And let not those who covetously withhold of the gifts which Allah Hath given them of His Grace, think that it is good for them: Nay, it will be the worse for them: soon shall the things which they covetously withheld be tied to their necks Like a twisted collar, on the Day of Judgment. To Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth; and Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.
Allah hath heard the taunt of those who say: “Truly, Allah is indigent and we are rich!”- We shall certainly record their word and (their act) of slaying the prophets in defiance of right, and We shall say: “Taste ye the penalty of the Scorching Fire!
“This is because of the (unrighteous deeds) which your hands sent on before ye: For Allah never harms those who serve Him.”
Hypocrites are unwilling to make any sacrifice whether in terms of their persons or their wealth. The Muslims are warned here to guard against this moral weakness. Those who are reluctant to spend in the cause of Allah out of what He has granted them; not as a privilege owed to them but purely out of His bounty, they should not think that they are doing something very beneficial for their future life. The wealth that they hoard by neglecting their obligations and keeping back what they owe to Allah will be put around their necks as shackles. And the ornaments and necklaces of gold that are paraded as trophies of pride and beauty will on that day prove to be so many instruments of their humiliation and punishment.
The verse goes on to say that the heavens and the earth and whatever is in them all belong to Allah alone and will ultimately return to Him. Whatever human beings are given in this life is to test them. And He is fully aware of how we have been using or misusing the gifts given to us by Him. All human beings will be called to account and be judged in the light of His faultless, all-comprehensive knowledge. He will reward or punish them depending on their performance in their earthly life.
A subtle point of eloquence
The Qur’ānic response (“ We shall certainly record their word”) to their mockery is extremely significant as it is expressive of great wrath and displeasure towards these people. And even more significant and suggestive is the fact that this statement is made along with “( their act) of slaying the prophets in defiance of right.” In other words, this derogatory statement will be recorded along with their other crimes, including their killing Allah’s prophets without any justification, a crime that the Jews had been guilty of in their history many a time. Aligning the Jews and the hypocrites together concerning their blasphemous assertion, and using a similar pronoun for the two groups go to show two things. One, with the utterance of this monstrosity, these hypocrites morally and spiritually had reverted and re-joined the community that they pretended to leave while joining the fold of Islam. Two, this mockery of the hypocrites as well as the Jewish utterance (mentioned above) are equally reprehensible crimes and will not go unpunished. They will be surely called to account: “Taste (now) the penalty of the scorching fire!” − a penalty that will be a consequence of their misdeeds, as “Allah is not in the least unjust to His servants”.
Islahi, Amin Ahsan. Pondering Over The Qur’an: Surah Ali Imran (p. 309-310). Islamic Book Trust. Kindle Edition.