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(2:63) Hold firmly to what we have given you

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And remember We took your covenant and We raised above you (The towering height) of Mount (Sinai) : (Saying): “Hold firmly to what We have given you and bring (ever) to remembrance what is therein: Perchance ye may fear Allah.”

The following excerpt is taken from “Maariful Quran” vol 1 pg. 229-230:

Having received the Torah from Allah, Sayyidna Musa
(Moses ,peace be upon him ) returned from Mount Tur (Sinai) and recited it to the Israelites. The injunctions contained in the Book were rather rigorous, but their conduct and habits of mind really called for such strict discipline. To begin with, they replied that they would not obey the injunctions until and unless Allah Himself told them that it was His book. Seventy men, as we have related above, were selected to go to Mount
Tur and to hear Allah attest the authenticity of the Torah. On their return, they bore witness to the Torah being a Book of Allah, but added something on their own to what Allah had actually said. For, they told
the Israelites that Allah had allowed them to act upon the injunctions
only as much as they could, and had promised to forgive them for what
they could not accomplish. They had always and instinctively been
prone to rebellion against Allah, then, the injunctions were, no doubt,
stern, and now they got a new pretext for being negligent. So, the Israelites flatly refused to obey the injunctions, insisting that it was beyond their endurance to act upon such harsh regulations. In reply to
this insolence, Allah commanded the angels to raise Mount Tur and let
it hang in the air above their heads as a threat that if they did not fulfil their covenant with Allah, it would fall on them and crush them.
The Israelites, then, had no choice but to submit.

A doubt is quite likely to arise here. The Holy Qur’an says in
another place that force should not be used to make a man change his
religion, while in the present instance it appears that force is being
used. But, in fact, force is not being used to make the Israelites change
their religion, for they had already accepted Sayyidna Musa (pbuh) as
a prophet of Allah, and willingly made a covenant with Allah that they
would act upon the Book of Allah, if one was given to them. So, they
now stand as rebels, and are being threatened with dire punishment
for persisting in their rebellion. This is exactly how even a secular
state deals with rebels, and how it adopts towards them an attitude
quite different from that towards aliens or enemies, for it leaves only
two ways open to the rebel — either to submit himself, or to lose his
life. That is why it is only an apostate (Murtadd) who is, according to
the Islamic Shari’ah, condemned to capital punishment, and not an
outright disbeliever. Moreover, the Israelites were being threatened
with death as criminals and offenders against the law which they
acknowledged to be the divine law, but which they refused to obey.

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