61. This was one of the devices adopted by the leaders and rabbis of the Jews who lived on the outskirts of Madina in order to damage the mission of Islam. To demoralize the Muslims and create misgivings about the Prophet (peace be on him), they sent their agents to embrace Islam publicly, then to renounce it, and subsequently to go about telling people they had done so because of the faults they had found in Islam, the Muslims and their Prophet.
62. The word wasi' which is used here occurs in the Qur'an in three contexts. The first context is the narrow-mindedness and mean outlook of certain people, in contrast to which God is not 'narrow'. The second context is the denunciation of miserliness, meanness and niggardliness, in contrast to which God is Generous and Munificent. The third context is the ascription of finite, limited concepts to God as a result of their limitedimagination, whereas the truth is that God is infinite see (Surah 2, n. 116 above)
63. That is, God knows who deserves to be honoured and exalted.
64. This was not merely the misconception of the ignorant mass of Jews. Their
religious teaching was the same and the legal doctrines of their accepted religious
authorities and jurists reflected this idea. With regard to injunctions on loans
and interest the Bible makes a clear distinction between an Israelite and a
non-Israelite (Deuteronomy 15: 1-3; 23: 20).
It is stated in the Talmud that if the bullock of an Israelite injures the bullock of a non-Israelite the former is not liable to any penalty, but not vice versa. Similarly, it is laid down that if anyone finds an unclaimed article he should enquire amongst the people who live nearby. If they are Israelites he should announce his find; if not he may keep it without saying anything further.
Rabbi Samuel Ishmael says that if a dispute between a Jew and a Gentile is brought before a judge, he should base his verdict on Jewish law if it is favourable; if the law of the Gentiles goes in favour of the Jew he should justify his judgement by saying that the Gentile has no valid ground for complaint since judgement was given according to his own law. Even if both laws are unfavourable towards the Jew the judge should still find some pretext for deciding in his favour. Rabbi Samuel says that benefit should be derived from every mistake the non-Israelite may make. (See Paul Isaac Hershon, Talmudic Miscellany, London, 1880, pp. 37 and 210-21.)
65. The reason is that, despite their worst crimes, they still thought that on the Day of Judgement they alone would be honoured with God's favour, and that towards them alone He would turn His gracious attention. They also entertained the belief that if they had been stained by any trace of sin, it would be washed away by the grace of their pious elders. Such people are warned here that the treatment meted out to them in the Next Life will be altogether contrary to their expectations.
66. This could mean that they either distort the meaning of the Scriptures or twist the words of the text in order to misinterpret it. Its real meaning, however, seems to be that when, during their reading of the Scriptures, they encounter any word or sentence which goes against their interests, and the beliefs and notions which they cherish, they distort the meaning of it by deliberately twisting their tongues. Instances of such tongue-twisting are not altogether wanting among those who, despite their belief in the Qur'an, share some of these people's characteristics. For instance, some people who stress the superhuman character of the Prophet (peace be on him) misread the following verse: innama ana basharun mithlukum (Qur'an 18: 110) (I am nothing but a human being like you), replacing innama by inna ma ana and translate it: '(O Prophet), say to them: "I am not a human being like you."
67. The term rabbani is used here to denote Jewish religious scholars and functionaries who were supposed to provide true religious guidance to establish their rites of worship, implement religious laws, and so on. The same word occurs in( Surah 5: 44 and 63). In the Christian tradition the word 'divine' is used as an equivalent to the word rabbani.
68. This refutation is directed at all the false concepts which were attributed to the Messengers of God by various nations, and then made an integral part of the religious scriptures. These concepts were false in that they elevated either the Prophets or the angels to the level of deities