81. Jibt signifies 'a thing devoid of any true basis and bereft of all usefulness'. In Islamic terminology the various forms of sorcery, divination and soothsaying, in short all superstitions, are termed jibt. It is reported in a tradition that, 'to divine things from the cries of animals, or the traces of animals' paws, or the flight of birds, constitutes jibt. Thus, jibt may be roughly translated as 'superstition'. (See Abu Da'ud, Tibb', 23; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 3, p. 477 and vol. 5, p. 60 - Ed.)
83. The obstinacy of the Jewish religious scholars had, reached such a point that they brazenly declared the followers of Muhammad (peace be on him) to be in greater error than even the polytheists of Arabia. This was despite the fact that they knew that the Muslims stood for absolute monotheism while their opponents believed in that undisguised polytheism which has been so vehemently denounced throughout the Bible.
84. The Jews, who had judged the Muslims to be in error, are asked if they have some share in God's authority which entitles them to judge who is rightly guided and who is not. If the Jews really had any share in that authority, no one would receive so much as a penny from them, for their hearts are too small to even acknowledge the truth, let alone credit others with righteousness and goodness. This verse can also be understood somewhat differently so as to pose the following question to the Jews: 'Is it a matter of your possessing some dominion which you are reluctant to share with others?' Obviously, the question was merely one of acknowledging the Truth, and they were too grudging to credit others with it.
85. By implication, this query accurately portrays the state of mind of the Jews. They saw the Muslims being endowed with the grace and reward of God which they, notwithstanding their own unworthiness had expected to fall to their share. By virtue of the advent of a great Prophet among the ummis of Arabia, a spiritual, moral and intellectual revolution had taken place which totally changed their practical life and ultimately led them to greatness and glory. It is this which aroused their spite and envy, and which was reflected in their unjustifiable remarks about the Muslims.
86. This 'mighty dominion' refers to the position of world leadership and authority which a people attain by virtue of receiving the knowledge in the Book of God and acting according to its dictates.
87. This is in response to the malicious remarks of the Israelites. What is being said is that they had no reason to feel jealous since both the Israelites and Ishmaelites were offspring of the same Abraham. Now, the leadership of the world had been promised only to those children of Abraham who followed the Book and Wisdom revealed by God. The Book and Wisdom had been sent down earlier to the Israelites, and to their discredit they had turned away from them. The same Book and Wisdom had now been made available to the Ishmaelites and they had decided to greet it with faith and gratitude.