Please explain the message/directive of Al-Baqarah 2: 62.
The referred verse reads as:
Indeed those who have believed [now] and those who [previously] became Jews and the Christians and the Sabeans, whoever [truly] believed in God and the Final Day and was pious in his actions, shall get his reward with God. He shall neither have any fears [of the future] nor any regrets [of the past].”
The particular portion of Surah Al-Baqarah in which the verse is placed addresses the Banu Israel. It deals with the negation of one of the beliefs of the Banu Israel who lived in the Arabian Peninsula at the time of the revelation of the Qur’an . The Banu Israel held the belief that because they have been the chosen people of God in this life; it automatically implies that they shall be successful in the hereafter as well. In this connection, the Qur’an has referred to their belief that even if they deserve any punishment, their punishment shall not last for more than a few – numbered – days. Moreover, they believed that success in the hereafter is the right only of the Banu Israel. Surah Al-Baqarah has negated both these beliefs of the Banu Israel.
Keeping the above explanation in mind, the implication of the referred verse should be quite clear. This verse is a part of the negation of the belief of the Banu Israel according to which they held that success in the hereafter is only their right. In this particular context, the verse says that success in the hereafter is not the sole right of any particular creed or nation. According to this verse, all those peoples who are followers of any of the prophets of God (all the nations mentioned in the verse were followers of a prophet of God) shall be successful in the hereafter if they truly believe in God and the Day of Judgment and have the necessary good deeds that qualify them for success in the hereafter. If that is not the case, then their affiliation with any particular creed shall not save them from God’s punishment.
Furthermore, it should also be kept in mind that one of the obvious inherent qualifications of success in the hereafter is that with belief in God, the Day of Judgment and the doing of good deeds the person has not been guilty of any such sin which deserves everlasting punishment of Hellfire. For instance, murder, fornication and Shirk (associating partners with God), according to the Qur’an are sins, which shall doom a person to everlasting hell. Another one of such disqualifications for success in the hereafter is to knowingly reject a messenger or a prophet of God.
Thus, the complete implication of the referred verse is that all those people, who ascribe to one or the other of God’s messengers, who truly believe in God and the Day of Judgment and who are pious in their deeds, if they are not guilty of any such sins that disqualify them from success in the hereafter (including knowingly rejecting any of the messengers of God), shall stand successful.
27th November 1999