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Mutation of Israelites
God did say: And ye know of those of you who broke the Sabbath, how We said unto them: Be ye apes, despised and hated! And We made it an example to their own and to succeeding generations, and an admonition to the Allah-fearing (Al-Baqarah:65-66), and also: Ask them (O Muhammad) of the township that was by the sea...etc(Al-A`râf: 163). In one narration they were three groups: one did the forbidden deeds, and one denied this, and one that did not deny and did not do the forbidden, so God saved those who denied this attitude, and made those who did not deny it as a dust, and mutated the group that used to do the foribdden deeds and made them as apes. The narrator of this narration, and he is `Ali ben Tâwoos: the mutation of the group that did not deny into dust or grains might be because that they made the greatness of God so small and made it such an easy thing to come over God's laws, so God made them small and turned them into grains.
As attributed to `Ali ben Al-Husain (PUH) about God's saying: And ye know of those of you who broke the Sabbath...etc, that they were living by the sea and God with the prophets forbade them to hunt fishes in Sabbath so they made a tricky way to allow what had been illegal for them, so they made ditches and made a way leading to a basin that whales can enter but cannot leave it, so the whales came on the Sabbath and feeling safe and then fell into the basin, and when it was night time and desired to leave they couldn't and remained there, so they can pick them from there without hunting and easily on the next day and so they say "we did not hunt on Sabbath" and they did so until their fortunes increased.
In brief, what they did and what they ended up with as been told in the narration of Al-Sajjâd (`Ali ben Al-Husain) (PUH) is that they were in a town of a population of nearly eighty thousand, and those who did the forbidden deeds counted as much as seventy thousand, and the rest are those who denied such deeds, and those who denied such deeds did leave the rest to another village, and God then mutated those who did the wrong deeds into apes, and after mutation the others did visit them to check their conditions after such rebel and bad deeds and they found them turned into apes, and the comers used to identify each ape of them and say for any of them: your are so and so, and the ape would shake his head for agreement with a tear in his eyes for his sorrow and regret for what he did and for what happened to him, and they remained like this for three days, and God then sent down on them the rains and storms that swept them to the sea and whoever remained was mutated again as well, this is as it is mentioned in the Tales of Prophets for Al-Jazâ'iri. Then said Al-Sajjâd (PUH): and those you see now with the same shape are similar creatures but they are not the same as those before and they are not from their descendants, and then he (PUH) said: God mutated those for hunting fishes in ways God did not allow so how is it then with those who killed the children of the prophet of God and broke their veils? even though God did not mutate them in this life but He prepared for them what is counted as multiplies of the torture of mutation, and then he (PUH) said: those who broke the Sabbath if only they asked God by the rights of Muhammad and his Household (PUT) to prevent them from doing such bad deeds, He would answer them, but God did not inspire them to do so for their rebellious nature and so He did not guide them to the way of their happiness.
In a narration told about the interpretation of God's saying: Those of the Children of Israel who went astray were cursed by the tongue of David, and of Jesus, son of Mary..etc(Al-Mâ'idah:78), and the most famous thing is that apes are mentioned by the tongue of David and the pigs by the tongue of Jesus, and Al-Baydhâwi [seems a scholar name] said: it is mentioned that when the people of Obbalah - and it is a village - when they broke the Sabbath, God damned them by the tongue of David and were mutated to apes and pigs, and the people of the table when they disbelieved in Jesus he prayed against them and damned them and they were mutated into pigs and they were counted as much as five thousand men. Al-Sayid Al-Jazâ'iri said: Obbalah is a location near by Basra, and in God's saying: Ask them (O Muhammad) of the township that was by the sea(Al-A`râf:163), and as mentioned in the interpretation of `Ali ben Ibrâhim: it was a township that belonged to the Israelites and was by the sea, and in low and high tides the sea used to go into their rivers and farms and the fishes used to out of the sea and reach the end of their farms, and God prohibited them to hunt on Sabbath so they get to prepare the nets on the night before Sabbath and hunt on sunday while the fishes used to go out on Sabbath and sunday, so their scholars prohibited them to do so but they didn't stop so they were mutated into apes and pigs, and the reason for prohibitition of hunting on Sabbath was that that all believers and faithful ones and others had their holiday on friday but the jews denied that and made it on Sabbath (saturday) and said: our holiday is on Sabbath so God prohibited hunting for them on Sabbath, and we've pointed out that they were divided into three main groups, one group was advising against the wrong doing, and another group did not advise nor do the bad deeds and they said to the ones advising: Why preach ye to a folk whom Allah is about to destroy or punish with an awful doom(Al-A`râf:164) and the answer was: In order to be free from guilt before your Lord, and that haply they may ward off (evil)(Al-A`râf:164), and then the first group said: by God we shall not sit with you and do not live with you in this town that you made sins in starting from this night for we fear that adversities would be revealed upon you and us, so it is mentioned that they left the town and settled down near by and slept under the sky, and when it was the morning time they went to check the sinners so they reached the gate of the town and it was closed, and they knocked on it but none did answer and they did not hear any sounds or movements, but they heard sounds like moaning that doesn't sound like human voices, so then they put a ladder on the town's wall and made a man to climb over, so when he went on top and looked on it he found out that most of the people turned into apes, so they broke the door and got inside and they said to them: hadn't we forbid you!. Whoever wants to check the story can check the long stories mentioned about them in this matter, and God is the Bringer of success.