They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allâh (by obeying them in things which they made lawful or unlawful according to their own desires without being ordered by Allâh), and (they also took as their Lord) Messiah, son of Maryam (Mary), while they (Jews and Christians) were commanded [in the Taurât (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)) to worship none but One Ilâh (God - Allâh) Lâ ilâha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He). Praise and glory be to Him, (far above is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him)."(At-Tawbah 9:31)
From Tafsir Ibn Katheer:
(They took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah, and the Messiah, son of Maryam) (9:31).
Imam Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Jarir At-Tabari recorded a Hadith via several chains of narration, from `Adi bin Hatim, may Allah be pleased with him, who became Christian during the time of Jahiliyyah. When the call of the Messenger of Allah reached his area, `Adi ran away to Ash-Sham, and his sister and several of his people were captured. The Messenger of Allah freed his sister and gave her gifts. So she went to her brother and encouraged him to become Muslim and to go to the Messenger of Allah . `Adi, who was one of the chiefs of his people (the tribe of Tai') and whose father, Hatim At-Ta'i, was known for his generosity, went to Al-Madinah. When the people announced his arrival, `Adi went to the Messenger of Allah wearing a silver cross around his neck. The Messenger of Allah recited this Ayah; (They took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah).
Adi commented, "I said, `They did not worship them.'''
The Prophet said, (Yes they did. They (rabbis and monks) prohibited the allowed for them (Christians and Jews) and allowed the prohibited, and they obeyed them. This is how they worshipped them.)
Lessons on Tawhid - Approximately 50 Classes - from Dar-ul-Hadith, Dammaj, Yemen These were lessons conducted on the book 'al-Qawl-ul- Mufeed Fee Adillatit-Tawhid' [Beneficial Speech in Establishing the Evidences of Tawhid] written by one of the major scholars of the Sunnah in Yemen, Shaikh Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab al-Wasabi (may Allah preserve him).
This Surah is the Surah of disavowal from the deeds of the idolators. It commands a complete disavowal of that. Allah’s statement, (Say: “O disbelievers!”) includes every disbeliever on the face of the earth, however, this statement is particularly directed towards the disbelievers of the Quraysh. It has been said that in their ignorance they invited the Messenger of Allah to worship their idols for a year and they would (in turn) worship his God for a year. Therefore, Allah revealed this Surah.
Source : Tafsir Ibn Kathir
Reciting Sooratul-Kaafiroon When Going To Bed
Imaam Aboo Daawood -rahimahullaah- reported in his “Sunan‟[The Book of Manners: Chapter (107) What should be said at the time of sleep] (no. 5055):
“an-Nufaylee narrated to us: Zuhayr narrated to us: Aboo Ishaaq narrated to us: from Farwah ibn Nawfal: from his father: that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said << Read Soorah Kaafiroon then sleep upon its conclusion, because it is a declaration of freedom from shirk >>.”
- Declared “Saheeh” by Shaikh al-Albaanee.
- Also reported by Imaam at-Tirmidhee (no.3403).
We should (truly) be afraid of the reality of shirk since Ibraaheem (`alayhis-salaam) was the Imaam of the monotheists, and he demolished the idols with his hands, yet still feared falling into shirk. If the Imaam of the monotheists, Ibraheem (`alayhis-salaam), feared shirk for his own being, should we not, as average every-day monotheists, be moreso afraid for ours?
»وَاجْنُبْنِي وَبَنِيَّ أَن نَّعْبُدَ الْأَصْنَامَ« «Keep me and my sons away from worshiping idols.»
[Soorah Ibraaheem (4):35]
Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaahu ta`aala) commented: WHO can be safe from trials after that? [Collected by Ibn Abee Haatim in his Tafseer]