The interpretation of the Ayah: 'Enjoin you piety and righteousness on the people and you forget yourselves'
Q 2: What is the
Tafsir (exegesis of the meanings) of the following Ayah (meanings of which are translated as):
Enjoin you Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and each and every act of obedience to Allâh) on the people and you forget (to practise it) yourselves, while you recite the Scripture [the Taurât (Torah)]! Have you then no sense?
This Ayah was revealed concerning
the Children of Israel, as indicated by the previous Ayahs. This Ayah is addressed to them as Allah reprimanded them for their deviant behavior and corrupt actions.
The Jews claimed belief in the Torah and acting accordingly. They called for following the goodness it preaches and for the obligation of obeying Allah (Exalted be He) and avoiding sins. Nevertheless, they acted contrary to what they were calling to. The Qur'an reprimanded them more by ascribing them to forgetfulness as a way of showing their utter heedlessness and indifference. Truly, a person never deprives himself of good or likes that others win it before him. So, if the Jews had followed the guidance of the Torah, they would have believed in the Message of Muhammad (Part No. 3; Page No. 148) (peace be upon him), because his description and the tidings of his prophethood are mentioned therein. They rejected these Ayahs out of arrogance and envy, and altered their meanings, although they recognized the Prophet (peace be upon him) as they recognized their own children due to the knowledge they had.It is also said that this Ayah was revealed concerning
the Jewish rabbis who used to advise people secretly to believe in the Message of our Prophet (peace be upon him), but they would not do so themselves. Thus, they enjoined good on people and willfully neglected it.As for the Tafsir of His Statement:
...while you recite the Scripture [the Taurât (Torah)]!
, it means that they knew its teachings which others whom they enjoined to follow Muhammad did not know. There is a great difference between those who act without knowing the benefit of the thing they are doing, and those who neglect an act while knowing the benefit of the thing they are abandoning.Regarding Allah's Statement: "Have you then no sense?" it means: Have you no reason to prevent you from this foolish behavior and warn you against its evil consequences. Indeed, whoever has the least amount of sense will not claim the perfect knowledge of the Scriptures and guide people to follow their guidance and then himself forsake following and holding fast to their commandments and prohibitions.This address, even though it is directed to the Jews, is a lesson for other people to be on guard, lest they should become the same as them and meet a similar end. (Part No. 3; Page No. 149) May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.