Tafsir of the Ayah: 'And buy not with My Verses a small price'

Q 1: I wish to know the Tafsir (explanation/exegesis of the meanings) of the Ayah (saying what means): and buy [get (تاخذ اجرا)] not with My Verses [the Taurât (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)] a small price (i.e. Getting a small gain by selling My Verses) Kindly give me a detailed explanation for it.


A: In his commentary on this part of the Ayah, Ibn Kathir (may Allah be merciful to him) said: “Do not substitute faith in My Revelations and belief in My Messengers with the life of this world and its lusts which are but little and bound to end.” He further said: "It is related in Sunan Abu Dawud on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Anyone who acquires knowledge of things by which Allah’s Good Pleasure is sought, but acquires it only to attain some worldly gain, will not smell the fragrance of Jannah (Paradise) on the Day of Resurrection.” As for teaching religious knowledge in return for pay: if it is an individual religious obligation (i.e. Fard ‘Ayn), it is not permissible to receive pay for it, but they can take from Bayt-ul-Mal (Muslim treasury) what suffices them and their dependents. Yet if there is nothing in Bayt-ul-Mal for them and teaching prevents them from earning their living, it is no longer considered an individually binding obligation and consequently it becomes permissible for them to take a fee for it according to the opinion of Imam Malik, Al-Shafi‘y, Ahmad, and the Jumhur (dominant majority of scholars). It is also related in Sahih Al-Bukhari on the authority of Abu Sa‘id, the story of a man stung (by a scorpion who was cured with Qur’an recitation, and paid the reciter) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The most lawful thing for which you receive payment is the Book of Allah.” (Part No. 4; Page No. 195) He (peace be upon him) also said in the account of the woman who offered herself in marriage, “I have married her to you for what you know of the Qur’an (by heart).” As for the Hadith narrated on the authority of `Ubadah ibn Al-Samit that he taught a man from among Ahl-ul-Suffah (poor emigrant Muslims who lived in the Mosque and were devoted to learning) some parts of the Qur’an and in return the man gave him a bow as a present. He informed the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) who said, “If you wish that a collar of Fire be made to encircle your neck, accept it.” Related by Abu Dawud who narrated a similar Hadith on the authority of Ubay ibn Ka`b and classed it as Hadith Marfu‘ (a Hadith narrated from the Prophet with a connected or disconnected chain of narration). If the Sanad (chain of narrators) is sound, many scholars such as Abu ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul-Bar believe that after agreeing to teach for the Sake of Allah, it becomes inappropriate to prefer the bow to the Reward from Allah. However, had ‘Ubadah agreed from the beginning to teach for wages, it would have been lawful, as was the cases in the Hadith of the stung man and the Hadith narrated on the authority of Sahl about the betrothed woman. And Allah knows best.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

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