In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
They schemed, and Allah also schemed. Allah is the best of schemers. Allah said; Jesus! I shall gather you and cause you to ascend to Me, and I shall cleanse you of those who disbelieve, and I shall place those who follow you above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then to Me you shall all return, and I shall judge between you with regard to everything on which you used to differ. As for those who disbelieve I shall inflict on them severe suffering in this world and in the life to come; and they shall have none to help them. But as for those who believe and do good works, they shall be given their reward in full. Allah does not love the wrongdoers. (The House of Imran, “Aal Imran” 3; 54-57.)
Commentary by Sayyid Qutb, Translated by A.A. Salahi & S.A. Shamsi.
We come now to the end of the story of the relationship between Jesus e and the children of Israel. This begins with the verse; They schemed, and Allah also schemed. Allah is the best of schemers. What the Jews who did not believe in Jesus, the messenger Allah sent to them, did against him was terrible, wicked and endless. They made all sorts of accusations against him and against his mother, the pure, and her fiance, Joseph the Carpenter, who, according to the Gospels, had not actually married her. They also accused Jesus of lying and taking advantage of people. They reported him to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, describing him as an agitator who stirred up the feelings of the masses and encouraged rioting and rebellion. They further accused him of being an impostor who tried to corrupt the faith of the masses. They continued with this line of false accusations until Pilate granted them their request of punishing him themselves as they saw fit. Pilate, a pagan ruler; dared not take on himself the responsibility of punishing a man whom he could not condemn on the basis of any real evidence. These are only a few examples of their endless scheming.
They schemed, and Allah also schemed. Allah is the best of schemers. We note here that the Qur’an uses the same term to describe the Jewish plot against Jesus and what Allah planned for them. This, in effect, ridicules their scheming since it will have to be set against what Allah schemes. How can their scheming be compared to what Allah plans? Indeed, how can their power be compared to Allah’s might?
They wanted to crucify and kill Jesus e. Allah, on the other hand, willed to gather him and cause him to ascend to Himself. He further willed to purify and cleanse him from mixing with the disbelievers and remaining with them. Such purification is necessary since all disbelievers are impure. It was also the will of Allah to elevate the followers of Jesus above the disbelievers until the Day of Resurrection. What Allah willed came true, and the scheming of the Jews was of no consequence whatsoever; Allah said; Jesus! I shall gather you and cause you to ascend to me, and I shall cleanse you of those who disbelieve, and I shall place those who follow you above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. How Jesus was gathered and how he ascended to Allah are matters which lie beyond human perception. They are unknown except to Allah. To try to pursue these matters is of no use whatsoever in respect to faith or its implementation. Those who pursue them and argue about them will inevitably end up more confused, struggling with complicated and endless arguments, having no certainty or satisfaction whatsoever. For the whole matter is part of Allah’s own knowledge.
It is not difficult, on the other hand, to explain the statement that Allah has placed those who follow Jesus above the disbelievers, and that their elevation continues until the Day of Resurrection. Those who follow Jesus are the ones who believe in Allah’s true religion, that is Islam, or surrender to Allah. Every Prophet is fully aware of the true nature of this religion. Every messenger preached the same religion and everyone who truly believes in the Divine Faith believes in it. These believers are indeed far superior to the disbelievers, according to Allah’s measure, and they will continue to be so until the Day of Judgment. Moreover, they prove their superiority in our practical life every time they confront the forces of unfaith with the true nature of faith and the reality of following Allah’s messengers. The Divine Faith is one, preached by Jesus, son of Mary, as preached by every messenger sent before him and by the messenger sent after him. Those who follow Muhammad e do at the same time follow all the messengers of Allah, starting with Adam e until the last one.
This comprehensive outlook conforms with the theme of the surah and its presentation. It is also in conformity with the essence of faith.
The destiny of both the believers and the disbelievers is stated in the form of information given by Allah to Jesus e; Then to Me you shall all return, and I shall judge between you with regard to everything on which you used to differ. As for those who disbelieve, I shall inflict on them severe suffering in this world and in the life to come; and they shall have none to help them. But as for those who believe and do good works, they shall be given their reward in full. Allah does not love the wrongdoers.
This statement proves the seriousness of reward and punishment, the Divine Justice which is absolute and cannot be influenced by people’s wishes or fabrications. The return to Allah, then, is inevitable. His judgment on all matters of dispute is irrevocable. The punishment He inflicts on the disbelievers in this world and in the life to come shall overwhelm them and they can have none to help them against it. The believers who do good works, on the other hand, will have their reward in full, without favouritism, but with great generosity. Allah does not love the wrongdoers. Far be it from Him, then, to do anyone any wrong when He Himself does not love the wrongdoers.
All what the people of other religions claim in variance with this, particularly when they say that their stay in hell will last only for a few days, and all their deceptive wishful thinking of Allah’s reward and their flimsy concept of Divine Justice are incorrect and without foundation.