(O ye who believe! Lo! many of the (Jewish) rabbis and the (Christian) monks devour the wealth of mankind wantonly) [9:34].
This was revealed about the scholars and doctors of the people of the Book. They used to accept bribes from the communality of people; these are the gains they used to obtain from the common people.
(They who hoard up gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah…) [9:34].
Abu Ishaq al-Muqri’ informed us> ‘Abd Allah ibn Hamid> Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim> Muhammad ibn Nusayr> ‘Amr ibn Zurarah> Hushaym> Husayn> Zayd ibn Wahb who said: “I passed by al-Rabadhah where I came across Abu Dharr. I asked him: ‘What brought you here?’ He said: ‘I was in Syria and I had a disagreement with Mu‘awiyah regarding the verse (They who hoard up gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah…). Mu‘awiyah was of the opinion that it was revealed about the people of the Book, while I said to him that it was revealed about them as well as about us. We had an altercation after which he wrote to ‘Uthman to complain about me. ‘Uthman wrote to me asking me to go to Medina. When I went to Medina, a lot of people came to see me, as if they had never seen me before. I mentioned this to ‘Uthman and he said: ‘If you wish you can move somewhere else and stay close’. This is what has brought me to this place. Had they appointed an Abyssinian slave as my leader, I would have heard and obeyed him’ ”. This was narrated by Bukhari from Qutaybah from Jarir from Husayn; he also narrated it from ‘Ali from Hushaym.
The Commentators of the Qur’an also disagree about the occasion of this verse. Some are of the opinion that it was specifically revealed about the people of the Book. Al-Suddi thought it was revealed about the people of the Qiblah while al-Dahhak was of the opinion that it was about both the people of the Book and the Muslims. ‘Ata’ also reported that Ibn ‘Abbas said regarding the words of Allah (They who hoard up gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah…): “He means of the believers”.
Abu’l-Hasan Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Najjar informed us> Sulayman ibn Ayyub al-Tabarani> Muhammad ibn Dawud ibn Sadaqah> ‘Abd Allah ibn Mu‘afa> Sharik> Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Muradi> ‘Amr ibn Murrah> Salim ibn Abi al-Ja‘d> Thawban who said: “When the verse (They who hoard up gold and silver…) was revealed, the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: ‘May gold and silver perish!’ He was asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah, which of the riches should we hoard?’ He said: ‘A heart which is grateful, a tongue which remembers Allah and a righteous wife’ ”.
Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi , trans. Mokrane Guezzou