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2.79. Woe, then, to those who write the Book with their hands (interpolating into it their readings of the Scriptures and their explanatory notes thereto, stories from their national history, superstitious ideas and fancies, philosophical doctrines and legal rules) and then, in order to sell it for a trifling price (such as worldly benefit, status, and renown), they declare: "This is from God. " So woe to them for what their hands have written, and woe to them for what they have earned (of the worldly income and the sin thereby). Print E-mail

فَوَيْلٌ لِّلَّذِينَ يَكْتُبُونَ الْكِتَابَ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ ثُمَّ يَقُولُونَ هَـذَا مِنْ عِندِ اللّهِ لِيَشْتَرُواْ بِهِ ثَمَناً قَلِيلاً فَوَيْلٌ لَّهُم مِّمَّا كَتَبَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَوَيْلٌ لَّهُمْ مِّمَّا يَكْسِبُونَ

79. Woe, then, to those who write the Book with their hands (interpolating into it their readings of the Scriptures and their explanatory notes thereto, stories from their national history, superstitious ideas and fancies, philosophical doctrines and legal rules) and then, in order to sell it for a trifling price (such as worldly benefit, status, and renown), they declare: "This is from God." So woe to them for what their hands have written, and woe to them for what they have earned (of the worldly income and the sin thereby).81

81. In addition to interpreting the Book of God according to their wishes, for the sake of fame, status and worldly gain, the rabbis interpolated into it their own readings of the Scriptures, stories from their national history, superstitious ideas and fancies, philosophical doctrines and legal rules, and attributed these to God. This caused what was human and what was Divine to be confounded. Furthermore, they expected others to believe in whatever there was in the Book, and they regarded rejection of their additions as being identical with unbelief. As pointed out in verse 78, the common people were unlettered. They tended to believe in whatever they were told in the name of religion, and thus, they were dragged along into conjectures and fancies through mere imitation.

As in other similar verses, this one contains significant warning for the learned scholars and the unlearned Muslims of this community. As pointed out by Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, the religious books written by scholars should serve as “binoculars” to look at the Qur'ān, not as substitutes for it. This and similar verses also shed light on why God's Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, showed some reluctance in the early years of his mission to have his sayings written down.

 
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