The Quran

Commentaries for 4.46

An Nisa (The women) - النساء

4.46 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Some of those who are Jews) Malik Ibn al-Sayf and his friends (change words from their context) they change the traits and description of Muhammad after these were exposited upon in the Torah, and then come to Muhammad (and say: “We hear) your words, O Muhammad (and disobey) your command, when he is not around them; and we (hear thou) O Muhammad (as one who heareth not” and “Listen to us!” distorting with their tongues and slandering religion. If they had said: “We hear) your saying, O Muhammad (and we obey) your command; (hear you) hear from us, (and look at us” it had been better for them) than their insults and defamation, (and more upright) and more correct. (But Allah hath cursed them) punishes them by making them pay the capitation tax (for their disbelief) as a punishment for their disbelief, (so they believe not, save a few) among them who have accepted Islam such as 'Abdullah Ibn Salam and his friends.
4.46 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
Some, group, from among the Jews distort, alter, the words, that God revealed in the Torah pertaining to the descriptions of Muhammad (s), from their contexts, those [contexts] in which they were placed, and they say, to the Prophet (s), when he commands them something, ‘We have heard, your words, and we disobey, your command; and hear as one who does not hear’ (wa’sma‘ ghayr musma‘in is a circumstantial qualifier, functioning as an invocation, in other words, ‘And may you not hear!’) and, they say to him, ‘Mind us’ (rā‘inā), [a term] with which it had been forbidden to address him, being a curse word in their language; twisting, distorting, with their tongues and slandering, defaming, religion, Islam. If they had said, ‘We have heard and obey’, instead of ‘And we disobey’, and, only, ‘Hear’, and ‘Consider us,’ (unzur ilaynā) instead of rā‘inā, it would have been better for them, than what they said, and more upright, more just than that, but God has cursed them, removing them from His mercy, for their unbelief, so they believe not except a few, among them, such as ‘Abd Allāh b. Salām and his companions.
4.44-46 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Chastising the Jews for Choosing Misguidance, Altering Allah's Words, and Mocking Islam
Allah states that the Jews, may Allah's continued curse fall on them until the Day of Resurrection, have purchased the wrong path instead of guidance, and ignored what Allah sent down to His Messenger Muhammad. They also ignored the knowledge that they inherited from previous Prophets, about the description of Muhammad, so that they may have a small amount of the delights of this life.
وَيُرِيدُونَ أَن تَضِلُّواْ السَّبِيلَ
(and wishing that you should go astray from the right path.) for they would like that you disbelieve in what was sent down to you, O believers, and that you abandon the guidance and beneficial knowledge that you have.
وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِأَعْدَائِكُمْ
(Allah has full knowledge of your enemies) meaning, Allah has better knowledge of your enemies, and He warns you against them.
وَكَفَى بِاللَّهِ وَلِيّاً وَكَفَى بِاللَّهِ نَصِيراً
(and Allah is sufficient as a Wali (Protector), and Allah is Sufficient as a Helper) He is a Sufficient Protector for those who seek refuge with Him and a Sufficient Supporter for those who seek His help. Allah then said,
يُحَرِّفُونَ الْكَلِمَ عَن مَّوَاضِعِهِ
(there are some who displace words from (their) right places) meaning, they intentionally and falsely alter the meanings of the Words of Allah and explain them in a different manner than what Allah meant,
وَيَقُولُونَ سَمِعْنَا وَعَصَيْنَا
(And say: "We hear your word and disobey) saying, "We hear what you say, O Muhammad, but we do not obey you in it,'' as Mujahid and Ibn Zayd explained. This is the implied meaning of the Ayah, and it demonstrates the Jews' disbelief, stubbornness and disregard for Allah's Book after they understood it, all the while aware of the sin and punishment that this behavior will earn for them. Allah's statement,
وَاسْمَعْ غَيْرَ مُسْمَعٍ
(And "Hear and let you hear nothing.'') means, hear our words, may you never hear anything, as Ad-Dahhak reported from Ibn `Abbas. This is the Jews' way of mocking and jesting, may Allah's curse descend on them.
وَرَعِنَا لَيّاً بِأَلْسِنَتِهِمْ وَطَعْناً فِى الدِّينِ
(And Ra`ina, with a twist of their tongues and as a mockery of the religion.) meaning, they pretend to say, `Hear us,' when they say, Ra`ina (an insult in Hebrew, but in Arabic it means `Listen to us.').' Yet, their true aim is to curse the Prophet. We mentioned this subject when we explained Allah's statement,
يَـأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لاَ تَقُولُواْ رَعِنَا وَقُولُواْ انظُرْنَا
(O you who believe! Say not Ra`ina but say Unzurna (make us understand)). Therefore, Allah said about them, while they pretend to say other than what they truly mean,
لَيّاً بِأَلْسِنَتِهِمْ وَطَعْناً فِى الدِّينِ
(With a twist of their tongues and as a mockery of the religion) because of their cursing the Prophet. Allah then said,
وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ قَالُواْ سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا وَاسْمَعْ وَانْظُرْنَا لَكَانَ خَيْراً لَّهُمْ وَأَقْوَمَ وَلَكِن لَّعَنَهُمُ اللَّهُ بِكُفْرِهِمْ فَلاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً
(And if only they had said: "We hear and obey'', and "Do make us understand,'' it would have been better for them, and more proper; but Allah has cursed them for their disbelief, so they believe not except a few.) meaning, their hearts are cast away from the path of righteousness and therefore, no beneficial part of faith enters it. Earlier, when we explained,
فَقَلِيلاً مَّا يُؤْمِنُونَ
(so little is that which they believe) which means they do not have beneficial faith.
4.44-46 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
About the scholars of the people of the Book the Qur'an at many places has used words to the effect: "They have been given a part of the knowledge of the Scripture". These words have been used because the scholars had actually lost a portion of their Scriptures and had become strangers to the spirit and the real aim and object of the portion left with them. The only interest they took, in these was confined to polemical controversies, minor details of Commandments and philosophical subtleties of creed. That is why they were ignorant of the true nature of religion and were void of its essence, though they were called "Divines" and "Rabbis" and were the acknowledged leaders of their community.
The words used are: "who have become Jews" and not "who are Jews," for originally they were "Muslims" just as the community of every Prophet is Muslim. Then afterwards they degenerated and became merely "Jews".
They were guilty of perversion in three ways: (1) They effected changes in the words of the Scriptures; (2) they distorted the meanings of the text with false interpretations, and (3) they would sit in the assemblies of the Holy Prophet and his Companions and afterwards make false reports of what they heard there in order to create mischief against them by distortion. They would thus spread misunderstandings about Islam and pervert people from joining the Islamic Community.
That is, when the Commandments of Allah are recited to them, they 'say. sami`na (we have heard) aloud and `asaina (we have rejected) in a low voice, of they pronounce the word ata `na (we have obeyed) with such a twist of the tongue that it sounds as `asaina.
During their talk with the Holy Prophet, they would invite his attention, saying, Isma `a (please listen to us), and would add ghaira musma ` in, which has several meanings. It may mean : "You are such a respectable man that one cannot utter any word before you against your will", but it may also imply : "You are not worthy that one may speak to you." Another meaning is : "May Allah make you deaf!"
For this please refer to E.N. 105, Al-Baqarah.
4.44-46 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
Have you not seen those who were given a share of the Book purchasing error and desiring that you should err from the wayḍ God has better knowledge of your enemies. God suffices as a Protector God suffices as a Helper. Some from among the Jews distort the words from their contexts and they say “We have heard and we disobey and hear as one who does not hear” and “Mind us” twisting with their tongues and slandering religion. If they had said “We have heard and obey” and “Hear” and “Consider us” it would have been better for them and more upright but God has cursed them for their unbelief so they believe not except a few. They practiced a deception but did not realize the way in which He deceived them in that they were given the book and then were deprived of the blessing of understanding so that they distorted [the words] and persisted [in their unbelief]. Some from among the Jews distort the words... They acted shamelessly toward the Messenger ﷺ and refused to show him respect so they were punished with doubt concerning his affair. Those who acted shamelessly devised a barrier between themselves and the blessing of [the Prophet's] companionship and the bounties of serving him. If they had hastened [instead] to reject the envy they felt and had accepted his state with veneration and honored [him] they would have found blessing in following him and happiness in both abodes. But how could they be otherwise when what had already been determined distanced themḍ They were kept back by fate qisma from the carpet of service khidma. There is no maneuvering that can help those held back by the [divine] decrees.