Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And believe in that which I revealed) through the Archangel Gabriel, (confirming) the Oneness of Allah and the description and traits of Muhammad (pbuh) and some prescribed laws (that which ye possess already) of scripture, (and be not first to disbelieve therein) in Muhammad (pbuh) and the Qur'an (and part not with My revelations) by not revealing the description and traits of Muhammad (for a trifling price) in exchange for means of substance, (and keep your duty unto Me), fear Me regarding this Prophet (pbuh).
And believe in what I have revealed, of the Qur’ān, confirming that which is with you, of the Torah, by its agreement with it, in respect to [affirmation of] God’s Oneness and prophethood; and be not the first to disbelieve in it, from among the People of the Scripture, for those who will come after you will depend on you and so you will bear their sins. And do not sell, exchange, My signs, those that relate to the description of Muhammad (s) in your Book; for a small price, for a trivial and temporary affair of this world; that is to say, do not suppress this for fear of losing what you hope to earn from lowly individuals among you; and fear Me, and none other in this matter.
And believe in what I have revealed, of the QurÌān to My beloved of the unity of [My] attributes, confirming that which is with you, in the Torah of the unity of [My] acts, and be not the first to disbelieve in it, that is, the first to be veiled therefrom, veiled as you are by your belief. And do not sell, that is, do not exchange, My signs, those indicating the self-disclosures of My essence and attributes, such as the sūrat al-ikhlāṣ [Q. 112] and the kursī-verse [Q. 2:255] and the like, for a small price, that is, for the paradise of your soul because of your habituation to the sensory pleasures and the reward of deeds through the affirmation of the unity of acts. If you [are wont to] guard against association [of others with Me], then guard against the assault of My overwhelming power, majesty and veil by seeking My approval and not affirming an attribute to any other than Me; [and fear Me].
Encouraging the Children of Israel to embrace Islam
Allah commanded the Children of Israel to embrace Islam and to follow Muhammad. He also reminded them with the example of their father Israel, Allah's Prophet Ya`qub, as if saying, "O children of the pious, righteous servant of Allah who obeyed Allah! Be like your father, following the truth.'' This statement is similar to one's saying, "O you son of that generous man! Do this or that'' or, "O son of the brave man, engage the strong fighters,'' or "O son of the scholar, seek the knowledge,'' and so forth. Similarly, Allah said,
Mujahid commented, "Allah's favor that He granted the Jews is that He made water gush from stones, sent down manna and quails for them, and saved them from being enslaved by Pharaoh.'' Abu Al-`Aliyah also said, "Allah's favor mentioned here is His sending Prophets and Messengers among them, and revealing Books to them.'' I - Ibn Kathir - say that this Ayah is similar to what Musa said to the Children of Israel,
(O my people! Remember the favor of Allah to you: when He made Prophets among you, made you kings, and gave you what He had not given to any other among the nations (of their time) (5:20) meaning, during their time. Also, Muhammad bin Ishaq said that Ibn `Abbas said,
(Remember My favor which I bestowed upon you,) means, "My support for you and your fathers,'' that is saving them from Pharaoh and his people.
Reminding the Children of Israel of Allah's Covenant with Them
وَأَوْفُواْ بِعَهْدِى أُوفِ بِعَهْدِكُمْ
(And fulfill (your obligations to) My covenant (with you) so that I fulfill (My obligations to) your covenant (with Me),) means, `My covenant that I took from you concerning Prophet Muhammad, when he is sent to you, so that I grant you what I promised you if you believe in him and follow him. I will then remove the chains and restrictions that were placed around your necks, because of the errors that you committed.' Also, Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, "The `covenant' is in reference to Allah's statement, i
(Indeed, Allah took the covenant from the Children of Israel (Jews), and We appointed twelve leaders among them. And Allah said: "I am with you if you perform As-Salah and give Zakah and believe in My Messengers; honor and assist them, and lend a good loan to Allah, verily, I will expiate your sins and admit you to Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise)) (5:12).''
Other scholars said, "The covenant is what Allah took from them in the Tawrah, in that, He will send a great Prophet - meaning Muhammad - from among the offspring of Isma`il, who will be obeyed by all peoples. Therefore, whoever obeys him, then Allah will forgive his sins, enter him into Paradise and award him two rewards.'' We should mention here that Ar-Razi mentioned several cases of information brought by the earlier Prophets regarding the coming of Muhammad. Further, Abu Al-`Aliyah said that,
(And fulfill (your obligations to) My covenant (with you)) means, "His covenant with His servants is to embrace Islam and to adhere to it.'' Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas said, "`I fulfill My obligations to you' means, `I (Allah) will be pleased with you and admit you into Paradise.''' As-Suddi, Ad-Dahhak, Abu Al-`Aliyah and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said similarly.
Ibn `Abbas said that Allah's statement,
(And fear Me and Me alone.) means, "Fear the torment that I might exert on you, just as I did with your fathers, like the mutation, etc.'' This Ayah contains encouragement, followed by warning. Allah first called the Children of Israel, using encouragement, then He warned them, so that they might return to the Truth, follow the Messenger, heed the Qur'an's prohibitions and commands and believe in its content. Surely, Allah guides whom He wills to the straight path.
(And believe in what I have sent down, confirming that which is with you (the Tawrah and the Injil)) meaning, the Qur'an that Allah sent down to Muhammad, the unlettered Arab Prophet, as bringer of glad tidings, a warner and a light. The Qur'an contains the Truth from Allah and affirms what was revealed beforehand in the Tawrah and the Injil (the Gospel). Abu Al-`Aliyah said that Allah's statement,
(And believe in what I have sent down (this Qur'an), confirming that which is with you (the Tawrah and the Injil)) "means, `O People of the Book! Believe in what I sent down that conforms to what you have.' This is because they find the description of Muhammad recorded in the Tawrah and the Injil.'' Similar statements were attributed to Mujahid, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and Qatadah.
وَلاَ تَكُونُواْ أَوَّلَ كَافِرٍ بِهِ
(and be not the first to disbelieve therein).
Ibn `Abbas commented, "Do not become the first to disbelieve in the Qur'an (or Muhammad ), while you have more knowledge in it than other people.'' Abu Al-`Aliyah commented, "`Do not become the first to disbelieve in Muhammad, ' meaning from among the People of the Book, `after you hear that he was sent as a Prophet.''' Similar statements were attributed to Al-Hasan, As-Suddi and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas. Ibn Jarir stated that the Ayah (disbelieve therein 2:41) refers to the Qur'an, mentioned earlier in the Ayah,
(in what I have sent down (this Qur'an),)
Both statements are correct because they are inter-related. For instance, whoever disbelieves in the Qur'an will have disbelieved in Muhammad, and whoever disbelieves in Muhammad will have disbelieved in the Qur'an. Allah's statement,
أَوَّلَ كَافِرٍ بِهِ
(the first to disbelieve therein) means, do not become the first among the Children of Israel to disbelieve in it, for there were people from Quraysh and the Arabs in general who rejected Muhammad before the People of the Book disbelieved in him. We should state here that the Ayah is talking about the Children of Israel in specific, because the Jews in Al-Madinah were the first among the Children of Israel to be addressed by the Qur'an. Hence, their disbelief in the Qur'an means that they were the first among the People of the Book to disbelieve in it.
وَلاَ تَشْتَرُواْ بِآيَـتِي ثَمَنًا قَلِيلاً
(and buy not with My verses a small price,) means, "Do not substitute faith in My Ayat and belief in My Prophet with the life of this world and its lusts which are minute and bound to end. '' Allah said,
(and have Taqwa of Me and Me alone).
Ibn Abi Hatim reported that Talq bin Habib said, "Taqwa is to work in Allah's obedience, on a light from Allah, hoping in Allah's mercy, and to avoid Allah's disobedience, on a light from Allah, fearing Allah's punishment.'' Allah's statement,
(and fear Me and Me alone) means, that Allah warns the People of the Book against intentionally hiding the truth and spreading the opposite of it, as well as, against defying the Messenger.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
"Paltry gains": worldly gains for the sake of which these people discarded the commandments and precepts of Allah. As a matter of fact, even the whole wealth of the world put together is worthless, if it is gained in exchange for Allah's Guidance.
Such were the conditions when the Holy Prophet upon whom be peace) presented himself as a Prophet and began to invite the people to Islam; naturally the illiterate Arabs turned to the Jews for guidance in this matter, and said: "You are the followers of a Prophet and possess a Book, so tell us what you think of this man and his teachings, who claims to be a Prophet." This question was repeatedly asked of the Jews by the people of Makkah, and when the Holy Prophet came to Madinah, here also many people visited the Jewish scholars again and again to ask them the same question. But their scholars never gave them the right answer. For they could not say that the doctrine of Tauhid that Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) was preaching was wrong, nor that the knowledge which he imparted about the Prophets, scriptures, angels, and the Hereafter was wrong, nor that there was something wrong about the moral principles that he taught. They were neither ready to admit in plain words the righteousness of the teachings of the Holy Prophet; nor had they the courage to refute it openly; nor were they willing to profess the Truth candidly. Instead, they devised a subtle strategy to oppose it: they created one suspicion or the other about the Holy Prophet, his followers and his mission; they would concoct allegations against him and his followers and make false propaganda against them or raise frivolous objections so as to involve them in useless discussions. That is why they have been warned not to conceal the truth by covering it with falsehood, nor suppress it by spreading suspicions and by raising silly objections, nor mix it up with falsehood.
The Salat and the Zakat have always formed the essential elements of the revealed religion (Islam). Like all other Prophets, the Israelite Prophets also had strictly enjoined these, but by and by the Jews became wholly neglectful of them. They gave up the performance of Salat in congregation and the majority of the people did not even offer it individually. Instead of paying Zakat, they started charging interest on money.
That is, "If you face some difficulties in following the righteous way, sabr and Salat will help remove the difficulties and strengthen you to walk the way easily." Lexically, sabr means to check and tie, but in usage it stands for patience, perseverance, endurance and fortitude. The Qur'an uses this word to express that fortitude, that moral strength, that firmness of purpose and decision, that determination, moral discipline and self-control which enable a person to proceed with patience and courage in the face of afflictions, privations and temptations on the way he chooses in accordance with the dictates of his conscience. What the Qur'an means to stress is that the Muslims should develop this moral quality in themselves and should observe the Salat regularly to reinforce it from without.
Salat is a hard task" only for the one who is disobedient to Allah and does not believe in the Hereafter. But it is a joyful duty for the one who is willingly and happily obedient to Allah and who believes that one day he will have therein. It is expected that this will lead you on to the paths of virtue and piety." But even after that you forsook the Covenant: nevertheless Allah did not withhold His grace and mercy from you; otherwise you would have been utterly ruined long before this.
And believe in what I have revealed confirming that which is with you; and be not the first to disbelieve in it. And do not sell My signs for a small price; and fear Me. The allusion is to the fact that the belief of [the servant] is a combination of clear evidence bayān and his belief [that he reaches] through demonstrative proof burhān. The generality of believers believe through demonstrative proof based on reasoning istidlāl while the elite of the believers believe through clear evidence by virtue of being drawn near. The Real سبحانه has drawn near to them and so they believe in God. The final states of their belief are through eyewitnessing ʿiyān and that is for the elect of the elect. And be not the first to disbelieve in it: “Do not [be the ones to] introduce disbelief kufr as an ongoing practice sunna” for surely the responsibility of the initiator in what he practices is greater than the responsibility of the imitator in what he follows. And do not sell My signs for a small price: “Do not prefer your cheap worldly portion ḥaẓẓ over the grandeur of My truth ḥaqq.” And fear Me: Those who fear His punishment are many but those who are in awe of knowing and seeing Him are rare.
…And fear Me When asked about this verse, Sahl replied:What He means by this is [their being aware] of His prior knowledge concerning them, that is, ‘You should never feel secure from the [divine] ruse (makr), nor of His act of giving respite (istidrāj), such that your hearts become complacent in the observance of your security in this world while you persist in falling short [in good works]; nor should you rely upon My leniency towards you in the matter of [not] hastening your punishment, in that same [false] sense of security, and in your delusion (ightirār) and heedlessness (ghafla), lest you perish.’ The Prophet said: ‘Had Jesus the son of Mary had greater certainty (yaqīn) he would have walked in the air as he walked on water.’ And truly our Prophet traversed the air on the Night Journey (Isrāʾ) due to the strength of the light of his certainty, [a certainty] which God, Exalted is He, granted to him from His light, as an increase in light to the light that he already possessed from God, Exalted is He. The Prophet also said: ‘If gnosis (maʿrifa) had remained firmly rooted in the heart of David and he had not slipped into negligence, he would not have fallen into disobedience.’ By my life, truly gnosis (maʿrifa) was enclosed within its own abodes (udrijat fī awṭānihā), in order that what was contained within God’s prior knowledge concerning him would befall him. This is because it [God’s prior knowledge] inevitably had to be manifested in his qualities, since God’s knowledge is a final decree that cannot change to other than what the All-Knowing knows, Mighty and Majestic is He. Indeed God, Mighty and Majestic is He, concealed [from David] in David’s realm, the light of certainty (nūr al-yaqīn) by which he could have perceived [with] the eye of certainty (ʿayn al-yaqīn) and the wholeness [of its vision], in order that His decree could thereby be fulfilled, Exalted is He. Do you not see that in reality the servant only beholds God by means of a subtle ‘substance’ (laṭīfa) from God, through its connection to his heart (bi-wuṣūlihā ilā-qalbihi). This subtle substance pertains to the attributes of the essence of his Lord. It is neither brought into being (mukawwana), nor created (makhlūqa), neither conjunct [with God] (mawṣūla), nor cut off [from Him] (maqṭūʿa). It is a secret (sirr) from a secret to a secret, an unseen [mystery] (ghayb) from an unseen to an unseen. Certainty is through God, and the servant finds certainty due to a cause that comes directly from Him to the servant, according to the measure of the gifts that God has apportioned him, and the wholeness (jumla) of his innermost heart (suwaydāʾ qalbihi).Faith has two abodes (waṭanān), and it is that which settles and does not leave. The light of certainty, [however] comes in momentary [flashes] and when it settles and takes root, it becomes faith. Thereafter certainty comes in flashes and increases in this manner indefinitely.