Let us get some guidance from the following three verses from Surah aal-Imran (23,24,25):
Have you not seen those who were given a portion of the Scriptures? Yet when they are invited to the Book of Allah to settle their disputes, some of them turn away heedlessly. This is because they say, “The Fire will not touch us except for a few days.” They have been deceived in their faith by their wishful lying. But how ˹horrible˺ will it be when We gather them together on the Day about which there is no doubt—when every soul will be paid in full for what it has done, and none will be wronged!
First let us talk about those who are given only portion of the scriptures.
The scriptures have contents that are needed to be taken in full and with firmness. They are not to be taken lightly or partially. Allah says in three locations in the Quran (2:63, 2:93, 7:171)
Hold firmly to that ˹Scripture˺ which We have given you.
In another place (86:13-14) Allah described the Quran as:
“Surely this ˹Quran˺ is a decisive word, and is not to be taken lightly.”.
The problem is when we as Muslims follow the footsteps of the previous nations and take this Quran lightly or take only portion of the scripture. We accept some verses because they align with our desires and yet shy away from other verses and try to hide them. We like verses that has soft tones and hate verses that implicates sacrifice and hardship. We want the honey but do not want to be stung by bees!
Allah says in Surah al-Hijr verse 91:
˹a warning˺ similar to what We sent to those who divided ˹the Scriptures˺, who ˹now˺ accept parts of the Quran, rejecting others.
And because those who have shallow knowledge of the Quran, and who do not take the Quran fully and took it only partially will have little exposure to the Quran. And because they have little exposure of the Quran, they will reach partial solution and will not have skills to link up all verses of the Quran. For that reason, their treatment of a matter will very likely be incomplete and wrong.
Once the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him entered the school where Jews used to study Torah in Medina and they asked the Prophet about his religion. Prophet Muhammad replied that he follows the religion of Prophet Ibrahim. They objected saying Ibrahim was a Jew. Prophet Muhammad challenged them to bring Torah as a judge in this disputed matter. They refused to do that.
Today we may find Muslims passing judgements in the name of the Quran. For example, they might say Quran calls for full gender equality, or they might say Quran promotes democracy, or that Quran calls for universal brotherhood between the three Abrahamic faiths, and so and so forth. They might bring shallow evidence from the Quran. However, when you ask them to sit down and have serious research from the Quran they will turn back. It is so because they only have a portion of the Quran. They only took the Quran partially, and they never wanted to hold the Quran firmly. They have predetermined certain opinions taken from Eastern or Western ideologies and then they attempted to excerpt few verses from the Quran in support of those opinions. The lead is human ideologies and they brought Quran only as a supportive material.
The compounded crime of such people is that they felt secure from the punishment of Allah despite their taking the Quran lightly. The hypocrites combine between sin and feeling secure from Allah’s punishment. The believers do righteous deed, yet they remain afraid that Allah might not accept these deeds, and hence ask Allah earnestly to accept their deeds.
The Jews with their crimes claim that even if they are thrown into Hellfire, they will stay there only for 40 days – which are equivalent to the 40 days which they spend worshipping the calf. They think they are special chosen people, and they are Allah’s son, so Allah will not punish them except for few days. Islam teaches us that Allah has no special consideration because of skin color or race. His special consideration is only through Taqwa, righteousness and piety.
To the many crimes they added yet another crime of passing judgement on behalf of Allah on unseen matters that Allah knows only. How would they know that they will not enter hell fire? And even if they do enter it will be only for 7 days or 40 days!
Allah has mentions degrees of crimes and went from lighter crime to greater in a list of 4 items as follows (7:33):
Say, “My Lord has only forbidden: 1) immoralities - what is apparent of them and what is concealed - and 2) sin,1 and oppression without right, 3) and that you associate with Allah that for which He has not sent down authority, 4) and that you say about Allah that which you do not know.”
The worst of crimes – even worse than Shirk (associating deity with Allah) – is to pass opinions about Allah without knowledge.
For such people who took His words lightly, Allah has prepared special punishment. Allah will treat them with the opposite of what they have expected. They expected a treatment of a forgiving dad to his naughty son. What they got is a wrath from Allah and a justice.