In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayah 19
The word Deen [دِّين] in the Arabic language means “the way [or tareeqa].” For example in Surah Ash-Shuraa ayah 13, it appears, “He has ordained for you of religion what He enjoined Nuh [Noah] and that which We have revealed to you [O Muhammad]…” (42: 13)
We learn that the Deen of all the prophets was one. They all believed in the Oneness of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, His Angels, His Messengers, the Day of Retribution and so on. It was the same message that they passed on to their people.
The word Islam means to submit oneself to Allah and be obedient to His commands. Given this meaning, those who believed in the prophets and messengers of their time and were obedient to the commands of Allah they brought to them were all entitled to be called Muslims, and their religion was Islam. Nuh [Noah] ‘alayhi salaam said, “I have been commanded to be of the Muslims,” [Yunus 10: 72] and Ibraheem [Abraham] ‘alayhi salaam described himself and his community as Muslims when he said, “Our Lord! Make us Muslims [in submission] to You and from our descendants a Muslim nation [in submission] to You.” [Al-Baqarah 2: 128]. It was this reason that the disciples of ‘Eesa [Jesus] ‘alayhi salaam said, “We have believed in Allah and testify that we are Muslims [submitting to Him],” [Aal-Imran 3: 52].
In the ayah Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala tells us that no religion is accepted from any person except Islam. It includes believing in all of the messengers until Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Whoever believes in and follows the path of Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam then his religion is accepted; whoever denies him or chooses a different path, then his religion will not be accepted. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says in ayah 85 of Surah Aal-Imran, “And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him,” (3: 85). All the other religions are either not divine such as Buddhism and Hinduism or they were once divine but have now been altered such as Christianity and Judaism.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala states that those who were given the Scripture beforehand divided in the religion after He sent the Messengers and revealed the Books to them providing them the necessary proofs to not do so. “And those who were given the Scripture did not differ except after knowledge had come to them – out of jealous animosity between themselves,” meaning they did not differ except after witnessing the truth. Both the Jews and the Christians were informed through their Scriptures about the Last Messenger named Muhammad and Ahmad. Those who met him knew that his description matched the narrative present in their Books but they denied believing in him. Why? It was because of their mutual jealousy. Had they believed in him then their position and power would have been lost. Some of them wronged others. Therefore, they differed over the truth, out of envy, hatred, and enmity for each other. This hatred made some of them defy those whom they hated even if they were correct.
-We learn that while people of knowledge are praised they are not free from Fitnah [trials]. The more a person gains knowledge he becomes stringent and rude. He labels everyone besides himself misguided and whoever does not follow his footsteps or trust his Shaikh is lost.
Why do people do this? Differences and disputes emerge when each group only considers themselves to be the “only” guided one. It should be remembered that the Companions radhiAllahu ‘anhum too would have disagreements but they never abused or declared one another to be Kafir. For a student of knowledge, it is important that they consider this a favor of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and remain humble in their pursuit. It does not befit a knowledgeable person to speak or act like an illiterate. If we are unable to understand something we should ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to open up our hearts to the truth. We need to learn the etiquette of agreeing to disagree.
-Mutual jealousy is a Satanic trap that causes people to kill one another.
“And whoever disbelieves in the ayaat of Allah, then indeed, Allah is swift in [taking] account,” meaning whoever rejects what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has sent down in His Book should remember that He is swift in punishment.
Explaining the term sareeh-ul-hisaab [swift in punishment], the scholars have said that the reckoning begins as soon as a person dies. From the ahadeeth we learn that when a good believer dies then the angels of mercy descend bringing the shroud from the heavens. They take the deceased gently and the angels greet him at each level as they ascend. On the other hand, when a bad person dies, the angels of wrath descend bringing a foul-smelling shroud. They beat the corrupt soul and are harsh. The punishment for this person begins right after his death. We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for guidance and steadfastness on the Right Path, ameen. A person’s life in barzakh [the resting place until the Day of Reckoning] is dependent on his life in the world. The detailed accounting of one’s deeds shall take place on the Day of Judgment when even the minutest details of one’s actions will be judged.
When we read that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is swift in punishment we should not pass over the ayah casually. Try to visualize the Day of Resurrection standing before Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala giving an account of your deeds. How does that seem? Sometimes, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala punishes people in this world. It is a chance for them to repent and mend their ways. Fearing His punishment we should not takes chances. We should be conscious at each step of our lives.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala instill such fear in us after which we never lose our path, ameen.
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