, refers to Christ, and all the people of the Scripture, and in particular the Jews, will believe in Jesus before His death.
Some other commentators refer the pronoun in `His death' to the people of the Book, and in particular to the Jews saying:-
``When man lays in his death bed, his connections with this lower material world will weaken, and his ties and communications with the next world will be strengthened, and he will be confronted with various facts and figures, and he will consider the Message and Messenger of God, with more enthusiasm, and will come to the conclusion that the prophets were right and truthful, and they themselves were adhered to wrong and falsehood! Thus they all will eventually believe in what their apostles have said, but unfortunately too late.''
(160)

160- DUE TO THE OPPRESSION OF THOSE JEWS, WE MADE UNLAWFUL FOR THEM CERTAIN GOOD THINGS THAT WERE LAWFUL FOR THEM; AND ALSO DUE TO THEIR HINDERING MANY PEOPLE FROM ALLAH'S WAY.
(161)

161- AND FOR TAKING USURY, THOUGH THEY WERE FORBIDDEN; AND THEIR DEVOURING THE PROPERTIES OF PEOPLE FALSELY. AND WE HAVE PREPARED FOR THE UNBELIEVERS OF THEM A PAINFUL PUNISHMENT.
(162)

162- BUT THOSE OF THEM WHO ARE WELL ROOTED IN KNOWLEDGE, AND THE BELIEVERS; BELIEVE IN WHAT HAS BEEN SENT DOWN TO YOU AND IN WHAT WAS SENT DOWN BEFORE YOU; AND WHO PERFORM PRAYER, AND PAY THE ALMS-TAX (TITHE) AND BELIEVERS IN ALLAH AND THE LAST DAY. TO THEM SHALL WE SOON GIVE A GREAT REWARD.
THE COMMENTARY
THE DESTINY OF THE RIGHTFUL JEWS, AND THE
UNRIGHTEOUES. (VERSE NO. 160 & 161)
These verses here, refer to some other mischiefs and bad conducts of the Jews, and imply the eventual consequences of their deeds upon their lives and final destiny. Because of their iniquities and oppressions, and their hindering people from the straight path of truth, they, themselves were deprived and prevented the use of some of the good things that were formerly lawful for them.
They had more wickedness than that - they devoured usury of which they were strictly forbidden. They ate the properties of people wrongfully, of which they were sternly prohibited. And so they deserved all the distresses and afflictions that were inflicted upon them in this low mortal life, while these are very light, in comparison to the heavy and painful punishment, that await them in the life to come; and after the final judgement of Allah.
VERSE NO. 162
This verse refers to a very important matter that, Islam blames no one for race and nationality; and despises nobody for their colour, tribes, origin or creation. And such is the case with the Jews too. The attack is upon the people's mischief, evil deeds, arrogances, ignorances and any thing or any conduct that naturally may come under the title of bad, evil, wrong, unlawful and etc.
Therefore in this verse, a group of the Jews who are deeply rooted in knowledge - who are scholars, learned, and owners of wisdom - who believe in God, and in God's Final Judgement, are praised, admired, and regarded with esteem.
To this effect we saw a group of them - of the Jewish leaders and chieftains who comprehended the meaning and the purpose of Islam - believed in it, and adhered to the Quran and were among the nearer companions and dearer disciples of our prophet, in his life time.
(163)

163- WE HAVE INSPIRED IN YOU, AS WE INSPIRED IN NUH, AND THE PROPHETS AFTER HIM. AND WE INSPIRED IN ABRAHAM, ISHMAEL, ISAAC, JACOB, AND THE APOSTLES AND THE TRIBES, IN JESUS AND JOB, JONAH, AND AARON, AND SOLOMON; AND WE GAVE DAVID THE PSALMS.
(164)

164- AND (WE HAVE INSPIRED IN) MESSENGERS THAT WE HAVE ALREADY TOLD YOU OF THEIR STORY, AND MESSENGERS THAT WE HAVE NOT TOLD YOU OF THEM. AND ALLAH SPOKE TO MOSES BY WORD.
(165)

165- MESSENGERS BEARING GLAD- TIDINGS AND WARNINGS, SO THAT PEOPLE MAY HAVE NO PLEA AGAINST ALLAH AFTER THE MESSENGERS; AND ALLAH IS MIGHTY WISE.
(166)

166- BUT ALLAH BEARS WITNESS THAT WHAT HE HAS SENT DOWN TO YOU; HE HAS SENT IT DOWN WITH HIS KNOWLEDGE. AND THE ANGELS TOO, BEAR THAT WITNESS. AND ALLAH WILL SUFFICE FOR A WITNESS.
THE COMMENTARY
VERSE NO. 163 - 166
In a general statement, the verse states that inspiration has been inspired in many apostls, some of whom have been named and introduced by the Holy Quran, and some have not been mentioned therein.
Inspiration is not necessarily sending down a book.
It rather implies a supernatural influence which qualifies an apostle to receive and communicate Divine truth.
That which has been inspired to Mohammad S.A., and to the other apostles mentioned here, like Nuh, Moses, Jesus, Abraham and else, are all of the same kind and the same nature, and their origin and main source is the infinite knowledge of God the All-knowing substance.
There are some notes here to be considerd with a special care and attention:-
1-The phrase :- ``We inspired in you, as we inspired in Nuh, Abraham,....'' implies that, whatever of good and useful had previously been inspired in the apostles, have all been inspired again to Mohammad S.A. who is the seal and the last of the prophets. In another word; what -ever of goodness, virtue, knowledge and wisdom had been given to all the prophets collectively, it has completely been given to Mohammad S.A. alone.
2- Here we read that the Psalms which is a Divine Book, has been given to David. This is contrary to, and rejects the faith that only divine Books were given to the five arch prophets; (Nuh, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad S.A. ) because David who was not among the arch prophet, did receive a Book from the heaven.
3- TRIBES OF ISRAEL were twelve which made up the confederacy of Israel. The oldest list of them is found in the Bible- GENESIS 49; 1-27, and are represented as individuals who were all sons of Jacob. Their names are: 1- REUBEN. 2- SIMEON. 3- LEVI. 4- JUDAH. 5- ZEBULUN. 6- ISSACHAR. 7- DAN. 8- GUD. 9- ASHER. 10- NAPHTALI. 11- JOSEPH. 12- BENJAMINE.
The Levites became a purely religious group acting as priests, without permanent occupation of land.
4-The nature of inspiration to the prophets has been different:- ``Some of them received it by induction in their heart and minds. Some of them heard a voice that was created. To some of them the angels personified and incarnated, and spoke face to face and ear to ear. Among them, Moses could hear the voices created by God which for the first time a fire attracted him towards a bush in the holy land of Sinai. There the angel of lord appeared to him as a flame, (EXODUS-3:2) coming from the middle of a tree! The bush was on the fire but it was not burning. Then the lord called Moses from the middle of the bush and said:``O, Moses! I am your lord God! Take off your sandals, because you are standing on holy ground:''
Also, on the sacred mountain Sinai God spoke to Moses through a piece of cloud (EXODUS-34:5) and hence the title of -MOSES THE INTERLOCUTOR has been given to him by Muslims, which means:-``THE APOSTLE TO WHOM GOD SPOKE.''
(167)

167- THOSE WHO DISBELIEVED AND BARRED (PEOPLE) FROM THE WAY OF ALLAH, THEY HAVE STRAYED INTO A FAR ASTRAY.
(168)

168- THOSE WHO DISBELIEVED AND OPPRESSED, ALLAH WILL NOT FORGIVE THEM, NEITHER WILL HE GUIDE THEM TO A WAY.
(169)

169- EXCEPT THE WAY TO HELL, `DWELLING THEREIN FOR EVER, AND THIS IS EASY FOR ALLAH. (TO DO)

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