The Sabbath-Breakers (Part-1)

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Allah the Almighty says:
{And ask them (O Muhammad (SM)) about the town that was by the sea; when they transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath (i.e. Saturday): when their fish came to them openly on the Sabbath day, and did not come to them on the day they had no Sabbath. Thus We made a trial of them, for they used to rebel against Allah's Command (disobey Allah). And when a community among them said: "Why do you preach to a people whom Allah is about to destroy or to punish with q severe torment?" (The preachers) said: "in order to be free from guilt before your Lord (Allah), and perhaps they may fear Allah. " So when they forgot the remindings that had been given to them, We rescued those who forbade evil, but We seized those who did wrong with a severe torment because they used to rebel against Allah's Command (disobey Allah). So when they exceeded the limits of what they were prohibited, We said to them: “Be you monkeys, despied and rejected} . (Al-A' rat, 163-166)

And, {And indeed you knew those amongst you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath (i.e. Saturday). We said to them: "Be you monkeys, despised and rejected." So We made this punishment an example to their own and to succeeding generations and a lesson to those who are Al-Muttaqun (the pious)}. (Al-Baqarah, 65, 66)

And, {Or curse them as We cursed the Sabbath breakers}. (An-Nisa', 47) 'Abdullah Ibn 'Abbas, Mujahid,' Ikrimah, Qatadah, As-Sadiy and others said: they were the people of Aylah. Ibn 'Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) added: it was located between Median and At- Tur. They said: the people of Aylah were adhering attentively to the teachings of the Torah and the prohibition of the Sabbath at that time (the prohibition of fishing on Saturdays). Amazingly, the fish used to expose itself openly on Saturdays and disappear on the other days of the week, {when their fish came to them openly on the Sabbath day, and did not come to them on the day they had no Sabbath}. Almighty Allah says {Thus We made a trial of them}, i.e. We test them through sending great numbers of fish on the Sabbath. {for they used to rebel against Allah's Command (disobey Allah)}, i.e. because of their disobedience and rebellion. When they saw this, they made a trick to catch the fish on the Sabbath. They fixed their fishing nets and ropes and excavated streams allowing the sea water to run through and the fish to get in but never go back to the sea. They made all this on Friday, in preparation for the coming of the fish on Saturday. And thus, the fish came on the supposedly-peaceful day (knowing not what has been prepared against them). They were caught in the nets, ropes and artificial streams. When the Saturday came to an end, the people of Aylah were present to take their fat catch. Consequently, Allah the Almighty was angry with them and He cursed them because of their trickery and deception. When this was done by a group thereof, the rest who did not participate in their sinful acting were divided into two sects: a sect that rejected their acting and trickery against the Law and Command of Allah the Almighty at that time. The second sect did not reject or forbid them, rather they disapproved of the reaction of the sect that forbade the sinful ones saying: {Why do you preach to a people whom Allah is about to destroy or to punish with a severe torment?}, i.e. what is the gain in preaching to a people whom will inevitably be punished by Allah the Almighty? But, the second sect (the preachers) replied saying: {In order to be free from guilt before your Lord (Allah)}, i.e. as we are commanded by Him to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil; thus, we observe this for our fear of His Torment. {And perhaps they may fear Allah} , i.e. perhaps those who made these sins may repent to Allah and regret what they have done and thus be saved from the punishment of Allah and that He forgives them all.

To read the next part of this story, click here.

By: Ibn Katheer Translated by Ali As-Sayed Al-Halawani

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