فَوَيْلٌ لِلَّذِينَ يَكْتُبُونَ الْكِتَابَ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ ثُمَّ يَقُولُونَ هَٰذَا مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّهِ لِيَشْتَرُوا بِهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا ۖ فَوَيْلٌ لَهُمْ مِمَّا كَتَبَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَوَيْلٌ لَهُمْ مِمَّا يَكْسِبُونَ
So woe to those who write the "scripture" with their own hands, then say, "This is from Allah," in order to exchange it for a small price. Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn.
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(Therefore woe be unto those who write the Scripture with their hands and then say, “This is from Allah”…)[2:79]. This was revealed about those who had changed the description of the Prophet, Allah bless him andgive him peace, and altered his traits. Al-Kalbi mentioned, through the above-mentioned chain oftransmission: “They had changed the description of Allah’s Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace,in their Scripture. They made him white and tall while the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, wasbrown and of medium height. They had said to their followers and companions: ‘Look at the description ofthe prophet who will be sent at the end of time; his description does not match that of this [man]’. TheJewish rabbis and doctors used to gain some worldly benefits from the Jewish people and so they wereafraid of losing this gain if they were ever to show the real description. It is for this reason that they hadchanged it”.
فَوَيْلٌ لِّلَّذِينَ يَكْتُبُونَ الْكِتَـبَ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ ثُمَّ يَقُولُونَ هَـذَا مِنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ لِيَشْتَرُواْ بِهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلاً فَوَيْلٌ لَّهُمْ مِّمَّا كَتَبَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَوَيْلٌ لَّهُمْ مِّمَّا يَكْسِبُونَ
(78. And there are among them (Jews)
Ummyyun (unlettered) people, who know not the Book, but they trust upon Amani (false desires) and they but guess.)
(79. Then woe to those who write the book with their own hands and then say, "This is from Allah,'' to purchase with it a little price! Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for that they earn thereby.)
(And there are among them Ummyyun people) meaning, among the People of the Book, as Mujahid stated. Ummyyun, is plural for Ummi, that is, a person who does not write, as Abu Al-`Aliyah, Ar-Rabi`, Qatadah, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i and others said. This meaning is clarified by Allah's statement,
لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ الْكِتَـبَ
(Who know not the Book) meaning, are they not aware of what is in it. Ummi was one of the descriptions of the Prophet because he was unlettered. For instance, Allah said,
وَمَا كُنتَ تَتْلُو مِن قَبْلِهِ مِن كِتَـبٍ وَلاَ تَخُطُّهُ بِيَمِينِكَ إِذاً لاَّرْتَـبَ الْمُبْطِلُونَ
(Neither did you (O Muhammad ) read any book before it (this Qur'an) nor did you write any book (whatsoever) with your right hand. In that case, indeed, the followers of falsehood might have doubted) (29:48). Also, the Prophet said,
«إِنَّا أُمَّةٌ أُمِّيَّةٌ لَا نَكْتُبُ وَلَا نَحْسِبُ، الشَّهْرُ هكَذَا وَهكَذَا وَهكَذَا»
(We are an Ummi nation, neither writing nor calculating. The (lunar) month is like this, this and this (i.e. thirty or twenty-nine days.) This Hadith stated that Muslims do not need to rely on books, or calculations to decide the timings of their acts of worship. Allah also said,
هُوَ الَّذِى بَعَثَ فِى الأُمِّيِّينَ رَسُولاً مِّنْهُمْ
(He it is Who sent among the Ummiyyin ones a Messenger (Muhammad ) from among themselves) (62:2).
Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas said that Allah's statement,
(But they trust upon Amani) means, "It is just a false statement that they utter with their tongues.'' It was also said that Amani means `wishes and hopes'. Mujahid commented, "Allah described the Ummiyyin as not understanding any of the Book that Allah sent down to Musa, yet they create lies and falsehood.'' Therefore, the word Amani mentioned here refers to lying and falsehood. Mujahid said that Allah's statement,
وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلاَّ يَظُنُّونَ
(And they but guess) means, "They lie.'' Qatadah, Abu Al-`Aliyah and Ar-Rabi` said that it means, "They have evil false ideas about Allah.''
فَوَيْلٌ لِّلَّذِينَ يَكْتُبُونَ الْكِتَـبَ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ ثُمَّ يَقُولُونَ هَـذَا مِنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ لِيَشْتَرُواْ بِهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلاً
(Then Waylun (woe) to those who write the book with their own hands and then say, "This is from Allah,'' to purchase with it a little price!). This is another category of people among the Jews who called to misguidance with falsehood and lies about Allah, thriving on unjustly amassing people's property. `Waylun (woe)' carries meanings of destruction and perishing, and it is a well-known word in the Arabic language. Az-Zuhri said that `Ubadydullah bin `Abdullah narrated that Ibn `Abbas said, "O Muslims! How could you ask the People of the Book about anything, while the Book of Allah (Qur'an) that He revealed to His Prophet is the most recent Book from Him and you still read it fresh and young Allah told you that the People of the Book altered the Book of Allah, changed it and wrote another book with their own hands. They then said, `This book is from Allah,' so that they acquired a small profit by it. Hasn't the knowledge that came to you prohibited you from asking them By Allah! We have not seen any of them asking you about what was revealed to you.'' This Hadith was also collected by Al-Bukhari. Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, "The little amount here means this life and all that it contains.'' Allah's statement,
فَوَيْلٌ لَّهُمْ مِّمَّا كَتَبَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَوَيْلٌ لَّهُمْ مِّمَّا يَكْسِبُونَ
(Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for that they earn thereby) means, "Woe to them because of what they have written with their own hands, the lies, falsehood and alterations. Woe to them because of the property that they unjustly acquired.'' Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas commented,
(Woe to them), "Means the torment will be theirs because of the lies that they wrote with their own hands,
وَوَيْلٌ لَّهُمْ مِّمَّا يَكْسِبُونَ
(And woe to them for that they earn thereby), which they unjustly acquired from people, be they commoners or otherwise.''