(78) وَمِنْهُمْ أُمِّيُّونَ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ الْكِتَابَ إِلاَّ أَمَانِيَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلاَّ يَظُنُّونَ
(79) فَوَيْلٌ لِّلَّذِينَ يَكْتُبُونَ الْكِتَابَ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ ثُمَّ يَقُولُونَ هَذَا مِنْ عِندِ اللّهِ لِيَشْتَرُواْ بِهِ ثَمَناً قَلِيلاً فَوَيْلٌ لَّهُم مِّمَّا كَتَبَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَوَيْلٌ لَّهُمْ مِّمَّا يَكْسِبُونَ
78. " And there are among them illiterates, who know not the Book, but only fancies and mere conjectures. "
79. " So, woe to those who write the Book with their hands and then say: ' This is from Allah,' so that they may sell it for a little price, so, woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn."
Occasion of Revelation :
A group of the learned men of the Jews altered the epithets of the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) mentioned in the Turah. This perversion was contrived to protect their social positions and benefits which they used to obtain from their common people over the years.
When the Prophet of Islam (p.b.u.h.) announced his mission and they recognized his epithets coincided with what was mentioned in the Turah, they were afraid that their profits would be endangered if the fact became evident. Therefore, they wrote some epithets completely different from what was actually cited in the Turah.
The ordinary Jews, who had heard the true epithets of the Prophet of Islam (p.b.u.h.) , more or less, asked their scholars frequently whether this Prophet was the same promised prophet whose advent they had given them glad tidings of. Then the Jewish savants and scholars decided to recite some perverted verses from the Turah to them in order to make them content thereby.
The Jewish Learned Men's Plots of Oppression Against the Laymen
Following the previous description about the vicious deeds of the Jews, these verses divide them into two definite groups : the laymen and the deceitful learned men. A few of the Jewish scholars, of course, accepted the truth and believed in Islam and joined the community of Muslims. It says :
" And there are among them illiterates, who know not the Book, but only fancies and mere conjectures."
The phrase /ummiyun/ ' the illiterates ' is the plural form of the term /ummi/ which, here, means an illiterate person who remains the same in his native endowments as he was when he was born without any external education or training from anyone whosoever; and this state is ordinarily known as illiteracy. Or, this case also occurs because some mothers, because of their naive motherly love for their children, ignorantly do not let their children separate from them and go to schools to study.
The term /'amaniyy/ is the plural form of /'amniyyah/ ' conjecture' , and, here, it may refer to the privileges, vain desires, wishful thinking and mere conjectures of the Jews that they considered for themselves.
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The second group was the Jewish priests and savants who often altered the facts for their own benefit, as the Qur'an says :
" So, woe to those who write the Book with their hands and then say: ' This is from Allah; ', ..."
"... so that they may sell it for a little price,..."
"... so, woe to them for what their hands have written..."
"... and woe to them for what they earn."
From the last meanings of the verse, it is well understood that they had used impious means and had come up with an incorrect conclusion.