Say not Ra’ina
(Surah Al-Baqarah 2: 104)
Manners in Speech
Allah forbade His believing servants from imitating the behavior and deeds of the disbelievers. The Jews used to use devious words that hide what they really meant. May Allah's curse be upon them. When they wanted to say, `hear us,' they would use the word Ra'ina, which is an insult (in Hebrew, but means `hear us' in Arabic). Allah said, Among those who are Jews, there are some who displace words from (their) right places and say: "We hear your word (O Muhammad ) and disobey,'' and "Hear and let you (O Muhammad ) hear nothing.'' And Ra`ina with a twist of their tongues and as a mockery of the religion (Islam). And if only they had said: "We hear and obey,'' and "Do make us understand,'' it would have been better for them, and more proper; but Allah cursed them for their disbelief, so they believe not except a few. (Surah An-Nisa' 4:46).
Also, the Hadiths stated that when they would greet Muslims, they would say, `As-Samu `alaykum,' meaning, `death be to you'. This is why we were commanded to answer them by saying, `Wa `alaykum,' meaning, `and to you too', then our supplication against them shall be answered, rather than theirs against us.
Allah forbade the believers from imitating the disbelievers in tongue or deed. Allah said, O you who believe! Say not (to the Messenger ) Ra`ina but say Unzurna (make us understand) and hear. And for the disbelievers there is a painful torment.
Also, Imam Ahmad narrated that Ibn `Umar (Radhi Allahu Anhu) said that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said, I was sent with the sword just before the Last Hour, so that Allah is worshipped alone without partners. My sustenance was provided for me from under the shadow of my spear. Those who oppose my command were humiliated and made inferior, and whoever imitates a people, he is one of them.
Abu Dawud narrated that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said, Whoever imitates a people is one of them.
These Hadiths indicate, along with their threats and warnings, that we are not allowed to imitate the disbelievers in their statements, deeds, clothes, feasts, acts of worship, etc., whatever actions of the disbelievers that were not legislated for us.
Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn ‘Abbas (Radhi Allahu Anhu) commented on the Ayah, Say not (to the Messenger ) Ra`ina
"They used to say to the Prophet , Ar`ina samak (which is an insult).'' Ibn Abu Hatim said that it was reported that Abu Al-`Aliyah, Abu Malik, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, `Atiyah Al-`Awfi and Qatadah said similarly. Further, Mujahid said, "`Do not say Ra’ina' means, `Do not dispute'.'' Mujahid said in another narration, "Do not say, `We hear from you, and you hear from us.''' Also, `Ata' said, "Do not say, Ra`ina,
which was a dialect that the Ansar used and which was forbidden from use by Allah.''
Also, As-Suddi said, "Rifa`ah bin Zayd, a Jewish man from the tribe of Qaynuqa’, used to come to the Prophet and say to him, `Hear, Ghayr Musma'in (let you hear nothing).' The Muslims used to think that the Prophets are greeted and honored with this type of speech, and this is why some of them used to say, `Hear, let you hear nothing,' and so on, as mentioned in Surah An-Nisa.'' Thereafter, Allah forbade the believers from uttering the word Ra’ina.'' `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam also said similarly.Source: Tafsir ibn Kathir (Abridged)