Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(They said: We wish to eat thereof, that we may satisfy our hearts) regarding the marvels that you show us (and know) and have certainty (that thou hast spoken truth to us) regarding all what you said, (and that thereof we may be witnesses) when we go back to our people.
They said, ‘We desire, to request this in order, to eat of it and that our hearts be reassured, through increased certainty, and that we may know, that we may acquire more awareness [of the fact], that you (annaka is softened to an) have spoken truthfully to us, in your claim to prophethood, and that we may be among the witnesses thereof’.
They said, 'We desire, to profit, from it, and to implement it and draw strength from it, and that our hearts be reassured, because knowledge is the nourishment of the heart and its source of nutrition, and that we may know, your truthfulness in what you inform of your Lord, your prophethood and your authority therein and thereby, and that we may be among the witnesses thereof', who are present, possessors of knowledge, to inform others who are absent about it, to teach them and to call them to God by it.
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. "