*128. This statement was made by the Jews. On the revelation of the Qur'anic verse (2: 245): 'Who of you will lend Allah a goodly loan?', the Jews began to ridicule it and said: 'Look, God has now gone bankrupt and has begun to beg of His creatures for loans.' (For this statement made by the Jews see the Tradition mentioned by Ibn Kathir in his comments on this verse - Ed.)(3:182) That is in recompense for what you have done.' Allah does no wrong to His servants.
*129. The Bible mentions at several places that the token of Divine acceptance of a person's sacrificial offering was the appearance of a mysterious fire which consumed the offering. (See Judges 6: 20-1 and 13: 19-20; 2 Chronicles 7: 1-2.) The Bible does not state, however, that the consuming fire was an indispensable token of prophethood and that anyone not endowed with that miracle could not be a Prophet. The Jews in discussing the claim of Muhammad (peace be on him) to be a Messenger of God brought up the question of this miraculous sign, and used it as a pretext for denying that claim. There was even clearer evidence of the Jews' hostility to Truth: they had not hesitated to murder a number of Prophets who had been endowed with the miracle of consuming fire. The Bible mentions, for example, the Prophet Elijah who had challenged the worshippers of Ba'l to sacrifice a bull, promising that he too would sacrifice a bull. He stated that the offering of the one who was truthful would be consumed by the miraculous fire. The confrontation took place before a large crowd and it was Elijah's sacrifice which was consumed by the fire. This so antagonized the Ba'1-worshipping Queen that the henpecked King decided to put the Prophet Elijah to death. Elijah was forced to leave his homeland and take refuge in the mountains of Sinai. (See 1 Kings 18 and 19.) The Jews are told in effect: 'How dare you ask for the miracle of the consuming fire when in the past you have not even refrained from murdering Prophets who performed that miracle?'(3:184) Now, if they give the lie to you, then other Messengers who came bearing clear signs and scriptures and the illuminating Book were also given the lie before you.
*130. Whoever considers the effects of his actions in this earthly life to be of crucial significance, and sees in them the criteria of right and wrong, the criteria of that which leads either to one's ultimate salvation or to one's doom, falls prey to a serious misconception. The fact that a person is outstandingly successful in life does not necessarily prove that he is either not prove that he has either strayed from the right way or is out of favour with God. The earthly results of a man's actions are often quite different from the ones he will see in the Next Life. What is of true importance is what will happen in that eternal life rather than in this transient one.(3:186) (Believers!) You will certainly be put to test in respect of your properties and lives, and you will certainly hear many hurtful things from those who were granted the Book before you and those who have associated others with Allah in His divinity. If you remain patient and God-fearing131 this indeed is a matter of great resolution.
*131. Muslims should not lose their self-control in the face of the Jews' invidious taunts and slander. The Jews' accusations, debased talk and false propaganda should not provoke the Muslims into adopting a posture either inconsistent with truth and justice or with the dignity, decorum and high standards of moral conduct that become men of faith.(3:187) And recall when Allah took a covenant from those who were given the Book: 'You shall explain it to men and not hide it.132 Then they cast the Book behind their backs, and sold it away for a trivial gain. Evil indeed is their bargain.
*132. Although the Jews remembered that some Prophets had been endowed with the miracle of consuming fire, they conveniently forgot their covenant with God at the time they were entrusted with the Scripture, and their mission as the bearers of the Scripture.
The 'covenant' to which this verse alludes is mentioned at several places in the Bible. In the last sermon of Moses, cited in Deuteronomy, he again and again calls the attention of Israel to the covenant in the following words: 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might. And these words which I command shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.' (Deuteronomy 6: 4-9.)
Then, in his last testament Moses said: 'And on the day you pass over the Jordan to the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall set up large stones, and plaster them with plaster and you shall write upon them all the words of this law, when you pass over to enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you. And when you have passed over the Jordan, you shall set up these stones, concerning which I command you this day, on Mount Ebal, and you shall plaster them with plaster.' (Deuteronomy 27: 2-4.) When the Levites were handed a copy of the Torah, they were instructed to gather men, women and children every seventh year on the occasion of the Feast of Tabernacles and to recite the entire text to them. But their indifference to the Book of God grew to such a point that seven hundred years later even the priests of the Temple of Solomon and the Jewish ruler of Jerusalem did not know that they had the Book of God with them. (See 2 Kings 22: 8-13.)