The two blindnesses and deafnesses of Banu Israa’eel: Imam al-Shinqitee

Allah describes the Ahl al-Kitaab in surah al-Maa’idah by saying:

وَحَسِبُوا أَلَّا تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ فَعَمُوا وَصَمُّوا ثُمَّ تَابَ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْهِمْ ثُمَّ عَمُوا وَصَمُّوا كَثِيرٌ‌ مِّنْهُمْ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ بَصِيرٌ‌ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ

“And they thought there would be no [resulting] punishment, so they became blind and deaf. Then Allah turned to them in forgiveness; then [again] many of them became blind and deaf. And Allah is Seeing of what they do.”

[al-Qur’an 5:71]

The mufassiroon brought forth different explanations for the significance of the sequence of events in this ayah and what specifically is being referenced here. Imam al-Shinqitee insightfully indicated that this is further explained by the ayaat at the beginning of surah al-Israa’. He wrote:

ذكر تعالى في هذه الآية الكريمة أن بني إسرائيل عموا وصموا مرتين ، تتخللهما توبة من الله عليهم ، ـ

Allah mentioned in this noble ayah that the Banu Israa’eel were blind and deaf two times, and the forgiveness of Allah intervened on their behalf.

وبين تفصيل ذلك في قوله : وقضينا إلى بني إسرائيل في الكتاب لتفسدن في الأرض مرتين الآية [ 17 \ 4 ] ، ـ

And He clarified the details of that in His statement, “And We conveyed to the Children of Israa’eel in the Scripture that, “You will surely cause corruption on the earth twice…” [17:4].

فبين جزاء عماهم ، وصممهم في المرة الأولى بقوله : فإذا جاء وعد أولاهما بعثنا عليكم عبادا لنا أولي بأس شديد الآية [ 17 \ 5 ] ، ـ

And He clarified the recompense of their first incidence of blindness and deafness by His statement, “So when the [time of] promise came for the first of them, We sent against you servants of Ours – those of great military might…” [17:5].

  وبين جزاء عماهم وصممهم في المرة الآخرة بقوله : فإذا جاء وعد الآخرة ليسوءوا وجوهكم وليدخلوا المسجد كما دخلوه أول مرة وليتبروا ما علوا تتبيرا ،

And He clarified the recompense of their second incidence of blindness and deafness by His statement, “Then when the final promise came, [We sent your enemies] to sadden your faces and to enter the masjid [the temple in Jerusalem], as they entered it the first time, and to destroy what they had taken over with [total] destruction.” [17:7].

وبين التوبة التي بينهما بقوله : ثم رددنا لكم الكرة عليهم وأمددناكم بأموال وبنين وجعلناكم أكثر نفيرا

And He clarified the repentance that occurred between these two incidences by His statement, “Then We gave back to you a return victory over them. And We reinforced you with wealth and sons and made you more numerous in manpower.” [17:6]

ثم بين أنهم إن عادوا إلى الإفساد عاد إلى الانتقام منهم بقوله : وإن عدتم عدنا ، فعادوا إلى الإفساد بتكذيبه – صلى الله عليه وسلم – وكتم صفاته التي في التوراة ، فعاد الله إلى الانتقام منهم ، فسلط عليهم نبيه – صلى الله عليه وسلم – فذبح مقاتلة بني قريظة ، وسبى نساءهم ، وذراريهم ، وأجلى بني قينقاع ، وبني النضير ، كما ذكر تعالى طرفا من ذلك في سورة الحشر

He then clarified that if they returned to corruption, then He would return to reprisal upon them, according to His statement, “But if you return [to sin], We will return” [17:18]. Then they returned to corruption with their denial of the Prophet (ﷺ) and concealing his attributes which were found in the Tawrah. So Allah returned to reprisal upon them and gave the Prophet (ﷺ) authority over them, so he slaughtered the fighters of Banu Quraithah and made captives of their women and offspring, and expelled Banu Qainuqaa’ and Banu Nadheer, as He mentioned in part in surah al-Hashr.

وهذا البيان الذي ذكرنا في هذه الآية ذكره بعض المفسرين ، وكثير منهم لم يذكره ، ولكن ظاهر القرآن يقتضيه ; لأن السياق في ذكر أفعالهم القبيحة الماضية ، من قتل الرسل ، وتكذيبهم ، إذ قبل الآية المذكورة : كلما جاءهم رسول بما لا تهوى أنفسهم فريقا كذبوا وفريقا يقتلون [ 5 \ 70 ] . ـ

And some of the mufassiroon have mentioned this clarification which we have mention concerning this ayah, but most of them did not mention it. However this is what is clear from the Qur’an, due to the context of mentioning their despicable past deeds such as killing the messengers and denying them, as came in the previously mentioned ayah, “Whenever there came to them a messenger with what their souls did not desire, a party [of messengers] they denied, and another party they killed.” [5:70]

[Adhwaa’ al-Bayaan 1/418-419]

6 thoughts on “The two blindnesses and deafnesses of Banu Israa’eel: Imam al-Shinqitee

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