Source: Tafseer Ibn Katheer (Dar-us-salam), Surah Ale-Imran , after the verses 93 to 95
(93. All food was lawful to the Children of Israel, except what Isra’il made unlawful for himself before the Tawrah was revealed. Say: “Bring here the Tawrah and recite it, if you are truthful. ”) (94. Then after that, whosoever shall invent a lie against Allah, then it is these that are the wrongdoers.) (95. Say:”Allah has spoken the truth; follow the religion of Ibrahim the Hanif (monotheist), and he was not of the Mushrikin (idolators).”)
The Questions that the Jews Asked Our Prophet
Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, “A group of Jews came to Allah’s Prophet and said, `Talk to us about some things we will ask you and which only a Prophet would know.’ He said, `Ask me about whatever you wish. However, give your pledge to Allah, similar to the pledge that Ya`qub took from his children, that if I tell you something and you recognize its truth, you will follow me in Islam.’ They said, `Agreed.’ The Prophet said, `Ask me about whatever you wish.’
They said, `Tell us about four matters:
1. What kinds of food did Isra’il prohibit for himself
2. What about the sexual discharge of the woman and the man, and what role does each play in producing male or female offspring
3. Tell us about the condition of the unlettered Prophet during sleep,
4. And who is his Wali (supporter) among the angels’
The Prophet took their covenant that they will follow him if he answers these questions, and they agreed.
He said, `I ask you by He Who sent down the Tawrah to Musa, do you not know that Isra’il once became very ill When his illness was prolonged, he vowed to Allah that if He cures His illness, he would prohibit the best types of drink and food for himself. Was not the best food to him camel meat and the best drink camel milk’ They said, `Yes, by Allah.’ The Messenger said, `O Allah, be Witness against them.’
The Prophet then said, `I ask you by Allah, other than Whom there is no deity (worthy of worship), Who sent down the Tawrah to Musa, do you not know that man’s discharge is thick and white and woman’s is yellow and thin If any of these fluids becomes dominant, the offspring will take its sex and resemblance by Allah’s leave. Hence, if the man’s is more than the woman’s, the child will be male, by Allah’s leave. If the woman’s discharge is more than the man’s, then the child will be female, by Allah’s leave.’ They said, `Yes.’ He said, `O Allah, be Witness against them.’
He then said, `I ask you by He Who sent down the Tawrah to Musa, do you not know that the eyes of this unlettered Prophet sleep, but his heart does not sleep’ They said, `Yes, by Allah!’ He said, `O Allah, be Witness.’
They said, `Tell us now about your Wali among the angels, for this is when we either follow or shun you.’ He said, `My Wali (who brings down the revelation from Allah) is Jibril, and Allah never sent a Prophet, but Jibril is his Wali.’ They said, `We then shun you. Had you a Wali other than Jibril, we would have followed you.’ On that, Allah, the Exalted revealed,
(Say: “Whoever is an enemy to Jibril…”) ﴿2:97﴾.”
(before the Tawrah was revealed) ﴿3:93﴾, means, Isra’il forbade that for himself before the Tawrah was revealed. There are two objectives behind revealing this segment of the Ayah. First, he forbade himself the most delightful things for Allah’s sake. This practice was allowed during his period of Law, and is, thus, suitable that it is mentioned after Allah’s statement,
(By no means shall you attain Al-Birr, unless you spend of that which you love) ﴿3: 92﴾.
What we are allowed in our Law is to spend in Allah’s obedience from what we like and covet ﴿but not to prohibit what Allah has allowed﴾. Allah said in other Ayat;
(And gives his wealth, in spite of love for it,) ﴿2:177﴾, and;
(And they give food, in spite of their love for it,) ﴿76:8﴾.
The second reason is that after Allah refuted the false Christian beliefs and allegations about `Isa and his mother. Allah started refuting the Jews here, may Allah curse them, by stating that the abrogation of the Law, that they denied occurs, already occurred in their Law. For instance, Allah has stated in their Book, the Tawrah, that when Nuh departed from the ark, Allah allowed him to eat the meat of all types of animals. Afterwards, Isra’il forbade the meat and milk of camels for himself, and his children imitated this practice after him. The Tawrah later on prohibited this type of food, and added several more types of prohibitions. Allah allowed Adam to marry his daughters to his sons, and this practice was later forbidden. The Law of Ibrahim allowed the man to take female servants as companions along with his wife, as Ibrahim did when he took Hajar, while he was married to Sarah. Later on, the Tawrah prohibited this practice. It was previously allowed to take two sisters as wives at the same time, as Ya`qub married two sisters at the same time. Later on, this practice was prohibited in the Tawrah. All these examples are in the Tawrah and constitute a Naskh (abrogation) of the Law. Therefore, let the Jews consider what Allah legislated for `Isa and if such legislation falls under the category of abrogation or not. Why do they not then follow `Isa in this regard Rather, the Jews defied and rebelled against `Isa and against the correct religion that Allah sent Muhammad with.
This is why Allah said,
(All food was lawful to the Children of Israel, except what Isra’il made unlawful for himself before the Tawrah was revealed) ﴿3:93﴾ meaning, before the Tawrah was revealed, all types of foods were allowed, except what Isra’il prohibited for himself. Allah then said,
(Say: “Bring here the Tawrah and recite it, if you are truthful.”),
for the Tawrah affirms what we are stating here. Allah said next,
(Then after that, whosoever shall invent a lie against Allah, then these it is that are the wrongdoers.) ﴿3:94﴾, in reference to those who lie about Allah and claim that He made the Sabbath and the Tawrah eternal. They are those who claim that Allah did not send another Prophet calling to Allah with the proofs and evidences, although evidence indicates that abrogation, as we have described, occurred before in the Tawrah,
(then these it is that are the wrongdoers.)
Allah then said,
(Say, “Allah has spoken the truth;”) ﴿3:95﴾ meaning, O Muhammad, say that Allah has said the truth in what He conveyed and legislated in the Qur’an,
(follow the religion of Ibrahim the Hanif, and he was not of the idolators.”) ﴿3:95﴾.
Therefore, follow the religion of Ibrahim that Allah legislated in the Qur’an. Indeed, this is the truth, there is no doubt in it, and the perfect way, and no Prophet has brought a more complete, clear, plain and perfect way than he did. Allah said in other Ayat,
(Say: “Truly, my Lord has guided me to a straight path, a right religion, the religion of Ibrahim, the Hanif, and he was not of the idolators.”) ﴿6:161﴾
(Then, We have sent the revelation to you (saying): “Follow the religion of Ibrahim, the Hanif, and he was not of the idolaters.) ﴿16:123﴾.
The Jews are the Enemies of Jibril
(Al Baqara 2.97). Say (O Muhammad ): “Whoever is an enemy to Jibril (Gabriel) (let him die in his fury), for indeed he has brought it (this Qur’an) down to your heart by Allah’s permission, confirming what came before it (i.e. the Tawrah and the Injil) and guidance and glad tidings for the believers).
(98. “Whoever is an enemy to Allah, His Angels, His Messengers, Jibril and Mika’il, then verily, Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers.”)
The Jews are the Enemies of Jibril
Imam Abu Ja`far bin Jarir At-Tabari said, “The scholars of Tafsir agree that this Ayah (2: 97-98) was revealed in response to the Jews who claimed that Jibril (Gabriel) is an enemy of the Jews and that Mika’il (Michael) is their friend.” Al-Bukhari said, “Allah said,
(Whoever is an enemy of Jibril (let him die in his fury)). `Ikrimah said, “Jibr, Mik and Israf all mean, worshipper, while il means, Allah”. Anas bin Malik said, “When `Abdullah bin Salam heard of the arrival of the Prophet in Al-Madinah, he was working on his land. He came to the Prophet and said, `I am going to ask you about three things which nobody knows except a Prophet. What will be the first portent of the Hour What will be the first meal taken by the people of Paradise Why does a child resemble its father, and why does it resemble its maternal uncle’ Allah’s Messenger said, (Jibril has just told me the answers.) `Abdullah said, `He (i.e. Jibril), among all the angels, is the enemy of the Jews.’ Allah’s Messenger recited the Ayah,
(Whoever is an enemy to Jibril (Gabriel) (let him die in his fury), for indeed he has brought it (this Qur’an) down to your heart). Allah’s Messenger then said, (The first portent of the Hour will be a fire that will bring together the people from the east to the west; the first meal of the people of Paradise will be the caudate lobe of the liver of fish. As for the child resembling his parents: If a man has sexual intercourse with his wife and his discharge is first, the child will resemble the father. If the woman has a discharge first, the child will resemble her side of the family.) On that `Abdullah bin Salam said, `I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and you are the Messenger of Allah.’ `Abdullah bin Salam further said, `O Allah’s Messenger! The Jews are liars, and if they should come to know about my conversion to Islam before you ask them (about me), they will tell a lie about me.’ The Jews came to Allah’s Messenger , and `Abdullah went inside the house. Allah’s Messenger asked (the Jews), (`What kind of man is `Abdullah bin Salam’) They replied, `He is the best among us, the son of the best among us, our master and the son of our master.’ Allah’s Messenger said, (What do you think if he would embrace Islam) The Jews said, `May Allah save him from it.’ Then `Abdullah bin Salam came out in front of them saying, `I testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.’ Thereupon they said, `He is the evilest among us, and the son of the evilest among us.’ And they continued talking badly about him. Ibn Salam said, `This is what I feared, O Messenger of Allah!.”’ Only Al-Bukhari recorded this Hadith with this chain of narration. Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded this Hadith from Anas using another chain of narration.
Some people say that `il’ means worshipper while whatever word that is added to it becomes Allah’s Name, because `il’ is a constant in such conjunction. This is similar to the names `Abdullah, `Abdur-Rahman, `Abdul-Malik, `Abdul-Quddus, `Abdus-Salam, `Abdul-Kafi, `Abdul-Jalil, and so forth. Hence, `Abd’ is constant in these compound names, while the remainder differs from name to name. This is the same case with Jibril, Mika’il, `Azra’il, Israfil, and so forth. Allah knows best.
Choosing Some Angels to believe in over Others is Disbelief like choosing Some Prophets over Others
(Whoever is an enemy to Jibril (Gabriel) (let him die in his fury), for indeed he has brought it (this Qur’an) down to your heart by Allah’s permission,) meaning, whoever becomes an enemy of Jibril, let him know that he is Ruh Al-Qudus who brought down the Glorious Dhikr (Qur’an) to your heart from Allah by His leave. Hence, he is a messenger from Allah. Whoever takes a messenger as an enemy, will have taken all the messengers as enemies. Further, whoever believes in one messenger, is required to believe in all of the messengers. Whoever rejects one messenger, he has rejected all of the messengers. Similarly, Allah said,
(Verily, those who disbelieve in Allah and His Messengers and wish to make distinction between Allah and His Messengers (by believing in Allah and disbelieving in His Messengers) saying, “We believe in some but reject others.”) (4:150)
Allah decreed that they are disbelievers, because they believe in some Prophets and reject others. This is the same with those who take Jibril as an enemy, because Jibril did not choose missions on his own, but by the command of his Lord,
(And we (angels) descend not except by the command of your Lord) (19: 64), and,
(And truly, this (the Qur’an) is a revelation from the Lord of all that exists. Which the trustworthy Ruh (Jibril) has brought down. Upon your heart (O Muhammad ) that you may be (one) of the warners) (26:192-194).
Al-Bukhari reported that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Allah said, `Whoever takes a friend of Mine as an enemy, will have started a war with Me.)
Therefore, Allah became angry with those who took Jibril as an enemy. Allah said,
(Whoever is an enemy to Jibril (Gabriel) (let him die in his fury), for indeed he has brought it (this Qur’an) down to your heart by Allah’s permission, confirming what came before it) meaning, the previous Books,
(and guidance and glad tidings for the believers) meaning, as guidance to their hearts and bringer of the good news of Paradise, which is exclusively for the believers. Similarly, Allah said,
(Say: “It is for those who believe, a guide and a healing.”) (41:44), and,
(And We send down of the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe) (17:82).
Allah then said,
(Whoever is an enemy to Allah, His Angels, His Messengers, Jibril and Mika’il (Michael), then verily, Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers.)
Allah stated that whoever takes Him, His angels and messengers as enemies, then…Allah’s messengers include angels and men, for Allah said,
(Allah chooses Messengers from angels and from men) (22:75). Allah said,
(Jibril (Gabriel) and Mika’il (Michael)). Allah mentioned Jibril and Mika’il specifically – although they are included among the angels who were messengers – only because this Ayah was meant to support Jibril the emissary between Allah and His Prophets. Allah also mentioned Mika’il here, because the Jews claimed that Jibril was their enemy and Mika’il was their friend. Allah informed them that whoever is an enemy of either of them, then he is also an enemy of the other as well as Allah. We should state here that Mika’il sometimes descended to some of Allah’s Prophets, although to a lesser extent than Jibril, because this was primarily Jibril’s task, and Israfil is entrusted with the job of blowing the Trumpet for the commencement of Resurrection on the Day of Judgment. It is recorded in the Sahih that whenever the Messenger of Allah would wake up at night, he would supplicate,
(O Allah, Lord of Jibril, Mika’il and Israfil, Creator of the heavens and earth and Knower of the seen and the unseen! You judge between Your servants regarding what they differ in, so direct me to the truth which they differ on, by Your leave. Verily, You guide whom You will to the straight path.)
(then verily, Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers) informed the disbelievers that whoever takes a friend of Allah as an enemy, then he has taken Allah as an enemy, and whoever treats Allah as an enemy, then he shall be Allah’s enemy. Indeed, whoever is an enemy of Allah then he will lose in this life and the Hereafter, as stated earlier;
(Whoever takes a friend of Mine as an enemy, I shall wage war on him.)