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(2:62) Salvation is for True Worshippers alone

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Those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

The following excerpt is taken from “Maariful Quran” surah al baqarah pg. 228-229:

The previous verse spoke of how the Israelites drew upon
themselves the wrath of Allah through their habitual insolence and
disobedience. Now, this account may lead the listeners, or the Jews
themselves, to suppose that, in view of such transgression, their
Taubah (repentance), if they agree to offer it, would not be acceptable
to Allah. In order to dispel such a misgiving, the present verse lays down a general principle: no matter how a man has been behaving earlier, so long as he submits himself fully to the commandments of
Allah in his beliefs and in his deeds both, he is acceptable to Allah,
and will get his reward. It is obvious enough that after the revelation
of the Holy Qur’an, which is the last message of Allah, perfect
obedience to Allah can only mean accepting Islam and following the
Last Prophet Muhammad (S) The verse, in effect, assures everyone
that once a man has accepted Islam, all his former transgressions,
whether in the matter of beliefs or in that of deeds, will be forgiven,
and he will become worthy of receiving the rewards of the other world.

Let us note, in passing, that nothing is definitely known as to the
beliefs and the practices of the Sabeans, and different opinions have
been expressed on the subject. (Most probably they used to worship
the stars).

One might also ask why the verse mentions the Muslims, for if it is
an invitation to Islam, there is no need to extend the invitation to
those who have already accepted Islam. But if we keep in mind the
richly concentrated style of the Holy Qur’an, and try to look beyond
the literal sense of the words into the implications and suggestions
contained in the verse, we would find that the inclusion of the Muslim
factor has added a new dimension to the meaning. It is es if a king
should, in a similar situation, say that his laws are impartially
applicable to all his subjects, and that whosoever obeys them shall
receive his reward for obedience irrespective of whether he has earlier
been a friend or a foe. Obviously, the friend has always been loyal and
obedient, and the warning and the promise have really been addressed to the foe. But the suggestion contained in such a formulation is that the favours of the king do not proceed from any personal attachment
to the friends, but depend on the quality of obedience and loyalty, and
hence the foes too will become worthy of his favours if they acquire the
necessary quality. This is the raison d’etre of mentioning the Muslims
along with the non-Muslims in this verse, which should never be taken
to imply that salvation can be attained without accepting Islam.

We had better dispel another misunderstanding which is likely to
arise from the wordings of the present verse — and, which is actually
being promoted by certain ‘modernizers’. The verse mentions only two
articles of faith of the Islamic creed — faith in Allah and faith in the
Day of Judgment. This should not be taken to mean that in order to
attain salvation it is enough to have faith only in Allah and in the Day
of Judgment. For, the Holy Quran repeatedly declares that he who
does not believe in the prophets, in angels and in the Books of Allah is
not a Muslim. Faith in Allah is the first article in the Islamic creed,
while faith in the Day of Judgment is the last. By mentioning only
these two, the verse intends to say in a succinct manner that it is
necessary to have faith in all the articles of the creed, from the first to
i the last. Moreover, it is through the prophets and the Books of Allah
alone that man can acquire any knowledge of the essence and the
attributes of Allah and of what is to happen on the Day of Judgment,
while the Books of Allah are revealed to the prophets through an
angel. So, it is not possible to have faith in Allah and the Day of
Judgment until and unless one has faith in the angels, in the Books of
Allah and in the prophets.

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