Success is Only Achieved by Performing Righteous Deeds, Not Wishful Thinking
Given here is a standard measure of determining as to who is superior and acceptable in the sight of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, a standard which, if observed carefully, would not let any human being fall into error or go astray.
لَّيْسَ بِأَمَـنِيِّكُمْ وَلا أَمَانِىِّ أَهْلِ الْكِتَـبِ مَن يَعْمَلْ سُوءًا يُجْزَ بِهِ وَلاَ يَجِدْ لَهُ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلِيّاً وَلاَ نَصِيراً
“Neither your desire nor the desire of the People of the Book (can prevail). Whoever does evil will be recompensed for it, and he will not find besides Allah any protector nor any helper.”
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala makes it clear reality is not based on your wishful thoughts whether it’s a Muslim or a non-Muslim. This ayah serves as a warning for the people who think they will be forgiven or will enter Jannah even if they continue sinning just because they are Muslims. Such people are deluded by false hopes. Whoever would do an evil deed will be compensated accordingly. The key is in obeying Allah and following what He has legislated through the words of His honorable Messengers.
This indicates that the religion is not accepted on account of wishful thinking or mere hopes. Rather, the accepted religion relies on what resides in the heart and which is made truthful through actions. It is not true that when one utters a claim to something, he attains it merely on account of his claim. It is not true that every person who claims to be on the truth is considered as such, merely on account of his words, until his claim gains merit with proof from Allah.
It was reported that when these ayaat were revealed, they became hard on many Companions. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Aishah radhiAllahu anha said, “I said, `O Messenger of Allah! I know the hardest ayah in the Qur’an.’ He said, `What is it, O Aishah!’ I said,
مَن يَعْمَلْ سُوءًا يُجْزَ بِهِ
هُوَ مَا يُصِيبُ الْعَبْدَالْمُؤْمِنَ، حَتَّى النَّكْبَةِ يُنْكَبُهَا
“That is what strikes the believing servant, even the problems that bother him.” Ibn Jarir and Abu Dawud also recorded this hadeeth.
وَلاَ يَجِدْ لَهُ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلِيّاً وَلاَ نَصِيراً
Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said; “Unless he repents and Allah forgives him.” Ibn Abi Hatim recorded it.