The Qur’an was not intended to discredit past holy scriptures but to confirm them yet warn some have been changed by corrupt men, so this time Allah said that his word will be protected and unchanged (referring to the Qur’an).
Allah took the promise and covenant from every prophet that if Muhammad pbuh was sent during their lifetime, they would believe in him and abandon their own laws in order to follow his laws. Hence, we learn that he was known to each of the earlier prophets
Allah tells us that Muhammad pbuh and his nation are to be found in previous divinely-revealed scriptures (26:192-197), and that the previous prophets gave glad tidings of his coming (3:81). The news came to the Children of Israel via Moses pbuh in the Torah (7:157) and Jesus pbuh in the Injeel (Gospel) (61:6).
And indeed, it is [mentioned] in the scriptures of former peoples. And has it not been a sign to them that it is recognized by the scholars of the Children of Israel? (26:194-197)
Allah sent Messengers and Prophets after Moses pbuh but the Jews defiantly rejected prophets:
Then we sent Our messengers in succession. Every time there came to a nation its messenger, they denied him… (23:44)
And [mention] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, “O children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad*.” But when he came to them with clear evidences, they said, “This is obvious magic. (61:6)
*Prophet Muhammad’s prophetic Name, ‘Ahmed’ was found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and it was mentioned precisely in the Qur’an for the Prophet to be foretold by this very name.
Allah promised each of his prophets that a last prophet would come with a great final law (i.e., the Qur’an). In some scriptures (e.g., the Torah), this is referred to as ‘the promise’. That promise refers to Islam.
Despite the precise Torah description of its prophet, the Jews had rejected Muhammad as a Prophet and the Qur’an as the word of Allah. The righteous Jews (who accept the Qur’an) are an exception to this (3:113-115).
And when they meet those who believe, they say, “We have believed”; but when they are alone with one another, they say, “Do you talk to them about what Allah has revealed to you so they can argue with you about it before your Lord?” Then will you not reason”? (2:76)
The context here refers to the Children of Israel who conspire to reject Islam despite precise Torah description of its prophet.
So the Qur’an then explains that their hearts turned into stone and will never believe in the Qur’an:
Then your hearts became hardened after that, being like stones or even harder. For indeed, there are stones from which rivers burst forth, and there are some of them that split open and water comes out, and there are some of them that fall down for fear of Allah. And Allah is not unaware of what you do. (2:74)
Do you covet [the hope, O believers], that they would believe for you while a party of them used to hear the words of Allah and then distort the Torah after they had understood it while they were knowing? (2:75)
The Context here refers to the Jewish Rabbis at that time who had recognised Muhammad as a true prophet, as they would their own sons, however, their desire for worldly gains caused them to reject him as they did not want to lose their position of power if their followers believed in him so they changed the description of Muhammad pbuh in the Torah so the Jews would not believe in him.
The reasons causing the Jews to reject Islam and the Prophet pbuh are clearly mentioned:
But Is it [not] that every time a messenger came to you, [O Children of Israel], with what your souls did not desire, you were arrogant? And a party [of messengers] you denied and another party you killed. (2:87)
The first point that caused the Jews to turn away from Islam was their desire for worldly things. The Qur’an declares they are deceived by their own self-invented beliefs: That is because they say, “Never will the Fire touch us except for [a few] numbered days.” (3:24-25)
This stems from their false and deluded belief that they are the chosen people of God to the exclusion of the rest of mankind, which I explained in detail, here. The Jews believe that they are exalted specially by God, out of arrogance.
They would reject anything not in accordance to their desires. They were the only saved people from the hellfire, which was forbidden to touch them, so they did not care about it.
Their disobedience had caused them to be so far removed from God that their hearts were no longer capable of accepting divine truths. Little faith indeed was left in them, and out of their pride would say: “…Our hearts are wrapped (i.e., therefore no words can have any effect)” But, [in fact], Allah has cursed them for their disbelief, so little is it that they believe.” (2:88)
Another reason for their rejection was because they were angry and jealous that Allah chose an Arab to be the recipient of the last revelation. They desired that the promised Prophet would come from their nation.
If they recognised him as a true Prophet, it would force them to accept that they had corrupted the Torah. Secondly, their assumption of superiority no longer had any scriptural validity:
How wretched is that for which they sold themselves – that they would disbelieve in what Allah has revealed through [their] outrage that Allah would send down His favor upon whom He wills from among His servants. So they returned having [earned] wrath upon wrath. And for the disbelievers is a humiliating punishment. (2:90)
Is there any doubt that the Jews recognised the truth in the Prophet’s claim? “….But [then] when there came to them that which they recognized (i.e., Muhammed) they disbelieved in it (i.e., the Qur’an), so the curse of Allah will be upon the disbelievers.” (2:89)
Indeed, the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam. And those who were given the Scripture did not differ except after knowledge had come to them – out of jealous animosity between themselves. And whoever disbelieves in the verses of Allah, then indeed, Allah is swift in [taking] account. (3:19)
And We have not sent you (I.e., Muhammad) except comprehensively to mankind as a bringer of good tidings and a warner. But most of the people do not know. (34:28)