لَقَدْ سَمِعَ اللَّهُ قَوْلَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ فَقِيرٌ وَنَحْنُ أَغْنِيَاءُ ۘ سَنَكْتُبُ مَا قَالُوا وَقَتْلَهُمُ الْأَنبِيَاءَ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ وَنَقُولُ ذُوقُوا عَذَابَ الْحَرِيقِ ﴿١٨١﴾ ذَٰلِكَ بِمَا قَدَّمَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ لَيْسَ بِظَلَّامٍ لِّلْعَبِيدِ ﴿١٨٢﴾
Allah has surely heard the words of those who said, ‘Allah is poor and we are rich.’ We shall write down what they said and the killing of the Ambiyaa unjustly; and We shall say, ‘Taste the punishment of the flaming fire.’ (They will also be told,) ‘This (punishment) is due to that (sins) which your (own) hands have sent ahead and that Allah does not oppress the servants (rather, the punishment is because of your own sins).’” (Surah Aal ‘Imraan v181-182)
When Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) presented the verses of zakaat and sadaqah, the Jews began to say that Allah Ta‘ala has become poor and needy while they were rich. Otherwise, why would He ask them to give wealth?
They obviously did not really believe in this absurd statement of theirs. They merely said it as a so called proof that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was false in what he says (Allah Ta‘ala forbid). What they meant was that if the Quraan Majeed is true, then it will necessarily mean that (Allah Ta‘ala forbid) Allah Ta‘ala is poor.
This absurd argument of theirs was not worth responding to, because the injunction of Allah Ta‘ala was not for His benefit; rather, it was for the benefit of the owners of wealth themselves in this world and the Hereafter. Anyone who believes in Allah Ta‘ala as the Creator and Master of everything would never stoop to entertain the doubt that Allah Ta‘ala is in need of our wealth. For this reason, the Quraan Majeed refrained from even answering this doubt. Rather, it sufficed on saying that they shall be apprehended and punished for this audacity of theirs; for falsifying Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and making fun of him.
Allah Ta‘ala then says that their statements will be recorded as evidence against them on the Day of Qiyaamah and they will be punished for what they did.
Along with this crime of theirs, Allah Ta‘ala mentions another heinous offence of theirs as well. They not only falsified and mocked the Ambiyaa (‘alaihimus salaam) who were sent to them, but stooped so low that they even killed some of them.
A noteworthy point is that Allah Ta‘ala is addressing the Jews in the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) whereas they had not participated in the killing of the Ambiyaa (‘alaihimus salaam). However, since the Jews of Madeenah Munawwarah were quite satisfied with what their predecessors had committed, therefore, they too were counted as being part of them. This is further supported by the hadeeth wherein Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) mentioned, “When a sin is committed on earth, the one who happened to be present at that place but disgusted the wrong is counted as one who was not present, and the one who did not witness it but was pleased with that act is regarded as one who participated in the sin.” (Sunan Abi Dawood #4345)
In the latter portion of the first verse and in the second verse, Allah Ta‘ala explains the punishment that will be meted out to these people by saying that they shall be consigned to Jahannam. This will be as a result of their own actions and is certainly no injustice from Allah Ta‘ala.
(Extracted from Ma‘aariful Quraan vol. 2, pg. 253)