(the Jews) the greediest of mankind for life!

﴿ قُلْ إِنْ كَانَتْ لَكُمُ الدَّارُ الْآخِرَةُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ خَالِصَةً مِنْ دُونِ النَّاسِ فَتَمَنَّوُا الْمَوْتَ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ * وَلَنْ يَتَمَنَّوْهُ أَبَدًا بِمَا قَدَّمَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِالظَّالِمِينَ * وَلَتَجِدَنَّهُمْ أَحْرَصَ النَّاسِ عَلَى حَيَاةٍ وَمِنَ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا يَوَدُّ أَحَدُهُمْ لَوْ يُعَمَّرُ أَلْفَ سَنَةٍ وَمَا هُوَ بِمُزَحْزِحِهِ مِنَ الْعَذَابِ أَنْ يُعَمَّرَ وَاللَّهُ بَصِيرٌ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ ﴾ [البقرة: 94 – 96].
Allah (may He be Exalted) says: “Say to (them): “If the home of the Hereafter with Allâh is indeed for you specially and not for others, of mankind, then long for death if you are truthful.” * But they will never long for it because of what their hands have sent before them (i.e. what they have done). And Allâh is All-Knower of the Zâlimûn (polytheists and wrong-doers). * And verily, you will find them (the Jews) the greediest of mankind for life and (even greedier) than those who ascribe partners to Allâh (and do not believe in Resurrection – Majûs (magus), pagans, and idolaters). Everyone of them wishes that he could be given a life of a thousand years. But the grant of such life will not save him even a little from (due) punishment. And Allâh is All-Seer of what they do.” [Surat Al Baqarah: 94 – 96].

أي: “إن كنتم تعتقِدون أنَّكم أولياء لله من دون النَّاس، وأنَّكم أبناء الله وأحبَّاؤه، وأنَّكم من أهل الجنَّة ومَن عداكُم من أهل النَّار، فباهِلوا على ذلك وادَّعوا على الكاذبين منكم أو مِن غيركم، واعلموا أنَّ المباهلة تستأْصِل الكاذب لا مَحالة، فلمَّا تيقَّنوا ذلك وعرفوا صِدْقَه، نكلوا عن المباهلة؛ لِما يعْلمون من كذِبِهم وافتِرائهم وكتْمانهم الحقَّ من صفة الرَّسول – صلَّى الله عليْه وسلَّم – ونعْتِه كما يعرفون أبناءَهم، وسمِّيت هذه المباهلة تمنِّيًا؛ لأنَّ كلَّ محقٍّ يودُّ لو أهلك الله المبطل المناظر له، وكانت المباهلة بالموْت؛ لأنَّ الحياة عندهم عزيزة عظيمة؛ لما يعلمون من سوء مآلِهم بعد الموت، وهم أحْرَص منَ المشركين الَّذين لا كتاب لهم – عليهم لعائن الله المتتابعة إلى يوم القيامة”
“تفسير ابن كثير”: (1 /497) بتصرُّف.
The meaning of the Ayahs is: If you deem that you are Awliya’ (pious people) for Allah unlike the people and you are the children and beloved ones of Allah, or you are one of the dwellers of Paradise and others are from the inmates of Hell, so invoke Allah against the liars.
Moreover, you have to know that invoking Allah against the liars eradicates them.
When they were sure of that and knew his truthfulness, they refused to invoke Allah against the lairs because they knew their lie, falsity, and concealment of the truth about the Prophet’s صلى الله عليه وسلم descriptions because they knew him as they knew their children.
It was called Al Mubahalah because the one who has the right wishes that Allah would destroy his rivals.
The top of Al Mubahalah was death, therefore it was mentioned in the Qur’an as the ultimate goal because life is very precious to them as they know their bad end; moreover they are more keen than the polytheists for life; may Allah curse them consecutively until the Day of Recompense. [ Tafsir Ibn Kathir, (1/497) with paraphrasing.]

قال ابن عبَّاس – رضي الله عنْهما -: “لو تمنَّوُا الموت لشرِق أحدُهم بريقه”،
وقال أيضًا: “لو تمنَّى اليهود الموت لماتوا”
“تفسير ابن كثير” (1 /494)، وقال: هذه أسانيد صحيحة إلى ابن عباس.
Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “If they had wished death, they would have died even by their saliva.” He also said: “If the Jews had wished death, they would have died.” [ Tafsir Ibn Kathir, (1/494) He said: These are authentic chains of narrations reported from Ibn `Abbas.]

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