the fire, therein to abide for ever—Sura Al-Baqarah (ii) 71-5.

In other ways the Jews gave offence. Baidawi says that Abu Bakr asked a Jew for a loan, saying 'Who will lend God a good loan? 'The Jew said, 'If God wants a loan, then He must be poor.' Abu Bakr struck him and the Jew forthwith complained to the Prophet, but got no redress. Then this verse came:—

Now hath God heard the saying of those who said, 'Aye, God is poor and we are rich.' We will surely write down their sayings and their unjust slaughter of the prophets and we will say, ' Taste ye the torment of the burning.' Sura Al-'Imran (iii) 177.

The demand of the Jews for a prophetic sign is referred to in the following verse:—

To those who say, 'Verily God hath enjoined us that we are not to credit an apostle until he presents us a sacrifice which fire out of heaven shall devour.' Al-'Imran (iii) 179.

The Jews said that the fire which descended from heaven on the altar of the Tabernacle (Leviticus ix. 24) and afterwards on the altar at the dedication of Solomon's Temple (2 Chronicles vii. 1) was constantly kept alive until the Chaldeans destroyed the Temple. They seemed to expect that a true prophet would re-kindle it.

Muhammad at once in the next verse replied to their demand thus:—

Say, already have apostles before me come to you with miracles and with that of which ye speak, Wherefore slew ye them? Sura Al-'Imran (iii) 180.


The commentators say that he here refers to Zachariah and Vahya (John the Baptist)1 and so argues that, if they slew prophets who had miraculous powers why should he gratify their wishes and cause fire to come down from heaven.

Those who did not admit that any part of the Scriptures referred to Muhammad are thus addressed :—

Believe ye then part of the Book and deny part?2 But what shall be the meed of him among you who doth this, but shame in this life ? And on the day of the resurrection they shall be sent to the most cruel of torments, for God is not regardless what ye do., Sura Al-Baqarah (ii) 79.

They would not recognize the Qur'an as a book of authority, a state of obstinacy which called forth from the Prophet the bitter imprecation:—

The curse of God be on the infidels—Sura Al-Baqarah (ii) 83.

He then goes on to say:—

For a vile price have they sold themselves, that they should not believe in that which God sent down, envious of God's sending down His grace on such servants as He pleaseth, and they have brought upon themselves wrath upon wrath.3 Sura Al-Baqarah (ii) 84.

1 Baidawi, 'Abdu'llah bin 'Abbas and Husain.
2 There were quarrels between two leading Jewish tribes, each claiming some Scriptural authority for their actions. Muhammad rebukes them and bids them obey the whole of their Scriptures. This is a striking instance of the Qur'anic testimony to the authority of the Old Testament, whole and entire, as it then existed.
3 'Wrath upon wrath'
بِغَضَبٍ عَلَى غَضَبٍ is said by the commentator Mujahid to mean that the first wrath lies on those who reject the Pentateuch, the second on those who reject Muhammad. Khalasatu't-Tafasir, vol, i, p. 51.