89. When they hear the call to Prayer the unbelievers make fun of it by mimicry, pervert its words to ridicule it, and utter disparaging and taunting remarks about it.
90. These are merely acts of stupidity on the part of unbelievers. Had they not been ignorant and foolish they would not have stooped to such base tactics, despite their significant differences with the Muslims on religious questions. After all, can any reasonable person be happy to see the people who call to the worship of God be ridiculed and mocked?
91. This alludes to the Jews whose history shows that they were subjected, over and over again, to the wrath and scourge of God. When they desecrated the law of the Sabbath the faces of many of them were distorted, and subsequently their degeneration reached such a low point that they took to worshipping Satan quite openly. The purpose of saying all this is to draw attention to their criminal boldness while they had sunk to the lowest level of evil, transgression and moral decadence, they vigorously opposed all those who, thanks to their faith, lived a truly pious and righteous life.
92. To say that someone's hands are tied, in Arabic usage, is to say that he is niggardly, that something prevents him from being generous and bountiful. Thus the Jewish observation does not mean that God's Hand is literally tied but that He is niggardly and miserly. For centuries the Jews had lived in humiliation and misery. Their past greatness had become legend, seemingly too remote ever to be restored, and so they would blasphemously lament that God had become a miser and that as the door to His treasury was now permanently locked, that He had nothing to offer them except suffering and calamity. This attitude, however, is not confined to the Jews. When confronted with trials and tribulations foolish people of other nations, too, are prone to utter such blasphemies rather than turn to God with humble prayer and supplication.
93. They accused God of the miserliness from which they themselves had suffered and had become notorious for.
94. If they entertained the hope that by such insolent and taunting expressions they might evoke God's munificence, and that His bounties would begin to shower upon them, they were dreaming of the impossible. Indeed, such insolence was bound to have the opposite effect - to alienate them further from God's bounty, to cast them even further from His mercy.
95. Instead of learning any lessons from the Book of God, instead of recognizing their own mistakes and wrongs and then trying to make amends for them, instead of probing their miserable situation and then turning to reform, they reacted by launching a violent campaign of opposition to truth and righteousness. Rather than take to the right way as a result of being reminded of the forgotten lesson of righteousness, they attempted to suppress the voice which sought to remind them and others of such things.
96 In the Old Testament, Leviticus (chapter 26) and Deuteronomy (chapter 28) record a sermon of Moses in which he impresses upon Israel, in great detail, the bounties and blessings of God with which they would be endowed if they obeyed His commandments, and the afflictions, scourges and devastations that would descend upon them if they disobeyed Him and rejected the Book of God. That sermon of Moses is the best explanation of this verse of the Qur'an.