The theme of learning what pleases Allah (SWT) and what displeases Him will continue in the next few ayahs, and we learn this through the stories of the Bani Israel.
Ayah 87 states, "And indeed, We gave Mûsa (Moses) the Book and followed him up with a succession of Messengers. And We gave 'Īsā (Jesus), the son of Maryam (Mary), clear signs and supported him with Rûh-ul-Qudus [Jibrael (Gabriel) A.S.]. Is it that whenever there came to you a Messenger with what you yourselves desired not, you grew arrogant? Some you disbelieved and some you killed."
There are many blessings mentioned in this one verse:
i) Musa (AS) was sent down, and so was the Torah. These are 2 blessings. The Bani Israel were oppressed by Pharaoh to the extreme, and Musa (AS) came and freed them. When they asked for a book for their guidance, the Torah was revealed to them.
ii) After Musa (AS), other Messengers came to revive the deen. This was a very special blessing because of the closeness these Messengers had with Allah (SWT)
We, for example, don't have new Messengers coming to us as Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was the Last Messenger. The Bani Israel were given multiple Messengers.
iii) Isa (AS) was also sent to the Bani Israel, but they rejected him.
iv) Angel Jibrael assisted Isa (AS).
The Bani Israel were given all of these blessings, yet their response was that a group of them denied the Messengers, and another group even killed them. The cause of this kind of behavior was a disease in their hearts- their "nafs" or desires. Humans, by nature, have desires. These drive our response to both deen and duniya. If a person allows his or her desires to be molded by the world, then their influence will be worldly. On the other hand, if a person molds his or her character according to the deen, then they will always be accepting what the religion preaches. This is a challenge that befalls every human being. The problem with the Bani Israel was that they were too caught up in the duniya. We should develop our desires according to the deen, and this would be done by constantly reminding each other about the fact that this life is temporary, and the next life is everlasting, and that is what we should be working for. This will make it very easy to submit to the deen. The Sahabas of the Prophet (SAW) were so strong in their faith that they would obey whatever he said immediately.
The next ayah, 88, continues, "And they say, "Our hearts are wrapped (i.e. do not hear or understand Allâh's Word)." Nay, Allâh has cursed them for their disbelief, so little is that which they believe". During the time of the Prophet (SAW), the Bani Israel would say that their hearts are sealed and protected with their own Iman. On the other hand, the most hardest of hearts would change completely and convert to Islam after a few minutes of interaction with the Prophet (SAW). The disbelievers would very easily convert, and the Bani Israel would proudly say that they are well protected from Islam. Here, Allah (SWT) corrects them; that they have been cursed because of their deep kufr.
Ayah 89, "And when there came to them (the Jews), a Book (this Qur'ân) from Allâh confirming what is with them [the Taurât (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)], although aforetime they had invoked Allâh (for coming of Muhammad Peace be upon him ) in order to gain victory over those who disbelieved, then when there came to them that which they had recognised, they disbelieved in it. So let the Curse of Allâh be on the disbelievers." Here, Allah (SWT) highlights how the Quran only confirmed what the Torah, a Book they already had, said. It was not coming from a new source, it was the same God. On top of that, the Bani Israel used to pray for the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) to come in order to gain victory over the disbelievers. Yet, when their prayers came true and they recognized it, they didn't believe it. This is because the Prophet was an Arab, and did not come from their lineage. They wanted him to be from the Bani Israel.
The next ayah proceeds on to say, "Miserable is the price for which they have sold their souls, in that they deny (the revelation) which Allah has sent down, in insolent envy that Allah of His Grace should send it to any of His servants He pleases; thus have they drawn on themselves wrath upon wrath. and humiliating is the punishment of those who reject Faith." When the Bani Israel reject Prophet (SAW), they are actually rejecting the Will of Allah (SWT), and that's where the problem arises. We need to remember that we love and respect Prophet Muhammad (SAW) because Allah chose him. In a hadith, Hazrat Jaabir bin Sumrah (radi Allahu anhu) is reported to have said the following, "I saw the Prophet (sall Allaho alaihi wasallam) on a full moonlit night. The Prophet (sall Allaho alaihi wasallam) was wearing a reddish Jubbah, in other words it had reddish stripes on it. I looked at the Prophet (sall Allaho alaihi wasallam) and then I looked at the full moon. I found that the Prophet (sall Allaho alaihi wasallam) is more beautiful than the full moon." (Tirmizi). What we need to remember, though, is just as the moon reflects the light of the sun, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is actually the reflection of the light of Allah (SWT). So when we praise the Prophet (SAW) or follow him, we do it the way Allah has told us to, because Allah is the One who made the Prophet who he is. This is the mistake the Bani Israel made. They didn't accept the person that Allah (SWT) chose, merely because of race, and that is what cut them off from the mercy of Allah (SWT).
Ayah 91 goes, : And when it is said to them (the Jews), "Believe in what Allâh has sent down," they say, "We believe in what was sent down to us." And they disbelieve in that which came after it, while it is the truth confirming what is with them. Say (O Muhammad Peace be upon him to them): "Why then have you killed the Prophets of Allâh aforetime, if you indeed have been believers?" The Bani Israel insisted that they believe in Allah and in the wahy (revelations), but they said that they already received the wahy they were going to follow. (However, in the Torah it already states that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) will come, yet they deny him). The Prophet (SAW) is told to question them that if this is the case, then why did they kill the Prophets before, who came with the same message as is in their Book.
We will inshaAllah continue with the same theme in the next post. May Allah (SWT) give us the tawfiq to take lessons from these ayahs, so that we can learn what pleases our Creator, and stay away from what displeases Him. Ameen.