The Sabbath and its Violations

 I take refuge with Allaah from the accursed devil.  

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ 

  Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Raheem: In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.  

 Welcome to my blog and praise the Magnificent Lord as you enter: Allahu Akbar: Allah is the Greatest .

May the Peace and Blessing of Allah Azza wa Jal, our Lord Glorified and Praised be He, be upon our beloved Prophet, his Family, and Companions.

The Sabbath and its Violations.

يَسْأَلُكَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَـبِ أَن تُنَزِّلَ عَلَيْهِمْ كِتَـباً مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ فَقَدْ سَأَلُواْ مُوسَى أَكْبَرَ مِن ذلِكَ فَقَالُواْ أَرِنَا اللَّهِ جَهْرَةً فَأَخَذَتْهُمُ الصَّـعِقَةُ بِظُلْمِهِمْ ثُمَّ اتَّخَذُواْ الْعِجْلَ مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَآءَتْهُمُ الْبَيِّنَـتُ فَعَفَوْنَا عَن ذلِكَ وَءَاتَيْنَا مُوسَى سُلْطَـناً مُّبِيناً

(153. The People of the Scripture (Jews) ask you to cause a book to descend upon them from heaven. Indeed, they asked Musa for even greater than that, when they said: “Show us Allah in public,” but they were struck with a bolt of lightning for their wickedness. Then they worshipped the calf even after Al-Bayyinat had come to them. (Even) so We forgave them. And We gave Musa a clear proof of authority.)

 وَرَفَعْنَا فَوْقَهُمُ الطُّورَ بِمِيثَـقِهِمْ وَقُلْنَا لَهُمُ ادْخُلُواْ الْبَابَ سُجَّداً وَقُلْنَا لَهُمْ لاَ تَعْدُواْ فِى السَّبْتِ وَأَخَذْنَا مِنْهُمْ مِّيثَـقاً غَلِيظاً

(154. And for their covenant, We raised over them the mount and (on the other occasion) We said: “Enter the gate prostrating (or bowing) with humility;” and We commanded them: “Transgress not on the Sabbath (Saturday).” And We took from them a firm covenant.)

Surah 4 An Nisa Verse 153-154

Tafsir Ibn Kathir

Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi, As-Suddi and Qatadah said that the Jews asked the Messenger of Allah to cause a book to come down to them from heaven, just as the Tawrah was sent down to Musa. Ibn Jurayj said that the Jews asked the Messenger to cause books to come down to them addressed to so-and-so among them, testifying to the truth of what he was sent with. The Jews only asked for this because of their stubbornness, defiance, rejection and disbelief. The disbelievers of Quraysh also asked for similar things from the Prophet, as is mentioned in Surat Al-Isra’,

(And they say: “We shall not believe in you, until you cause a spring to gush forth from the earth for us;) (17:90) Allah said,

(Indeed, they asked Musa for even greater than that, when they said, “Show us Allah in public,” but they were struck with a bolt of lightning for their wickedness.) injustice, transgression, defiance and rebellion. This part was explained in Surat Al-Baqarah,

(And (remember) when you said: “O Musa! We shall never believe in you until we see Allah plainly.” But you were struck by a bolt of lightning while you were looking. Then We raised you up after your death, so that you might be grateful.) (2:55,56) Allah’s statement,

(Then they worshipped the calf even after Al-Bayyinat had come to them.) meaning, after they witnessed the tremendous miracles and unequivocal proofs at the hand of Musa in Egypt. They also witnessed the demise of their enemy, Fir`awn and his soldiers, when they all drowned in the sea. Yet soon after, when they passed by a people who were worshipping idols, they said to Musa,

(Make for us a god as they have gods.) Allah explains the story of the Jews worshipping the calf in Surat Al-A`raf (7) and Surah Ta Ha (20) after Musa went to meet with his Lord. When Musa returned, Allah decreed that in order for the Jews to earn accepted repentance, then those who did not worship the calf would have to kill those who worshipped it. They complied with this command, and Allah resurrected them afterwards. Allah said here,

((Even) so We forgave them. And We gave Musa a clear proof of authority. ) Allah then said,

(And for their covenant, We raised over them the mount,) This was when they refrained from implementing the rulings of the Tawrah and refused what Musa brought them from Allah. So Allah raised the mountain above their heads and they were ordered to prostrate, which they did. Even so, they were looking above when they were prostrating for fear that the mountain might fall on them,

(And (remember) when We raised the mountain over them as if it had been a canopy, and they thought that it was going to fall on them. (We said): “Hold firmly to what We have given you.”) Allah then said,

(and We said, “Enter the gate prostrating (or bowing) with humility;”) meaning that they also defied this command in word and action. They were commanded to enter Bayt Al-Quds (in Jerusalem) while bowing and saying “Hittah”, meaning: `O Allah! take from us our sin of abandoning Jihad.’ This was the cause of their wandering in the desert of Tih for forty years. Yet, they entered the House while crawling on their rear ends and saying `Hintah (a wheat grain) in Sha`rah (the hair)’.

(and We commanded them, “Transgress not the Sabbath (Saturday).”) meaning, We commanded them to honor the Sabbath and honor what Allah prohibited them on that day.

(And We took from them a firm covenant.) meaning, strong covenant. They rebelled, transgressed and committed what Allah prohibited by using deceit and trickery, as is mentioned in Surat Al-A`raf (7),

(And ask them about the town that was by the sea.)

وَسْئَلْهُمْ عَنِ الْقَرْيَةِ الَّتِى كَانَتْ حَاضِرَةَ الْبَحْرِ إِذْ يَعْدُونَ فِى السَّبْتِ إِذْ تَأْتِيهِمْ حِيتَانُهُمْ يَوْمَ سَبْتِهِمْ شُرَّعًا وَيَوْمَ لاَ يَسْبِتُونَ لاَ تَأْتِيهِمْ كَذَلِكَ نَبْلُوهُم بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْسُقُونَ

(163. And ask them about the town that was by the sea; when they transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath: when their fish came to them openly on the Sabbath day, and did not come to them on the day they had no Sabbath. Thus We made a trial for them, for they used to rebel against Allah’s command.)

Surah 7 Al Araf Verse 163

Tafsir Ibn Kathir

This Ayah explains Allah’s statement,

(And indeed you knew those among you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath..) [2:65] Allah says to His Prophet here,

(And ask them) ask the Jews who are with you, about the story of their fellow Jews who defied Allah’s command, so that His punishment overtook them all of a sudden for their evil actions, transgression and defiance by way of deceit. Also, warn the Jews (O Muhammad) against hiding your description that they find in their books, so that they do not suffer what their forefathers suffered. The village mentioned here is Aylah, on the shore of the Qulzum (Red) Sea. Muhammad bin Ishaq recorded from Dawud bin Al-Husayn from `Ikrimah that Ibn `Abbas commented on Allah’s statement,

(And ask them about the town that was by the sea…) “A village called Aylah between Madyan and At-Tur (which is in Sinai). `Ikrimah, Mujahid, Qatadah and As-Suddi said similarly. Allah’s statement,

(when they transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath;) means, they transgressed in the Sabbath and defied Allah’s command to them to keep it sanctified,

(when their fish came to them openly on the Sabbath day,) visible on top of the water, according to Ad-Dahhak who reported it from Ibn `Abbas. Ibn Jarir said, “Allah’s statement,

(and did not come to them on the day they had no Sabbath. Thus We made a trial of them,) means, this is how We tested them by making the fish swim close to the surface of the water , on the day which they were prohibited to fish. The fish would be hidden from them on the day when they were allowed to fish,

(Thus We made a trial for them,) so that We test them,

(for they used to rebel against Allah’s command) by defying His obedience and rebelling against it.” Therefore, these were a people who used a trick to violate Allah’s prohibitions, taking an action that seemed legal on the surface. However, in reality, this action was meant to transgress the prohibition. Imam and scholar Abu `Abdullah Ibn Battah reported that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

(Do not repeat what the Jews committed, and violate Allah’s prohibitions using deceitful tricks.) This Hadith has a reasonable chain.

وَإِذْ قَالَتْ أُمَّةٌ مِّنْهُمْ لِمَ تَعِظُونَ قَوْمًا اللَّهُ مُهْلِكُهُمْ أَوْ مُعَذِّبُهُمْ عَذَاباً شَدِيدًا قَالُواْ مَعْذِرَةً إِلَى رَبِّكُمْ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ

(164. And when a community among them said: “Why do you preach to a people whom Allah is about to destroy or to punish with a severe torment” (The preachers) said: “In order to be free from guilt before your Lord (Allah), and perhaps they may fear Allah.”)

فَلَمَّا نَسُواْ مَا ذُكِّرُواْ بِهِ أَنجَيْنَا الَّذِينَ يَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ السُّوءِ وَأَخَذْنَا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ بِعَذَابٍ بَئِيسٍ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَفْسُقُونَ

(165. So when they forgot the reminder that had been given to them, We rescued those who forbade evil, but with a severe torment We seized those who did wrong, because they used to rebel against Allah’s command.)

فَلَمَّا عَتَوْاْ عَن مَّا نُهُواْ عَنْهُ قُلْنَا لَهُمْ كُونُواْ قِرَدَةً خَـسِئِينَ

(166. So when they exceeded the limits of what they were prohibited, We said to them: “Be you monkeys, despised.”)

Surah 7 Al Araf verse 164-166

Tafsir Ibn Kathir

Allah said that the people of this village were divided into three groups, a group that committed the prohibition, catching fish on the Sabbath, as we described in the Tafsir of Surat Al-Baqarah. Another group prohibited them from transgression and avoided them. A third group neither prohibited them, nor participated in their action. The third group said to the preachers,

(“Why do you preach to a people whom Allah is about to destroy or to punish with a severe torment”). They said, `why do you forbid these people from evil, when you know that they are destroyed and have earned Allah’s punishment’ Therefore, they said, there is no benefit in forbidding them. The preachers replied,

(“In order to be free from guilt before your Lord (Allah),”) `for we were commanded to enjoin righteousness and forbid evil,’

(“and perhaps they may fear Allah”) for on account of our advice, they might stop this evil and repent to Allah. Certainly, if they repent to Allah, Allah will accept their repentance and grant them His mercy.’ Allah said,

( when they forgot the reminder that had been given to them, ) when the evil doers refused the advice,

(We rescued those who forbade evil, but We seized who did wrong,) who committed the transgression,

(with a severe torment). Allah stated that those who enjoined good were saved, while those who committed the transgression were destroyed, but He did not mention the end of those who were passive (the third group), for the compensation is comparable to the deed. This type did not do what would warrant praise, nor commit wrong so that they are admonished. `Ikrimah said, “Ibn `Abbas said about the Ayah: `I do not know whether or not the people were saved who said;

(“Why do you preach to a people whom Allah is about to destroy…”) So I continued discussing it with him until I convinced him that they were. Then he gave me [the gift of] a garment.” Allah said,

(and We seized those who did wrong with a Ba’is torment) indicating that those who remained were saved. As for `Ba’is’, it means `severe’, according to Mujahid, or `painful’, according to Qatadah. These meanings are synonymous, and Allah knows best. Allah said next,

(despised), humiliated, disgraced and rejected.

وَلَقَدْ عَلِمْتُمُ الَّذِينَ اعْتَدَواْ مِنكُمْ فِى السَّبْتِ فَقُلْنَا لَهُمْ كُونُواْ قِرَدَةً خَـسِئِينَ

(65. And indeed you knew those amongst you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath (i.e. Saturday). We said to them: “Be you monkeys, despised and rejected.”)

فَجَعَلْنَـهَا نَكَـلاً لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهَا وَمَا خَلْفَهَا وَمَوْعِظَةً لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ

(66. So We made this punishment an example for those in front of it and those behind it, and a lesson for Al-Muttaqin (the pious.)

Surah 2 Al Baqarah Verse 65-66

Tafsir Ibn Kathir

Allah said,

(And indeed you knew). This Ayah means, O Jews! Remember that Allah sent His torment on the village that disobeyed Him and broke their pledge and their covenant to observe the sanctity of the Sabbath. They began using deceitful means to avoid honoring the Sabbath by placing nets, ropes and artificial pools of water for the purpose of fishing before the Sabbath. When the fish came in abundance on Saturday as usual, they were caught in the ropes and nets for the rest of Saturday. During the night, the Jews collected the fish after the Sabbath ended. When they did that, Allah changed them from humans into monkeys, the animals having the form closest to humans. Their evil deeds and deceit appeared lawful on the surface, but they were in reality wicked. This is why their punishment was compatible with their crime. This story is explained in detail in Surat Al-A`raf, where Allah said (7:163),

(And ask them (O Muhammad ) about the town that was by the sea; when they transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath (i.e. Saturday): when their fish came to them openly on the Sabbath day, and did not come to them on the day they had no Sabbath. Thus We made a trial of them, for they used to rebel (disobey Allah).)(7:163)

In his Tafsir, Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said,

 (We said to them: “Be you monkeys, despised and rejected”) means, “Allah changed their bodies into those of monkeys and swines. The young people turned into monkeys while the old people turned into swine.” Shayban An-Nahwi reported that Qatadah commented on,

(We said to them: “Be you monkeys, despised and rejected”), “These people were turned into howling monkeys with tails, after being men and women.”

وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكَ لَيَبْعَثَنَّ عَلَيْهِمْ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَـمَةِ مَن يَسُومُهُمْ سُوءَ الْعَذَابِ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَسَرِيعُ الْعِقَابِ وَإِنَّهُ لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

(167. And (remember) when your Lord declared that He would certainly keep on sending against them, till the Day of Resurrection, those who would afflict them with a humiliating torment. Verily, your Lord is quick in retribution and certainly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.)

Surah 7 Al Araf Verse 167

Tafsir Ibn Kathir

(Ta’dhdhana) means `declared’, according to Mujahid, or `ordained’, according to others. This part of the Ayah indicates a vow,

(that He will keep on sending against them) against the Jews,

(till the Day of Resurrection, those who would afflict them with a humiliating torment.) on account of their disobedience, defying Allah’s orders and Law and using tricks to transgress the prohibitions. It was reported that Musa required the Jews to pay the production tax for seven or thirteen years, and he was the first to do so. Also, the Jews fell under the humiliating rule of the Greek Kushdanin, Chaldeans and later on the Christians, who subjugated and disgraced them, and required them to pay the Jizyah (tribute tax). When Islam came and Muhammad was sent, they became under his power and had to pay the Jizyah, as well. Therefore, the humiliating torment mentioned here includes disgrace and paying the Jizyah, as Al-`Awfi narrated from Ibn `Abbas. In the future, the Jews will support the Dajjal (False Messiah); and the Muslims, along with `Isa, son of Mary, will kill the Jews. This will occur just before the end of this world. Allah said next,

(Verily, your Lord is quick in retribution), with those who disobey Him and defy His Law,

(and certainly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) for those who repent and go back to Him. This Ayah mentions both the mercy, as well as, the punishment, so that no despair is felt. Allah often mentions encouragement and warning together, so that hearts always have a sense of hope and fear.

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, “Those who violated the sanctity of the Sabbath were turned into monkeys, then they perished without offspring.” Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas said, “Allah turned them into monkeys because of their sins. They only lived on the earth for three days, for no transformed person ever lives more than three days. They did not eat, drink or have offspring. Allah transformed their shapes into monkeys, and He does what He wills, with whom He wills and He changes the shape of whomever He wills. On the other hand, Allah created the monkeys, swines and the rest of the creation in the six days (of creation) that He mentioned in His Book.”

Allah’s statement,

 (So We made this punishment an example) means, Allah made the people of this village, who violated the sanctity of the Sabbath,

(an example) via the way they were punished. Similarly, Allah said about Pharaoh,

(So Allah, seized him with punishing example for his last and first transgression) (79:25). nAllah’s statement,

(for those in front of it and those behind it) meaning, for the other villages. Ibn `Abbas commented, “Meaning, `We made this village an example for the villages around it by the manner in which We punished its people.”’ Similarly, Allah said,

(And indeed We have destroyed towns (populations) round about you, and We have (repeatedly) shown (them) the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) in various ways that they might return (to the truth and believe in the Oneness of Allah ـ Islamic Monotheism)).(46:27)

Therefore, Allah made them an example for those who lived during their time as well as a reminder for those to come, by preserving their story. This is why Allah said,

( and a lesson for Al-Muttaqin (the pious)), meaning, a reminder. This Ayah means, “The torment and punishment that this village suffered was a result of indulging in Allah’s prohibitions and their deceit. Hence, those who have Taqwa should be aware of their evil behavior, so that what occurred to this village does not befall them as well.” Also, Imam Abu `Abdullah bin Battah reported that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

(Do not commit what the Jews committed, breaching what Allah has forbidden, by resorting to the lowest types of deceit.)

This Hadith has a good (Jayid) chain of narration. Allah knows best.

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