Surat al-Baqara / Tafsir

“The Reward for Christians and Jews:Tafsir of al-Baqara Verse 62”

A Tafsir of al-Baqara Verse 62

– Shaykh Ata Ibn Khalil



Allah (SWT) says: {Indeed, those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabeans – those [among them] who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness – will have their reward with their Lord and no fear will there be concerning them nor will they grieve.}.[1] The noble Shaykh `Ata’ Ibn Khalil (may Allah protect him) comments:

{إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا} تشمل المعنى العقدي للإيمان في الإسلام، وهو التصديق الجازم بعقيدة الإسلام، وتشمل كلّ من آمن بما جاء به رسل الله في كلّ زمان ومكان منذ آدم عليه السلام ومن آمن معه إلى نوح ومن آمن معه وإبراهيم… إلى خاتم الأنبياء والرسل محمد صلوات الله وسلامه عليه {وَالَّذِينَ هَادُوا } تشمل كلّ من انتسب إلى اليهودية منذ أن وجدت إلى أن يرث الله الأرض ومن عليها. {وَالنَّصَارَى} تشمل كلّ من انتسب إلى النصرانية منذ بدئها إلى منتهاها. {وَالصَّابِئِينَ} وهم الذين لا دين لهم، من الصبوة وهي الميل عن سنن الحق أو الذين خرجوا من دين قومهم إلى آخر، من صبأ خرج من الشيء الذي كان فيه. صبأت النجوم: طلعت فظهرت بعد أن لم تكن ظاهرة. صبأ علينا فلان موضع كذا، أي طلع علينا في ذاك الموضع بعد أن لم يكن فيه. ولذلك {وَالصَّابِئِين} من لا دين لهم أو من خرج من دينه إلى دين آخر أو إلى غير دين، وعليه يكون {إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالنَّصَارَى وَالصَّابِئِينَ} تشمل كلّ أنواع البشر من حيث أديانهم أو عدمها…

“{those who believe}: includes the theological meaning which is belief in Islam which is having a decisive assent (tasdiq al-jazim) in the belief of Islam. It also includes everyone who believed in all the Messengers of Allah sent in every time and place from Adam (AS) – and those who believed in him – to Nuh (AS) and those who believed in him and then to Ibrahim (AS) and those who believed in him…until the seal of the Messengers Muhammad (may Allah blessings and peace be upon him).

{and those who were Jews}: includes all those who are ancestral Jews from the time of its inception until Allah made them inherit the earth.

{and those who were Christians}: includes those who ascribe themselves to Christianity from its inception until its ends.

{and the Sabeans}: they are those who have no religion which is derived from the word “sabwa” (صبوة) meaning to incline to norms of the truth or those who leave their religion or people to join another one. When the word “saba’a/صبأ” is used, it means when one leaves something he is upon. Thus, the phrase ‘صبأت النجوم’ means ‘when the stars appear in the sky from when they were hidden’…Therefore {and the Sabeans} refers to those who have no religion, or those who left their religion for another or no religion at all…”[2] [End].

  • What follows from the above includes:

[1] The verse is general in its purport “because {الذين} indicates generality (`umum); the word {النصارى}[s: as well as {هادوا}] and {الصابئين} have the definite article which is a form of generality referring therefore to all human beings as we previously explained.”[3]

[2] “Those who have correct belief and remain firm on that belief doing good actions as well as any Jew, Christian and Sabean who truly believes in Allah, the Last Day and does good actions, then {for them} – which is the apodosis of the conditional clause (jawab al-shart) meaning if they become the way Allah has explained it – {then they will have their reward with their Lord and no fear will there be concerning them nor will they grieve }.”[4] Thus, if any of these category of people believed truly in their Messenger, followed the law they brought or upheld and did good actions, then the reward of Allah would surely follow.[5]

[3] Any person who fulfilled the conditions in the verse prior to the advent of the Messenger of Allah, then he was on good. “[The Prophet] – upon him be blessing and peace – addressed Salman al-Farisi (RA) regarding the monks who were with him before he converted to Islam and said: “Whoever died on the religion of Jesus before hearing about me, then he was on good but whoever heard of me but did not believe, he is in ruin.”[6] In other words, whoever was on the true religion brought by `Isa (AS) and died before the advent of Islam, then by the permission of Allah he was on good. However, whoever lives after the advent of Islam and refused to believe in Islam, he is a non-believer and will receive a stern punishment.”[7]

And with Allah is all success.


[1] See Q. 2:62. Regarding the phrase {and no fear will there be concerning them nor will they grieve }, Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi says comments that the reward is something that indicates permanent exemption from any worry, anxiety, stress, grieving, mourning or fear, i.e. a “perpetual bliss”. This is only possible in the Hereafter and so the reward is not temporal. Mafatih al-Ghayb, vol.1, p.68.

وأما قوله تعالى : و لا خوف عليهم و لا هم يحزنون فقيل: أراد زوال الخوف والحزن عنهم في الدنيا . ومنهم من قال في الآخرة في حال الثواب، وهذا أصح لأن قوله و لا خوف عليهم عام في النفي، وكذلك و لا هم يحزنون وهذه الصفة لا تحصل في الدنيا وخصوصا في المكلفين لأنهم في كل وقت لا ينفكون من خوف وحزن، إما في أسباب الدنيا وإما في أمور الآخرة، فكأنه سبحانه وعدهم في الآخرة بالأجر، ثم بين أن من صفة ذلك الأجر أن يكون خاليا عن الخوف والحزن، وذلك يوجب أن يكون نعيمهم دائما لأنهم لو جوزوا كونه منقطعا لاعتراهم الحزن العظيم…

[2] `Ata’ Ibn Khalil, al-Taysir fi Usul al-Tafsir, p.88. Imam al-Razi says: “[…] likewise, the Arabs would call the Prophet (upon him be peace) ‘sabean’ because he made manifest a religion other than theirs. [When the Arabs say]: sab’at al-nujum, it means ‘when the starts emerge from their place; and saying saba’na bihi it means ‘we left the matter’…” See Mafatih al-Ghayb, vol.1, pp.97-98:

أما قوله تعالى الصائبين فهو من صبأ إذا خرج من دينه إلى دين آخر، وكذلك كانت العرب يسمون النبي عليه السلام صابئا لأنه أظهر دينا بخلاف أديانهم وصبأت النجوم إذا أخرجت من مطلعها. وصبأنا به إذا خرجنا به 

[3] `Ata’ Ibn Khalil, al-Taysir fi Usul al-Tafsir, p.88.

[4] Ibid., p.89.

[5] Ibid., p.89.

[6] The text of the hadith is munqati` (‘severed’) and was related by al-Tabari with his isnad in his commentary Jami` al-Bayan, vol.2, p.155 (#1113):

من مات على دين عيسى ومات على الإسلام قبل أن يسمع بي، فهو على خير؛ ومن سمع بي اليوم ولم يؤمن بي فقد هلك

[7] `Ata’ Ibn Khalil, al-Taysir fi Usul al-Tafsir, p.89.


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