Quran Chapter 5 [part 4] - The Feast - Religion vs. True Believers (People of the Scripture)
51 You who believe, do not take the Jews and Christians as allies: [a] they are allies only to each other. Anyone who takes them as an ally becomes one of them– God does not guide such wrongdoers– 52 yet you [Prophet] will see the perverse at heart rushing to them for protection, saying, ‘We are afraid fortune may turn against us.’ But God may well bring about a triumph or some other event of His own making: then they will rue the secrets they harbored in their hearts, 53 and the believers will say, ‘Are these the men who swore by God using their strongest oaths that they were with you?’ All they did was in vain: they have lost everything.
54 You who believe, if any of you go back on your faith, [b] God will soon replace you with people He loves and who love Him, people who are humble towards the believers, hard on the disbelievers, and who strive in God’s way without fearing anyone’s reproach. Such is God’s favor. He grants it to whoever He will. God has endless bounty and knowledge. 55 Your true allies are God, His Messenger, and the believers– those who keep up the prayer, pay the prescribed alms, and bow down in worship. 56 Those who turn for protection to God, His Messenger, and the believers [are God’s party]: God’s party is sure to triumph.
57 You who believe, do not take as allies those who ridicule your religion and make fun of it– whether people who were given the Scripture before you, or disbelievers– and be mindful of God if you are true believers. 58 When you make the call to prayer, they ridicule it and make fun of it: this is because they are people who do not reason. 59 Say [Prophet], ‘People of the Book, do you resent us for any reason other than the fact that we believe in God, in what has been sent down to us, and in what was sent before us, while most of you are disobedient?’ 60 Say, ‘Shall I tell you who deserves a worse punishment from God than [the one you wish upon] us? Those God distanced from Himself, was angry with, and condemned as apes and pigs, [c] and those who worship idols: they are worse in rank and have strayed further from the right path.
61 When they come to you [believers], they say, ‘We believe,’ but they come disbelieving and leave disbelieving– God knows best what they are hiding. 62 You [Prophet] see many of them rushing into sin and hostility and consuming what is unlawful. How evil their practices are! 63 Why do their rabbis and scholars not forbid them to speak sinfully and consume what is unlawful? How evil their deeds are! 64 The Jews have said, ‘God is tight-fisted,’ but it is they who are tight-fisted, and they are rejected for what they have said. Truly, God’s hands are open wide: He gives as He pleases. What has been sent down to you from your Lord is sure to increase insolence and defiance in many of them. We have sown enmity and hatred amongst them till the Day of Resurrection. Whenever they kindle the fire of war, God will put it out. They try to spread corruption in the land, but God does not love those who corrupt. 65 If only the People of the Book would believe and be mindful of God, We would take away their sins and bring them into the Gardens of Delight. 66 If they had upheld the Torah and the Gospel and what was sent down to them from their Lord, they would have been given abundance from above and from below: some of them are on the right course, but many of them do evil.
67 Messenger, proclaim everything that has been sent down to you from your Lord– if you do not, then you will not have communicated His message– and God will protect you from people. God does not guide those who defy Him. 68 Say, ‘People of the Book, you have no true basis [for your religion] unless you uphold the Torah, the Gospel, and that which has been sent down to you from your Lord,’ but what has been sent down to you [Prophet] from your Lord is sure to increase many of them in their insolence and defiance: do not worry about those who defy [God]. 69 For the [Muslim] believers, the Jews, the Sabians, [d] and the Christians– those who believe in God and the Last Day and do good deeds– there is no fear: they will not grieve.
70 We took a pledge from the Children of Israel, and sent messengers to them. Whenever a messenger brought them anything they did not like, they accused some of lying and put others to death; 71 they thought no harm could come to them and so became blind and deaf [to God]. God turned to them in mercy but many of them again became blind and deaf: God is fully aware of their actions. 72 Those who say, ‘God is the Messiah, son of Mary,’ have defied God. The Messiah himself said, ‘Children of Israel, worship God, my Lord and your Lord.’ If anyone associates others with God, God will forbid him from the Garden, and Hell will be his home. No one will help such evildoers.
73 Those people who say that God is the third of three are defying [the truth]: there is only One God. If they persist in what they are saying, a painful punishment will afflict those of them who persist. 74 Why do they not turn to God and ask His forgiveness, when God is most forgiving, most merciful? 75 The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a messenger; other messengers had come and gone before him; his mother was a virtuous woman; both ate food [like other mortals]. See how clear We make these signs for them; see how deluded they are. 76 Say, ‘How can you worship something other than God, that has no power to do you harm or good? God alone is the All Hearing and All Knowing.’ 77 Say, ‘People of the Book, do not overstep the bounds of truth in your religion and do not follow the whims of those who went astray before you– they led many others astray and themselves continue to stray from the even path.’
78 Those Children of Israel who defied [God] were rejected through the words of David, and Jesus, son of Mary, because they disobeyed, they persistently overstepped the limits, 79 they did not forbid each other to do wrong. How vile their deeds were! 80 You [Prophet] see many of them allying themselves with the disbelievers. How terrible is what their souls have stored up for them: God is angry with them and they will remain tormented. 81 If they had believed in God, in the Prophet, and in what was sent down to him, they would never have allied themselves with the disbelievers, but most of them are rebels.
82 You [Prophet] are sure to find that the most hostile to the believers are the Jews and those who associate other deities with God; you are sure to find that the closest in affection towards the believers are those who say, ‘We are Christians,’ for there are among them people devoted to learning and ascetics. [e] These people are not given to arrogance, 83 and when they listen to what has been sent down to the Messenger, you will see their eyes overflowing with tears because they recognize the Truth [in it]. They say, ‘Our Lord, we believe, so count us amongst the witnesses. 84 Why should we not believe in God and in the Truth that has come down to us, when we long for our Lord to include us in the company of the righteous?’ 85 For saying this, God has rewarded them with Gardens graced with flowing streams, and there they will stay: that is the reward of those who do good. 86 Those who reject the truth and deny Our messages will be the inhabitants of Hellfire.
a. i.e. those who are against the Muslim camp, as is clear from the following verses, up to 59. ‘Do not turn to them as allies in preference to the Muslims’ (see 4: 144).
b. What is intended in this context is ‘by taking them as allies’.
c. Tabari (in his commentary on 2: 65) regards this as metaphorical in the sense of ‘like apes, pigs’. Compare the metaphorical use of ‘blind, deaf, dumb’– 2: 18; 5: 71; 8: 22; 43: 40; etc.
d. See note to 2: 62.
e. Most translators render these as ‘priests and monks’, which are their modern meanings, not the etymological senses of the words (al-Raghib, Mufradat).
The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics)
The Qur'an / a new translation by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem, copyright © 2004 Oxford World's Classics (Oxford University Press). Used by permission. All rights reserved.