Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And We caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow in their footsteps, confirming that which was (revealed) before him in the Torah) as regards the declaration of Allah's divine Oneness and some laws, (and We bestowed on him the Gospel wherein is guidance) from error (and a light) an exposition on stoning, (confirming that which was (revealed) before it in the Torah) regarding Allah's divine Oneness and the legal ruling of stoning (a guidance) from error (and an admonition unto) and a caution for (those who ward off (evil)) those who ward off disbelief, idolatry and indecencies.
And We caused Jesus son of Mary to follow in their, that is, the prophets’, footsteps, confirming the Torah before him; and We gave to him the Gospel, wherein is guidance, from error, and light, an exposition of the rulings, confirming (musaddiqan is a circumstantial qualifier) the Torah before it, the rulings contained therein, and as a guidance and an admonition to the God-fearing.
(and confirmation of the Tawrah that had come before it,) meaning, he adhered to the Tawrah, except for the few instances that clarified the truth where the Children of Israel differed. Allah states in another Ayah that `Isa said to the Children of Israel,
(...and to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden to you.) So the scholars say that the Injil abrogated some of the rulings of the Tawrah. Allah's statement,
وَهُدًى وَمَوْعِظَةٌ لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ
(a guidance and an admonition for those who have Taqwa.) means, We made the Injil guidance and an admonition that prohibits committing sins and errors, for those who have Taqwa of Allah and fear His warning and torment. Allah said next,
(Let the people of the Injil judge by what Allah has revealed therein.) meaning, so that He judges the people of the Injil by it in their time. Or, the Ayah means, so that they believe in all that is in it and adhere to all its commands, including the good news about the coming of Muhammad and the command to believe in and follow him when he is sent. Allah said in other Ayat,
(And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are the rebellious.) meaning, the rebellious and disobedient of Allah who prefer falsehood and abandon truth. We mentioned before that this Ayah was revealed about the Christians, and this is evident from the context of the Ayah.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
This means that Jesus did not bring any new religion but followed the same way that was followed by all the Prophets before him and invited the people to the same. He believed in what was intact in his time from among the original teachings of the Torah, and the Gospel also testified to the same.(Matthew, 5: 17-18). The Qur'an reiterates the fact that each and every prophet, who was sent by Allah to any part of the world, confirmed the Message of all the Prophets who had gone before him and exerted his utmost to complete the work which they had left as a holy heritage, for he did not come to refute them or efface their religion and establish his own religion instead. Likewise Allah did not send down any of His Books to refute any of His own previous Books, but to support and confirm them.
In this passage (vv. 44-47) Allah has shown that those who do not judge by the Law sent down by Him are: (1) disbelievers, (2) unjust people and (3) transgressors. As a corollary to this, the person who discards the Law of Allah and judges by the law formulated by himself or by others is guilty of three crimes. First, he practices disbelief by his rejection of the Law of Allah. Secondly, he becomes guilty of injustice because he violates the Law of Allah which is perfectly just and equitable. Thirdly, he became a transgressor (Fasiq against Allah, because, in spite of being Allah's servant, he transgressed against his Master's Law and adopted his own law or that of another. Thus practically he broke away from the allegiance and subjection of his Master and denied His Authority: this is risq.
This disbelief, injustice and transgression are Inherently part and parcel of the violation of Divine Law. It is, therefore, not possible to avoid these three crimes where there is such a violation. They, however, vary in their relative guilt in accordance with the nature and extent of the rejection of the Law. If one gives judgment against the Divine Law on the basis that he considers that Law to be wrong and his own or someone else's law to be right, such a person shall be a disbeliever, an unjust person and transgressor, in the fullest sense of the words. However, if one holds the belief that the Law of Allah is right, but in practice gives judgment against it, such a one shall not be outside the Muslim community, but shall be considered to be mixing his belief with disbelief, injustice and transgression. Likewise, if one rejects the Law of Allah in all affairs of life, he shall be considered to be a disbeliever, unjust person and transgressor in every aspect of life and if one accepts the Law in certain matters and rejects it in others, One shall have a mixture of belief and Islam, disbelief, injustice and transgression all mixed together in one's life, exactly in the proportion one obeys the Law or violates it.
Some commentators are of the opinion that the above-mentioned verses apply only to the People of the Book, but the words of the Qur'an do not support this at all. Hadrat Hudhaifah refuted this version very aptly. Someone said to him that these verses applied to the children of Israel only, that is, if one of the Jews judged against the Law sent down by Allah, he would be a disbeliever, transgressor and rebel but not a Muslim. Hadrat Hudhaifah replied. "What good brethren the children of Israel are to you: all that is bitter is for them and all that is sweet is for you! By God, you will follow their way step by step (and shall be dealt with like them)."
(O Messenger! Let not them grieve thee who vie one with another in the race to disbelief…) [5:41-47]. Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn al-Hasan al-Hiri informed us by dictation> Abu Muhammad, the chamberlain of Ibn Ahmad al-Tusi> Muhammad ibn Hammad al-Abiwardi> Abu Mu'awiyah> al-A'mash> 'Abd Allah ibn Murrah> al-Bara' ibn 'Azib who said: “One day, the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, passed by a Jewish man who had just been flogged and had his face darkened with coal. He summoned the Jews and asked them: 'Is this what your Scripture decrees as punishment for the adulterer?' 'Yes!' they replied. He then summoned one of their doctors and asked him: 'I implore you by Allah who has sent the Torah to Moses, is this what your Scripture decrees as punishment for the adulterer'. He said: 'No! And if you had not implored me by Allah, I would not tell you. Our Scripture rules that the punishment of the adulterer is stoning. But it became widespread among our notables. Initially, when one of the notables committed adultery, we left him unpunished while we applied stoning on the communality in cases of adultery. Then we decided to look for a punishment that was applied on both the notables and communality of people. And so we agreed on darkening the face with coal and flogging to replace stoning'. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: 'O Allah! I am the first to reapply your command after they had suspended it'. And he ordered that the Jewish man be stoned. Allah, exalted is He, then revealed (O Messenger! Let not them grieve thee who vie one with another in the race to disbelief) up to His words (If this be given unto you, receive it…), they said: 'Go to Muhammad; if he directs you to flog the adulterer and darken his face with coal and apply flogging, then follow him. But do not follow him if he directs you to apply stoning on him'. Up to His words (Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are disbelievers) [5:44]. He said: 'This relates to the Jews'. Up to His words (Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are wrong-doers) [5:45]. He said: 'This relates to the Christians'. Up to His words (Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are evil-livers) [5:47]. He said: 'This relates to all disbelievers'. Narrated by Muslim from Yahya ibn Yahya from Abu Mu'awiyah”. Abu 'Abd Allah ibn Abi Ishaq informed us> Abu'l-Haytham Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ghawth al-Kindi> Muhammad ibn 'Abd Allah ibn Sulayman al-Hadrami> Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah> Abu Mu'awiyah> al-A'mash> 'Abd Allah ibn Murrah> al-Bara' ibn 'Azib who related that the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, stoned a Jewish man and a Jewish woman and said afterwards: “(Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are disbelievers) [5:44], (Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are wrong-doers) [5:45], (Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are evil-livers) [5:47]. All these three verses were revealed about the disbelievers”. This was narrated by Muslim from Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah.