Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And thou seest) O Muhammad (many of them) i.e. the Jews (vying one with another in sin) competing with one another in committing contraventions and indulging in idolatry (and transgression) wrong-doing and violation against other people (and their devouring of illicit gain) bribery and that which is unlawful in return for changing legal rulings. (Verily evil is what they do) of contraventions and violations against others.
And you see many of them, namely, the Jews, vying, falling headlong, in sin, in calumny, and enmity, wrongdoing, and their consuming of unlawful gain, what is illicit, like bribes; evil is that, deed of theirs, which they have been committing.
And you see many of them vying, that is, indulging in all manner of vices in earnest because of their habituation to them and their having been trained in them, and because they constitute natural traits of their souls. Sin is the vice of the rational-speech faculty because it is mendacity; enmity is the vice of the concupiscent faculty
(Do you criticize us for no other reason than that we believe in Allah, and in what has been sent down to us and in that which has been sent down before (us)) Do you have any criticism or cause of blame for us, other than this This, by no means, is cause of blame or criticism. Allah said in other Ayat,
(that we believe in Allah, and in that which has been sent down to us and in that which has been sent down before (us).) Therefore, the meaning of this part of the Ayah is: we also believe that most of you are rebellious and deviated from the straight path.
The People of the Scriptures Deserve the Worst Torment on the Day of Resurrection
(Say: "Shall I inform you of something worse than that, regarding the recompense from Allah") The Ayah commands the Prophet to say: Shall I inform you about a worse people with Allah on the Day of Resurrection than what you think of us They are you, with these characteristics,
مَن لَّعَنَهُ اللَّهُ
(those who incurred the curse of Allah) were expelled from His mercy,
(and who incurred His wrath) and anger, after which He will never be pleased with them,
وَجَعَلَ مِنْهُمُ الْقِرَدَةَ وَالْخَنَازِيرَ
(those of whom He transformed into monkeys and swine,) as we mentioned in Surat Al-Baqarah (2) and as we will mention in Surat Al-A`raf (7). Sufyan Ath-Thawri narrated that Ibn Mas`ud said, "Allah's Messenger was asked if the current monkeys and swine were those whom Allah transformed. He said,
(Allah never destroyed a people by transforming them and making offspring or descendants for them. The monkeys and swine existed before that.)'' This was also recorded by Muslim. Allah said,
(Those who worshipped Taghut...) and served them, becoming their servants. The meaning of this Ayah is: you, O People of the Scriptures, who mock our religion, which consists of Allah's Tawhid, and singling Him out in worship without others, how can you mock us while these are your characteristics This is why Allah said,
أُوْلَـئِكَ شَرٌّ مَّكَاناً
(such are worse in rank...) than what you -- People of the Scriptures -- think of us Muslims,
وَأَضَلُّ عَن سَوَآءِ السَّبِيلِ
(and far more astray from the straight path.) `More' in the Ayah does not mean that the other party is `less' astray, but it means that the People of the Scriptures are far astray. In another Ayah, Allah said,
(When they come to you, they say, "We believe.'' But in fact they enter with (an intention of) disbelief and they go out with the same.) This is the description of the hypocrites, for they pretend to be believers while their hearts hide Kufr. So Allah said;
(But in fact they enter) on you, O Muhammad,
(with disbelief) in their hearts and they depart with Kufr, and this is why they do not benefit from the knowledge they hear from you, nor does the advice and reminder move them. So,
وَهُمْ قَدْ خَرَجُواْ بِهِ
(and they go out with the same) meaning, they alone,
وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَكْتُمُونَ
(and Allah knows all that they were hiding.) Allah knows their secrets and what their hearts conceal, even if they pretend otherwise with His creatures, thus pretending to be what they are not. Allah, Who has perfect knowledge of the seen and unseen, has more knowledge about the hypocrites than any of His creatures do and He will recompense them accordingly. Allah's statement,
(And you see many of them (Jews) hurrying for sin and transgression, and eating illegal things.) They hurry to devour prohibited and illegal things, all the while transgressing against people, unjustly consuming their property through bribes and Riba,
لَبِئْسَ مَا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ
(Evil indeed is that which they have been doing.) Indeed, horrible is that which they used to do and the transgression that they committed.
Criticizing Rabbis and Learned Religious Men for Giving up on Forbidding Evil
(Why do not the Rabbaniyyun and the Ahbar forbid them from uttering sinful words and from eating illegal things. Evil indeed is that which they have been performing.) meaning why don't the Rabbaniyyun and the Ahbar forbid them from this evil The Rabbaniyyun are the scholars who are in positions of authority, while the Ahbar are the regular scholars.
لَبِئْسَ مَا كَانُواْ يَصْنَعُونَ
(Evil indeed is that which they have been performing.) referring to the Rabbaniyyun, as `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas, because they abandoned forbidding evil. Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "There is no Ayah in the Qur'an that has more severe admonition than this Ayah,
(Why do not the Rabbaniyyun and the Ahbar forbid them from uttering sinful words and from eating illegal things. Evil indeed is that which they have been performing.)'' Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Yahya bin Ya`mar said, " `Ali bin Abi Talib once gave a speech, which he started by praising Allah and thanking Him. He then said, `O people! Those who were before you were destroyed because they committed sins and the Rabbaniyyun and Ahbar did not forbid them from evil. When they persisted in sin, they were overcome by punishment. Therefore, enjoin righteousness and forbid evil before what they suffered also strikes you. Know that enjoining righteousness and forbidding evil does not reduce the provision or shorten the term of life.'' Imam Ahmad recorded that Jarir said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(There is no people among whom there are those who commit sins, while the rest are more powerful and mightier than the sinners, yet they do not stop them, but Allah will send a punishment upon them.) Ahmad was alone with this wording. Abu Dawud recorded it, but in his narration Jarir said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah saying,
(There is no one who resides among people commiting evil among them, and they do not stop him though they are able to do so, but Allah will punish them all before they die.)'' Ibn Majah also recorded this Hadith.