The Quran

Commentaries for 2.90

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.90 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Evil is that which they sold their souls: that they should disbelieve in that which Allah hath revealed) the Book and the Messenger, (grudging) resentfully envious (that Allah should reveal of His bounty) that out of His bounty, Allah sent Gabriel with the Book and prophethood (unto whom He will of His bondmen) meaning Muhammad. (They have incurred anger upon anger) they deserved curse upon curse. (For disbelievers is a shameful doom) through which they shall be humiliated; and it is said: theirs is a severe punishment.
2.90 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
Evil is that for which they sell their souls, that is, their share of the reward [in the Hereafter] (bi’samā, ‘evil is that [for] which’: mā here is an indefinite particle, representing ‘a thing’, and constitutes a specification qualifying the subject of [the verb] bi’s, ‘evil is’, the very thing being singled out for criticism); that they disbelieve in that, Qur’ān, which God has revealed, grudging (baghyan here is an object denoting reason for yakfurū, ‘they disbelieve’), that is, out of envy, that God should reveal (read either yunzil or yunazzil) of His bounty, the Inspiration, to whomever He will of His servants, to deliver the Message; and they were laden, they returned, with anger, from God for their disbelief in what He has revealed (the indefinite form, bi-ghadabin, ‘with anger’, is used to emphasise the awesomeness [of the ‘anger’]), upon anger, which they deserved formerly, when they neglected the Torah and disbelieved in Jesus; and for the disbelievers there shall be a humiliating chastisement.
2.90 Kashani - Kashani
Evil is that for which they sell their souls; that they disbelieve in that which God has revealed, grudging that God should reveal of His bounty to whomever He will of His servants; and they were laden with anger upon anger; and for the disbelievers there shall be a humiliating chastisement.
2.90 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Mujahid said,
بِئْسَمَا اشْتَرَوْاْ بِهِ أَنفُسَهُمْ
(How bad is that for which they have sold their own selves), "The Jews sold the truth for falsehood and hid the truth about Muhammad.'' As-Suddi said that the Ayah,
بِئْسَمَا اشْتَرَوْاْ بِهِ أَنفُسَهُمْ
(How bad is that for which they have sold their own selves) means, "The Jews sold themselves.'' meaning, what is worse is what they chose for themselves by disbelieving in what Allah revealed to Muhammad instead of believing, aiding and supporting him. This behavior of theirs is the result of their injustice, envy and hatred,
أَن يُنَزِّلُ اللَّهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ عَلَى مَن يَشَآءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ
(grudging that Allah should reveal of His grace unto whom He wills of His servants). '' There is no envy worse than this. Therefore,
فَبَآءُو بِغَضَبٍ عَلَى غَضَبٍ
(So they have drawn on themselves wrath upon wrath). Ibn `Abbas commented on this Ayah, "Allah became angry with them because they ignored some of the Tawrah and disbelieved in the Prophet that He sent to them.'' I (Ibn Kathir) say that the meaning of,
(And they drew on themselves) is that they deserved and acquired multiplied anger. Also, Abu Al-`Aliyah said, "Allah became angry with them, because of their disbelief in the Injil and `Isa and He became angry with them again, because they disbelieved in Muhammad and the Qur'an.'' Similar was said by `Ikrimah and Qatadah. Allah said,
وَلِلْكَـفِرِينَ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ
(And for the disbelievers, there is disgracing torment). Since their disbelief was a result of their transgression and envy, which was caused by arrogance, they were punished with disgrace and humiliation in this world and the Hereafter. Similarly, Allah said,
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِى سَيَدْخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَخِرِينَ
(Verily, those who scorn My worship (i.e. do not invoke Me, and do not believe in My Oneness) they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!'') (40:60) meaning, "Disgraced, degraded and humiliated.'' Imam Ahmad narrated that `Amr bin Shu`ayb said that his father said that his grandfather said that the Prophet said,
«يُحْشَرُ الْمُتَكَبِّرُونَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَمْثَالَ الذَّرِّ فِي صُوَرِ النَّاسِ، يَعْلُوهُمْ كُلُّ شَيْءٍ مِنَ الصِّغَارِ حَتَّى يَدْخُلُوا سِجْنًا فِي جَهَنَّمَ يُقَالُ لَهُ. بَوْلَسُ تَعْلُوهُمْ نَارُ الْأَنْيَارِ يُسْقَونَ مِنْ طِينَةِ الْخَبَالِ عُصَارَةِ أَهْلِ النَّار»
(The arrogant people will be gathered on the Day of Resurrection in the size of ants, but in the shape of men. Everything shall be above them, because of the humiliation placed on them, until they enter a prison in Jahannam called `Bawlas' where the fire will surround them from above. They shall drink from the puss of the people of the Fire.)
2.87-90 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
''Ruh-ul-Qudus" (Holy Spirit) May refer to Revelation or to angel Gabriel who brought it to the Prophets or to the Holy Soul of Jesus Christ which Allah had created pure. "Clear Signs" refer to his miracles and to his wonderful personal qualities and his miraculous birth, which were to every lover of truth a clear proof of the fact that he was a true Prophet of Allah.
By this they meant to say, "We are so staunch in our Faith that we are not going to be influenced by anything that you might say to the contrary." All those are slaves of irrational prejudices, delude themselves like this. They regard such an obstinate attitude as a sign of their firm Faith and, therefore, a virtue. In tact, there can be no greater vice than to stick to one's own traditional creeds and beliefs even though there are strong arguments against them.
Before the advent of the Holy Prophet, the Jews were looking forward with great longings to the Prophet about whom there were many prophecies in their own Scriptures. They used to pray: "May he come soon so that we should triumph over the disbelievers and regain our lost glory! ". The people of Madinah themselves bore witness that the Jews lived in this expectation. It had become a bye-word with them to proclaim: "Let the pagans tyrannise over us as much as they like. When that Prophet comes, we will settle accounts with them." Accordingly, when the people of Madinah learnt that Muhammad (Allah's peace he upon him) had declared himself to be a Prophet, they recalled these things and thought that he might be the very Prophet about whom they had heard so much from the Jews. So they said to one another, "Let us go and accept him lest the Jews should forestall us." That was the reason why the Muslims of Madinah could not understand the attitude of the Jews who, instead of accepting him as the Prophet for whom they had been so anxiously waiting, had become his greatest opponents. As to the fact that "they did recognize the Holy Prophet," many proofs were furnished at that very time. The most authentic evidence is that of Hadrat Safiyyah (one of the wives of the Holy Prophet), who was the daughter of one learned Jew and the niece of another. She says, "When the Holy Prophet migrated to Madinah, my father and uncle went to see him. When they returned home, I myself heard the following conversation between them: Uncle: Is he really the same Prophet about whom there occur prophecies in our books? Father: By God, he is the same. U Are you quite sure of it? F. Yes. U. Then what is your intention? F. I will oppose him as long as I live and will not let his mission succeed. ( lbn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 165, Cairo Edition, 1936).
The verse may also mean: "What a miserable thing it is for which they have sold off their future life and salvation in the Hereafter!"
They wished that the Prophet should have been one of their own race; therefore, they refused to accept him when he was raised among a race which they considered to be inferior to theirs. This meant that Allah ought to have consulted them before appointing His Messenger, and when Allah did not do so, and in His bounty appointed one He chose by Himself, they were offended.
2.90 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
Evil is that for which they sell their souls; that they disbelieve in that which God has revealed grudging that God should reveal of His bounty to whomever He will of His servants; and they were laden with anger upon anger; and for the disbelievers there shall be a humiliating chastisement. Envy caused them to descend from the abode of nobility to the lowland of ignominy. When they were not satisfied with what the decree brought they were reduced to a state of abasement. They invited upon themselves that which brings wrath upon wrath.