Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
Allah then mentions His covenant with the Children of Israel, saying: (And when We made a covenant with the Children of Israel: Worship none save Allah) declare Him as the only true God and do not ascribe any partner to Him, (and be good to parents) be dutiful to them (and to kindred) and keep contact with relatives (and to orphans) and be kind to orphans (and the needy) and generous to the needy, (and speak kindly to mankind) say the Truth regarding Muhammad (pbuh); (and establish prayer) perfect the five daily prayers (and pay the poor-due) and give from your wealth what is due to the poor. (Then, after that, ye slid back) you turned back on this covenant, (save a few of you) from amongst your forefathers; as it is said that this refers to 'Abdullah Ibn Salam and his companions, (being averse) denying and leaving it aside.
And, mention, when We made a covenant with the Children of Israel, in the Torah, where We said: ‘You shall not worship (a variant reading [for lā ta‘budūna] has [third person plural] lā ya‘budūn [‘they shall not worship’]) any other than God (lā ta‘budūna illā Llāha is a predicate denoting a prohibition; one may also read lā ta‘budū [Worship you not]); and to be good, and righteous, to parents, and the near of kin: here kinship is adjoined to parents; and to orphans, and to the needy; and speak well, [good] words, to men, commanding good and forbidding evil, being truthful with regard to the status of Muhammad (s), and being kind to them [sc. orphans and the needy] (a variant reading [for hasanan] has husnan, the verbal noun, used as a hyperbolic description); and observe prayer and pay the alms’, which you actually accepted, but, then you turned away, refusing to fulfil these [obligations] (here the second person address is used, but their forefathers are [still] meant); all but a few of you, rejecting it, like your forefathers.
And when We made a covenant with the Children of Israel, We made a covenant with them concerning the affirmation of [Our] Oneness, the requirement of which is the observing of the Lordly Presence and the witnessing of its self-disclosures in their loci, as well as the fulfilment of what is due to it in accordance with what is manifested of its descriptions. The first to bear the manifestation and vestiges of the lordly attributes outwardly and in the world of the witnessing are the parents on account of their being the source of lineage, their rearing and their affection, all of which are the vestiges of the Existentiator, the Merciful Lord within them for that [child]. For, goodness towards them must follow from the worship of God in accordance with the manifestation of that [goodness] within them as loci [of that manifestation]; then come the near of kin because of the manifestation of mutual kindness and divine mercy within them in relation to that [child]; then come the orphans because of the fact that His guardianship and preservation is singled out for them above all others, since He is the Guardian of those who have none; then come the needy because of the fact that He takes upon Himself to look after them and provide for them without any intermediary other than Him; then come all other people because of the mutual mercifulness between them that which is the shadow of [the Divine] Mercifulness [on earth]. Thus the goodness enjoined in this verse, in all of its degrees and various levels of merit, is the specification of worship for God coupled with the witnessing of His attributes in their loci of manifestation and the fulfilment of what is due to the self-disclosures and rulings of these [attributes].
['You shall not worship any other than God; and to be good to parents, and the near of kin; and to orphans, and to the needy; and speak well to men; and observe prayer and pay the alms', then you turned away; all but a few of you, rejecting]
The Covenant that Allah took from the Children of Israel
Allah reminded the Children of Israel of the commandments that He gave them, and the covenants that He took from them to abide by those commands, and how they intentionally and knowingly turned away from all of that. Allah commanded them to worship Him and to associate none with Him in worship, just as He has commanded all of His creatures, for this is why Allah created them. Allah said,
(And We did not send any Messenger before you (O Muhammad ) but We revealed to him (saying): La ilaha illa Ana none has the right to be worshipped but I (Allah), so worship Me (alone and none else)) (21:25), and,
(And give to the kinsman his due and to the Miskin (poor) and to the wayfarer) (17:26). The Two Sahihs record that Ibn Mas`ud said,
«يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ أيُّ الْعَمَل أَفْضَلُ؟ قَالَ:
«الصَّلَاةُ عَلى وَقْتِهَا»
قُلْتُ: ثُمَّ أَيٌّ؟ قَالَ:
قُلْتُ: ثُمَّ أَيٌّ؟ قَالَ:
«الْجِهَادُ فِي سَبِيلِ الله»
(I said, `O Messenger of Allah! What is the best deed' He said, `Performing the prayer on time.' I said, 'Then what' He said, `Being kind to one's parents.' I said, `Then what' He said, `Jihad in the cause of Allah.')
Allah then said,
(and to orphans) meaning, the young who have no fathers to fend for them.
(and Al-Masakin (the poor)), plural for Miskin, the one who does not find what he needs to spend on himself and his family. We will discuss these categories when we explain the Ayah of Surat An-Nisa` where Allah said,
(Worship Allah and join none with Him (in worship); and do good to parents) (4:36).
وَقُولُواْ لِلنَّاسِ حُسْنًا
(and speak good to people) meaning, say good words to them and be lenient with them, this includes commanding good and forbidding evil. Al-Hasan Al-Basri commented on Allah's statement,
وَقُولُواْ لِلنَّاسِ حُسْنًا
(and speak good to people), ".`The good saying' means commanding good and forbidding evil, and being patient and forgiving. The `good words to people', as Allah commanded, also includes every good type of behavior that Allah is pleased with.'' Imam Ahmad narrated that Abu Dharr said that the Prophet said,
(Do not belittle any form of righteousness, and even if you did not find any good deed except meeting your brother with a smiling face, then do so.)
This Hadith was also collected by Muslim in his Sahih and At-Tirmidhi, who graded it Sahih.
Allah commands the servants to say good words to people, after He commanded them to be kind to them, thereby mentioning two categories of manners: good speech and good actions. He then emphasized the command to worship Him and the command to do good, ordaining the prayer and the Zakah,
وَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلوةَ وَآتُواْ الزَّكَوةَ
(and perform As-Salah and give Zakah). Allah informed us that the People of the Book, except for a few among them, ignored these orders, that is, they knowingly and intentionally abandoned them. Allah ordered this Ummah similarly in Surat An-Nisa' when He said,
(Worship Allah and join none with Him (in worship); and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, Al-Masakin (the poor), the neighbor who is near of kin, the neighbor who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (servants) whom your right hands possess. Verily, Allah does not like such as are proud and boastful) (4:36).
Of these orders, this Ummah has practiced what no other nation before it has, and all praise is due to Allah.