Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(When the disciples) the chosen among them, Simon the Pure (said: O Jesus, son of Mary!) your people are asking: (Is thy Lord able) would your Lord; and it is also said that this means: could you pray to your Lord (to send down for us a table spread with food from heaven? He said:) Jesus said to Simon: tell them (Observe your duty to Allah) fear Allah, (if ye are true believers) if you have firm faith, for it may happen that you would not give gratitude for it and, as a result, be punished. And so Simon conveyed the message to them.
Mention, when the disciples said, ‘O Jesus, son of Mary, is your Lord able, that is, would He (a variant reading has hal tastatī‘a rabbaka, ‘Are you able to ask of Him?’) to send down on us a Table from the heaven?’ He, Jesus, said, to them: ‘Fear God, when you request signs, if you are believers’.
When the disciples said, when your companions made a request of you, saying: is your Lord able, that is, [is] your witness from the world of Lordship [able] - for the lord of each person is the name that nurtures him and perfects him. Every person worships only what he knows of the world of Lordship and he knows only what he has attained of [an understanding of] the levels of the divinity, drawing therefrom an effusion of knowledge and drawing down therefrom blessings and draws therefrom spiritual reinforcement, which is why, despite their affirmation and their submission, they said 'your Lord' and not 'our Lord', since 'their Lord' is not able, to send down on us a Table from the heavenḍ', a law from the heaven of the world of the spirit that subsumes various types of knowledge, wisdoms, gnoses and judgements, wherein is nourishment for the heart and nutrition for the soul, its life and its tastings. He said: 'Fear God, beware of Him lest the attributes of your souls manifest themselves, and take Him as your shield with regard to the character traits and acts that issue from you, so that you are delivered from the [evil] consequences of these, are victorious and prosper, for if your faith is realised, you have no need of any new law.
This is the story of the Ma'idah, the name of which this Surah bears, Surat Al-Ma'idah. This is also among the favors that Allah granted His servant and Messenger, `Isa, accepting his request to send the Ma'idah down, and doing so as clear proof and unequivocal evidence. Allah said,
إِذْ قَالَ الْحَوَارِيُّونَ
((Remember) when Al-Hawaryun said...) the disciples of `Isa said,
(O `Isa, son of Maryam! Can your Lord send down to us a Ma'idah from heaven) The Ma'idah is the table that has food on it. Some scholars said that the disciples requested this table because they were poor and deprived. So they asked `Isa to supplicate to Allah to send a table of food down to them that they could eat from every day and thus be more able to perform the acts of worship.
قَالَ اتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
(`Isa said: "Have Taqwa of Allah, if you are indeed believers.'') `Isa answered them by saying, `Have Taqwa of Allah! And do not ask for this, for it may become a trial for you, but trust in Allah for your provisions, if you are truly believers. '
قَالُواْ نُرِيدُ أَن نَّأْكُلَ مِنْهَا
(They said: "We wish to eat thereof.'') we need to eat from it,
(and to be stronger in faith,) when we witness it descending from heaven as sustenance for us,
وَنَعْلَمَ أَن قَدْ صَدَقْتَنَا
(and to know that you have indeed told us the truth,) of your Message and our faith in you increases and also our knowledge,
وَنَكُونَ عَلَيْهَا مِنَ الشَّـهِدِينَ
(and that we ourselves be its witnesses.) testifying that it is a sign from Allah, as proof and evidence that you are a Prophet, and attesting to the truth of what you brought us,
(`Isa, son of Maryam, said: "O Allah, our Lord! Send us from heaven a table spread (with food) that there may be for us -- for the first and the last of us -- a festival...'') As-Suddi commented that the Ayah means, "We will take that day on which the table was sent down as a day of celebration, that we and those who come after us would consider sacred.'' Sufyan Ath-Thawri said that it means, "A day of prayer.''
(and a sign from You. ) proving that You are able to do all things and to accept my supplication, so that they accept what I convey to them from You,
(and provide us sustenance,) a delicious food from You that does not require any effort or hardship,
(Verily, the hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of the Fire. ) 4:145 Ibn Jarir said that `Abdullah bin `Amr said, "Those who will receive the severest torment on the Day of Resurrection are three: The hypocrites, those from the people of Al-Ma'idah who disbelieved in it, and the people of Fir`awn.'' Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "They said to `Isa, son of Maryam, `Supplicate to Allah to send down to us from heaven, a table spread with food.' He also said, `So the angels brought the table down containing seven fish and seven pieces of bread and placed it before them. So the last group of people ate as the first group did.'' Ibn Jarir recorded that Ishaq bin `Abdullah said that the table was sent down to `Isa son of Maryam having seven pieces of bread and seven fish, and they ate from it as much as they wished. But when some of them stole food from it, saying, "It might not come down tomorrow,'' the table ascended. These statements testify that the table was sent down to the Children of Israel during the time of `Isa, son of Maryam, as a result of Allah's accepting his supplication to Him. The apparent wording of this Ayah also states so,
قَالَ اللَّهُ إِنِّى مُنَزِّلُهَا عَلَيْكُمْ
(Allah said: "I am going to send it down unto you...'') 5:115.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
The Day of Resurrection.
That is, "What was the response of the world to the invitation that you gave towards Islam?"
That is, "We know only of that outward response which was made to our invitation during our lifetime. As regards the real practical response, we have no correct knowledge of it for that is known to You alone."
At first this question will be put collectively to all the Messengers. Then each of the Messengers will stand as a witness individually. Here that question, which will be put to Jesus Christ (Allah's peace be upon him), has been specially mentioned because it fits into the context.
That is, "You brought them back to life after death. "
That is, "It was a favor upon you that the Disciples believed in you, by Our Grace; otherwise you had no power by yourself to convert even a single person out of the disbelievers."
Incidentally, the use of the word Muslims for the Disciples is meant to show that their religion was Islam and not Christianity.
This incident has been inserted here as a parenthesis to show that even his Disciples, who had received his teachings from him directly, considered Jesus a man and servant of God. Therefore, they could never conceive to make their master a god or a partner of God or son of God. This also shows that Jesus also presented himself as a servant without having any authority of his own.
It may be asked, "What was the occasion of inserting this parenthesis here to interrupt the conversation that was being cited?" The answer is that the conversation that would take place on the Day of Resurrection has been quoted here for the benefit of the Christians so that they may learn the lesson and adopt the right way. It is, therefore, quite pertinent to insert the incident mentioned in the parenthesis to impress the same lesson. "