Behold! thy Lord did declare that He would send against them, to the Day of Judgment, those who would afflict them with grievous penalty. Thy Lord is quick in retribution, but He is also Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. (verse 167)
We broke them up into sections on this earth. There are among them some that are the righteous, and some that are the opposite. We have tried them with both prosperity and adversity: In order that they might turn (to us). (verse 168)
After them succeeded an (evil) generation: They inherited the Book, but they chose (for themselves) the vanities of this world, saying (for excuse): “(Everything) will be forgiven us.” (Even so), if similar vanities came their way, they would (again) seize them. Was not the covenant of the Book taken from them, that they would not ascribe to Allah anything but the truth? and they study what is in the Book. But best for the righteous is the home in the Hereafter. Will ye not understand? (verse 169)
The first two verses (167 and 168) have referred to the two punishments given to the Israelites. Firstly, Allah will keep sending up to the Day of Doom, some individuals or groups of people who will punish and bring disgrace to them. In fact, this is what has been happening to them up to this day. They had been dominated and disdainfully
treated by others as has been recorded by history. We may not be in doubt about their present government in a part of Palestine, as it is a common knowledge that the state of Israel is, in fact, a part of the
world powers, created by them for their political objectives against the Muslim Ummah. They are still ruled over and dominated by the colonial powers. It is, in fact, a military base of America. The day these
powers stop providing them with their aid they shall not be able to maintain their existence for long.
The second punishment has been mentioned in verse 168. That is,
Jewish populace has been cut into fragments scattered in all the parts
of the world they could not integrate themselves into a solid nation.
The phrase “And we divided them on the earth as
separate commnities’, has refered to this fact. The Arabic word
() signifies breaking into pieces. While the word () is plural of Ummah,
which means ‘a group’, ‘a party’. The verse means that Allah has
divided them into fragments making them scattered on the earth.
This indicates that being integrated in a whole, or having an entity
as a nation is a blessing of Allah while getting disorganized into parts
separated from each other is a punishment from Him. The Muslims
have always enjoyed the blessing of having their own entity, and being
recognized as an organized people in the world. Starting right from
Madinah in the time of the Holy Prophet (S) up to this day
they have their own independent rule in various parts of the earth.
The presence of Islamic countries from the far East to the West is an
obvious proof of this fact.
Their present state in Palestine should not cause any doubt as they
have to come together in a place in the last age according to the prophecies made by the Holy Prophet (S) . He informed us in authentic Traditions that Prophet ‘Isa (pbuh) shall come down to the
earth from heavens before the end of the world, and all the Christians
shall embrace Islam. He shall fight a war against the Jews and put
them to death. The culprits of Allah are not summoned through police,
or other agencies; they are driven to their place of death by the causes
created by the will of Allah.
The Prophet ‘Isa (Jesus) (pbuh) is to descend from heavens in the
land of Syria. He shall fight war with the Jews. The Prophet (S) has been saved the trouble of seeking the Jews in different parts of the world by causing them to gather in Palestine. As to their
present political power and sovereignty in the State of Israel, it is a
delusion which beguiles only those who are not conversant with the
world politics. The so called ‘State of Israel’ is, in fact, a common camp
ground of the big powers like America, Russia, and England. It
depends upon the aid of its masters for its existence. It has to serve
the aims and objectives of its Masters. They are still living in real
servitude, and are deprived of their free rule in true sense of the word.
The Holy Qur’an has informed us of their disgrace and distress up
to the end of time in these words:
“And when your Lord declared that he would surely keep
sending till the Day of Doom, those who inflict upon them an
History has recorded that they have been continually persecuted
by one people or another right from the time of the Prophet Sulayman
(pbuh) to the present age. Their imprisonment by Nebuchadnassar
and persecution at the hands of subsequent kings, then their defeat
and ignominious fate at the hands of the Holy Prophet (S)
and his Caliph ‘Umar al-Faruq (RA) are obvious example of this
The second phrase of this verse is this:
“Some of them are righteous, and some of them are otherwise.”
The righteous people among them are those who followed the
commandments of the Torah faithfully and did not try to distort them
as others did. The people termed as ‘otherwise’ include infidels and
those who obstinately disobeyed their prophets and even killed them.
The terms ‘righteous’ and ‘otherwise’ may also refer to the people who believed in the Holy Prophet (S) and followed the Qur’anic guidance after it’s revelation. Opposed to them are those believing in
the Torah as the word of Allah, disobeyed it or distorted its commandment and thus sold out their eternal salvation for petty gains of this world. The last phrase of this verse has said:
“And we tested them with good happenings and bad happenings so that they might return.”
The “good happenings” refer to their state of prosperity, comfort
and ease while ‘bad happenings’ has reference either to their various
persecutions and calamities faced by them throughout their history, or
it may have referred to some period of famine coming upon them as
punishment. Both the methods of testing their obedience were used in
their case. Prosperity and wealth were given to them to see if they
show their gratefulness to their Lord. When they were a failure in this
test, they were made to undergo many punishments already discussed
in the foregoing verses.
Their perversion of thought and practice had gone to such extent
that in the time of prosperity they said:
“Allah is poor and we are rich.” (3:181)
while in times of their destitution they said: “Allah’s hand is
shackled.” (5:64) Another implication of the verse is that prosperity or
poverty, happiness or suffering are sent as a test to mankind in order
to judge the faith and love of the created for the Creator. Both, prosperity and suffering should be of no real concern to the men of understanding, as they are temporary and have to end.
It is, therefore, not wise to show arrogance for one’s prosperity or
being dejected for one’s impoverishment. A persian poet said:
“Neither happiness awarded us with real benefit nor did
sorrow make us weep. Both came as guests to our resolute
The verse 169 has said:
“Then, after them came a generation, who inherited the Book,
taking to the mundane stuff of this world and saying: ‘We
shall be forgiven.’ And if there comes to them similar stuff,
they would take to it (again).”
The Arabic word () is a past tense of () signifying a deputy or a
person trusted with one’s work in one’s absence.
The second word used here is () with the merged sound of the second letter Lam, generally denoting a deputy who is marked with wickedness, as opposed to the good practices of his elders. The word () is a derivative of 26, that is, inheritance. The next word is () meaning something bought with money. Sometimes, it is used just for something possessed. The use of this word for money indicates that any thing owned in this world is temporary, because this word, as an antonym of ‘Jauhar’ (substance), is used for an object which requires something else to show its existence like colour which requires another thing to show itself. The word () has been derived from () which denotes nearness or lack of distance. The word () a faminine gender of this word. The word () imay also be taken to be a derivative of (), which signifies disgrace. In this case the word shall refer to something disgraced.
The verse implies that there were two groups of people among the
early Jews, the righteous and the wrong-doers. The people coming in
later generations who inherited the Torah, however, acted opposite to
their elders and made the Book an object of trading or a means of their
earning. They used to manipulate and distort the text of the Torah for
some money offered to them for this purpose. Moreover, “they said:
“We shall be forgiven”. In spite of committing as great a sin
as distorting the text of the Book of Allah, they claimed their forgiveness by Allah. They are warned of this error in the very next sentence saying: “If there comes to them similar stuff they
would take to it (again).” That is to say, they are in such a state of
perversion that in case they are offered money for changing another text, they shall readily accept it. The verse has implied that forgiveness of Allah is always there to those who are mindful of their error
and turn to their Lord in repentance showing their remorse over what
they have done, and making firm promise of not repeating the same
mistake again. Being persistent in their sinful acts and claiming their
forgiveness is sheer self deception. The next part of the verse puts a
question to them, whether they were not made to enter a covenant
with Allah that they shall never say anything but truth about Allah.
Yes, they read this pledge in their Book. This is nothing but their
impudence and obstinacy that stops them from realizing the truth of
the Hereafter which is exclusively the fate of those who fear Allah.
Shafi, Muhammad (2008). Maariful Quran. (Vol .4 surah 7 verses 167-169). English-MaarifulQuran-MuftiShafiUsmaniRA-Vol-4.pdf (islamicweblibrary.com)