The Story of Two Israelites – Tafseer Ibn Katheer
Surah As-Saffaat – (50. Then they will turn to one another, mutually questioning.) (51. A speaker of them will say: “Verily, I had a companion (in the world),”) (52. “Who used to say: `Are you among those who believe.) (53. (That) when we die and become dust and bones, shall we indeed be indebted (Madinun)”’) (54. (The speaker) said: “Will you look down”) (55. So he looked down and saw him in the midst of the Fire.) (56. He said: “By Allah! You have nearly ruined me.”) (57. “Had it not been for the grace of my Lord, I would certainly have been among those brought forth (to Hell).”) (58. “Are we then not to die (any more)”) (59. “Except our first death, and we shall not be punished”) (60. Truly, this is the supreme success!) (61. For the like of this let the workers work.)
They mentioned the story of two men among the Children of Israel who were partners and who are included in the meaning of this Ayah.
Abu Ja`far bin Jarir recorded that Furat bin Tha`labah Al-Bahrani said concerning the Ayah,
(Verily, I had a companion) [ 37. As-Saffaat verse 51]
“There were two men who were partners and had collected eight thousand Dinars. One of them had a craft and the other did not. The one who had a craft said to the other, `You do not have a craft, so I think I will divide the money with you and leave you.’ So he left him.
Then the first man bought a house, belonging to a king who had died, for the price of one thousand Dinars. He called his companion and showed him the house, saying, `What do you think of this house I bought it for one thousand Dinars.’ He said, `How beautiful it is.’ When he went out he said, `O Allah, this companion of mine has bought this house for one thousand Dinars; I ask You for one of the houses of Paradise – and he gave one thousand Dinars in charity.’ Then as much time passed as Allah willed should pass.
The first man married a woman with a dowry of one thousand Dinars, and invited his companion and made food for him. When he came, he said, `I have married this woman with a dowry of one thousand Dinars.’ He replied; `How beautiful this is.’ And when he left, he said, `O Lord, my companion has married a woman with a dowry of one thousand Dinars; I ask you for a wife from among Al-Hur Al-`Iyn’ — and he gave one thousand Dinars in charity. Then as much time passed as Allah willed should pass.
Then the first man bought two gardens for two thousand Dinars, then he called his companion and showed them to him. He said, `I have bought these two gardens for two thousand Dinars.’ He replied, `How beautiful this is.’ When he came out, he said, `O Lord, my companion has bought two gardens for two thousand Dinars; I ask you for two gardens in Paradise’ — and he gave two thousand Dinars in charity.
Then the angel came to them and took their souls in death. He took the one who had given his money in charity and put him in a house that he liked. There, there was a woman who was so beautiful that the ground shinned under her, then he (the angel) took him to two gardens and gave him other things which are known only to Allah. The man said, `This is like a man who has such and such.’ The angel said, `That is exactly what it is; this house, these gardens and this wife are all for you.’ The man said, `I had a companion who used to say: Are you among those who believe’ It was said to him, `He is in Hell.’ He said, `Will you look down’ So he looked down and saw him in the midst of Hell. At this, he said:
(By Allah! You have nearly ruined me. Had it not been for the grace of my Lord, I would certainly have been among those brought forth (to Hell).)”
Source :Tafseer Ibn Katheer