وَضُرِبَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ الذِّلَّةُ وَالْمَسْكَنَةُ وَبَاۗءُوْ بِغَضَبٍ مِّنَ اللّٰهِ
And disgrace and misery were stamped over them and they returned with wrath from Allah. (2: 61)
As to how the Companions, their successors, and the great commentators have interpreted the disgrace and degradation which has settled on the Jews, let us present a summary in the words of Ibn Kathir:
لا یزالون مستذلین من وجدہم استذلہم و ضرب علیہم الصغار
“No matter how wealthy they grow, they will always be despised by other people; whoever gets hold of them will humiliate them, and attach to them the emblems of servitude.” The commentator Dahhak Ibn Muzahim reports from the blessed Companion Abdullah Ibn Abbas (R.A) that the Jews will always remain under the domination of others, will be paying taxes and tributes to them – that is to say, they will themselves never have power and authority in the real sense of the term.
Another verse of the Holy Qur’an also speaks of the disgrace of the Jews, but with some addition:
ضُرِبَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ الذِّلَّةُ أَيْنَمَا ثُقِفُوا إِلَّا بِحَبْلٍ مِّنَ اللَّـهِ وَحَبْلٍ مِّنَ النَّاسِ
And disgrace has been stamped over them wherever they are found, unless (saved) through a rope from Allah and through a rope from men.” (3:112)
Now, the ‘rope’ or means from Allah refers to the case of those whom Allah Himself has, through His own commandment, saved from this disgrace – for example, children, women, or those who are totally devoted to prayer and worship and never go to war against Muslims.
The ‘rope’ or means from men refers to a treaty of peace with the Muslims or permission to live in a Muslim country on payment of the Jizyah جزیہ (the tax levied on non-Muslims living in a Muslim country, which exonerates them from military service, etc.) Since the Holy Qur’an uses the expression “from men” and not “from Muslims”, a third situation is also possible – the Jews may make political arrangements with other non-Muslims, live under their backing and protection, and thus be in ‘peace’.
There is another aspect to the question – we must look into the nature of the exception that has been made in the verse which we have just cited. Now, when an exception is added to a statement, the exception may fall into either of these two categories:
(1) What has been excepted formed, or still forms, a part of what it has been excepted from? For example, take this statement: “The tribe came except Zayd.” Zayd was and still is a member of the tribe, but he has been excepted from it in so far as the act of coming is concerned.
(2) What has been excepted did not form, or no longer forms, a part of what it has been excepted from. For example: “The tribe came except the donkey.” The donkey, of course, never formed a part of the tribe, and he has been excepted from the act of coming in so far as the act pertains to the tribe. If the exception made in the present verse is of the first kind, then the statement would mean that all the Jews always and everywhere live in disgrace with the exception of two situations – protection provided to women and children, etc. by the commandment of Allah Himself, or by a treaty of peace with the Muslims or with some non-Muslim nations. On the other hand, if the exception is of the second kind, the verse would mean that the Jews as a group would essentially and always remain in disgrace with the exception of some who may find protection under the commandment of Allah, or of some others who may receive support from other nations and thus disguise their own disgrace.
Thus, Verse 3:112 helps to elucidate Verse 2:61 and also dispels the doubt which sometimes arises in the minds of the Muslims at the sight of the so-called “Israeli state” imposed on Palestine. For, they find it difficult to reconcile the two things – the Holy Qur’an seems to indicate that the Jews will never have a sovereign state, while they have actually usurped Palestine and set up a state of their own. But if we go beyond the appearances, we can easily see that “Israel” is not an independent sovereign state, but only a stronghold of the Western powers which they have established in the midst of Muslim countries in order to protect their own interests; without the backing of these super-powers the Jewish “state” cannot survive for a month, and the Western powers themselves look upon the Israelis as their henchmen. The “Israeli state” has been living, as the Holy Qur’an says, “through a rope from men,” and, even at that, living as a parasite on the Western powers. So, there is no real occasion to have a misgiving about what the Holy Qur’an has said on the subject.
Moreover, half of Palestine which the Jews have usurped and the parasite state they have set up there is no more than a spot on the map of the world. As against this, we have vast expanses of the globe covered by Christian states, by Muslim states, and even by the states of people who do not believe in Allah at all. Can this tiny blot on the map and that too under the American-British umbrella, negate the disgrace which Allah has made to settle upon the Jews?
SOURCE: Maariful Quran, Vol 1, By Mufti Muhammad Shafi.