The Quran

Commentaries for 2.174

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.174 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Lo! Those who hide anything of the Scripture which Allah hath revealed) what Allah has exposited in the Torah regarding the description and traits of Muhammad, (and purchase) by concealing this (a small gain therewith) a small profit, this was revealed about Ka'b Ibn al-Ashraf, Huyayy Ibn Akhtab and Judayy Ibn Akhtab (they eat into their bellies) they put into their bellies (nothing else than fire) except the unlawful; and it is also said that this means: they eat nothing except that which will turn into fire in their bellies on the Day of Judgement. (And Allah will not speak to them) nicely (on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He make them pure) He will not absolve them of their transgressions; it is also said that this means: He will not commend them in any good way. (Theirs will be a painful doom) a painful torment that will extend to their hearts.
2.174 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
Those who conceal what God has revealed of the Scripture, comprising all the descriptions of Muhammad (s), meaning the Jews, and sell it for a little price, in this world, taking this [little price] in its place from the debased ones among them, for fear of losing out if they were to manifest it [sc. the truth of Muhammad (s)] — they shall consume nothing in their bellies but the Fire, because that is their journey’s end; God shall not speak to them on the Day of Resurrection, out of anger with them, neither purify them, from the filth of sin; and theirs is a painful chastisement, that is, the Fire.
2.174 Kashani - Kashani
[Those who conceal what God has revealed of the Scripture, and sell it for a little price] - they shall consume nothing in their bellies but, that is, their bellies' fill is nothing but the fuel of, the Fire, of privation and the cause for the igniting of the fire of nature that veils [one] from the light of the truth and chastises through the dark configurations of evil, [configurations] that lead that person to the hell-fire of corporeal [primordial] matter (hayūlā). God shall not speak to them on the Day of Resurrection [and He will not look at them], neither purify them: an expression of the intensity of His wrath against them and their banishment from Him; [and theirs is a painful chastisement.]
2.174-176 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Criticizing the Jews for concealing what Allah revealed
Allah said:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْتُمُونَ مَآ أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ مِنَ الْكِتَـبِ
(Verily, those who conceal what Allah has sent down of the Book.) Meaning the Jews who concealed their Book's descriptions of Muhammad, all of which testify to his truth as a Messenger and a Prophet. They concealed this information so that they would not lose authority and the position that they had with the Arabs, where they would bring them gifts, and honor them. The cursed Jews feared that if they announced what they know about Muhammad, then the people would abandon them and follow him. So they hid the truth so that they may retain the little that they were getting, and they sold their souls for this little profit. They preferred the little that they gained over guidance and following the truth, believing in the Messenger and having faith in what Allah was sent him with. Therefore, they have profited failure and loss in this life and the Hereafter.
As for this world, Allah made the truth about His Messenger known anyway, by the clear signs and the unequivocal proofs. Thereafter, those whom the Jews feared would follow the Prophet, believed in him and followed him anyway, and so they became his supporters against them. Thus, the Jews earned anger on top of the wrath that they already had earned before, and Allah criticized them again many times in His Book. For instance, Allah said in this Ayah (2:174 above):
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْتُمُونَ مَآ أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ مِنَ الْكِتَـبِ وَيَشْتَرُونَ بِهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيًلا
(Verily, those who conceal what Allah has sent down of the Book, and purchase a small gain therewith (of worldly things).) meaning, the joys and delights of this earthly life. Allah said:
أُولَـئِكَ مَا يَأْكُلُونَ فِي بُطُونِهِمْ إِلاَّ النَّارَ
(...they eat into their bellies nothing but fire,) meaning, whatever they eat in return for hiding the truth, will turn into a raging fire in their stomachs on the Day of Resurrection.
Similarly, Allah said:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ أَمْوَلَ الْيَتَـمَى ظُلْماً إِنَّمَا يَأْكُلُونَ فِى بُطُونِهِمْ نَاراً وَسَيَصْلَوْنَ سَعِيراً
(Verily, those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, they eat up only fire into their bellies, and they will be burnt in the blazing Fire!) (4:10)
Also, reported in an authentic Hadith is that Allah's Messenger said:
«الَّذِي يَأْكُلُ أَوْ يَشْرَبُ فِي آنِيةِ الذَّهَبِ وَالْفِضَّةِ إنَّمَا يُجَرْجِرُ فِي بَطْنِهِ نَارَ جَهَنَّم»
(Those who eat or drink in golden or silver plates are filling their stomachs with the fire of Jahannam (Hell).)
Allah said:
وَلاَ يُكَلِّمُهُمُ اللَّهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَـمَةِ وَلاَ يُزَكِّيهِمْ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
(Allah will not speak to them on the Day of Resurrection, nor purify them, and theirs will be a painful torment.)
This is because Allah is furious with them for concealing the truth. They thus deserve Allah's anger, so Allah will not look at them or purify them, meaning that He will not praise them but will cause them to taste a severe torment. Then, Allah said about them:
أُوْلَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرَوُاْ الضَّلَـلَةَ بِالْهُدَى
(Those are they who have purchased error for guidance.)
Hence, they opposed the guidance, that is, not announcing the Prophet's description they find in their Books, the news about his prophecy and the good news of his coming which the previous Prophets proclaimed, as well as following and believing in him. Instead, they preferred misguidance by denying him, rejecting him and concealing his descriptions that were mentioned in their Books. Allah said:
وَالْعَذَابَ بِالْمَغْفِرَةِ
(...and torment at the price of forgiveness,) meaning, they preferred torment over forgiveness due to the sins they have committed. Allah then said:
فَمَآ أَصْبَرَهُمْ عَلَى النَّارِ
(So how bold they are (for evil deeds which will push them) to the Fire.)
Allah states that they will suffer such severe, painful torment that those who see them will be amazed at how they could bear the tremendous punishment, torture and pain that they will suffer. We seek refuge with Allah from this evil end. RAllah's Statement:
ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ نَزَّلَ الْكِتَـبَ بِالْحَقِّ
(That is because Allah has sent down the Book (the Qur'an) in truth. ) means, they deserve this painful torment because Allah has revealed Books to His Messenger Muhammad, and the Prophets before him, and these revelations bring about truth and expose falsehood. Yet, they took Allah's signs for mockery. Their Books ordered them to announce the truth and to spread the knowledge, but instead, they defied the knowledge and rejected it. This Final Messenger ـ Muhammad ـ called them to Allah, commanded them to work righteousness and forbade them from committing evil. Yet, they rejected, denied and defied him and hid the truth that they knew about him. They, thus, mocked the Ayat that Allah revealed to His Messengers, and this is why they deserved the torment and the punishment. This is why Allah said here (2:176):
ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ نَزَّلَ الْكِتَـبَ بِالْحَقِّ وَإِنَّ الَّذِينَ اخْتَلَفُواْ فِى الْكِتَـبِ لَفِى شِقَاقٍ بَعِيدٍ
(That is because Allah has sent down the Book (the Qur'an) in truth. And verily, those who disputed about the Book are far away in opposition.)
2.174-176 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
These were their learned people, who, in spite of possessing the knowledge of the Divine Book, kept it back from the common people, and were responsible for all the superstitions, false customs and unnecessary restrictions which were prevalent among them and which gave birth to new codes of law. Besides this, they were also guilty of another crime. They did not utter a word against the evil practices which began to spread as a result of that ignorance which had been deliberately created among them. Not only this: the majority of them considered this sorry condition to be advantageous to themselves and so let the Commandments of Allah remain hidden from the people.
These were their learned people, who, in spite of possessing the knowledge of the Divine Book, kept it back from the common people, and were responsible for all the superstitions, false customs and unnecessary restrictions which were prevalent among them and which gave birth to new codes of law. Besides this, they were also guilty of another crime. They did not utter a word against the evil practices which began to spread as a result of that ignorance which had been deliberately created among them. Not only this: the majority of them considered this sorry condition to be advantageous to themselves and so let the Commandments of Allah remain hidden from the people.
2.174 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
Those who conceal what God has revealed of the scripture and sell it for a little price-they shall consume nothing in their bellies but the fire; God shall not speak to them on the Day of Resurrection neither purify them; and theirs is a painful chastisement. The scholars ʿulamāÌ are asked to spread the evidentiary proofs of knowledge while the friends awliyāÌ are commanded to preserve the trusts of the secret. If [the scholars] conceal the proofs of the different types of knowledge they will be bridled with a bridle of fire nār. By contrast if [the friends] divulge even a sliver from the secret they [will be] immediately distanced from the secrets asrār and snatched away from the lights anwār they have been given. To each is a limit ḥadd and to each a command amr.
2.174 Wahidi - Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi
(Lo! those who hide aught of the Scripture which Allah hath revealed…) [2:174]. Reporting from Abu Salih who reported it from Ibn 'Abbas, al-Kalbi said: “This was revealed about the leaders and doctors of the Jews. They used to get gifts and surpluses from ordinary Jews and hoped that the new prophet will be sent from amongst them. When he was sent from amongst others, they feared the loss of their gains and the waning of their leadership. As a result, they changed the traits of Muhammad, Allah bless him and give him peace, [as found in the Torah] and then said to people: 'These are the traits of the prophet who will be sent at the end of time. Look! He does not resemble the prophet who is in Mecca'. When ordinary people looked at the changed traits, they found them different than those of Muhammad, and so they did not believe in him”.