In the Name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful
When Allah made His covenant with the Prophets: “If, after what I have vouchsafed to you of the scriptures and wisdom, there comes to you a messenger confirming that of which you have been given possession, you shall believe in him and you shall help him.” Do you, said He, “affirm this and accept the obligation I lay upon you in these terms?” They answered: “We do affirm it.” He said; “Then bear you witness, and I am also a witness with you.” Then those who turn away afterward are indeed transgressors. Do they seek a religion other than Allah’s when every soul in heavens and earth has submitted to Him, willingly or by compulsion, and to Him they shall all return. The House of Imran, “Aal Imran” 3;81-83.
Commentary by Sayyid Qutb, Translated by A.A. Salahi & S.A. Shamsi.
This passage explains the link between all the messengers and messages, established on the basis of the covenant made with Allah which judges as a transgressor anyone who declines to follow the last of the divine messages. It also shows that such a person is guilty of violating his covenant with Allah and disobeys the law which applies to the whole universe. Allah, limitless He is in His glory, has made a binding and solemn covenant with every messenger He sent, and He himself has witnessed this covenant and made His messengers witness it as well. The covenant states that if he is followed by a messenger who confirms His own message, he is required to declare his belief in this messenger, give him his support and follow his religion, no matter what he himself has been given of scriptures and wisdom. This binding agreement Allah has made with every messenger He sent.
The Qur’anic presentation overpasses the time intervals which separated Allah’s messengers, groups them all in one scene with Allah in His majesty addressing them all as a group, directing to them His question whether they acknowledge this covenant and accept the obligation it places on them; “Do you affirm this and accept the obligation I lay upon you in these terms? They answered; “We do affirm it.”
Allah, the sublime, witnesses this covenant and asks them to witness it as well; He said; Then bear you witness, and I am also a witness with you.
As we portray this great scene in our minds, outlined in the inimitable Qur’anic style, our hearts are overwhelmed with awe as we imagine the scene with all the messengers assembled in the presence of Allah.
United in their submission to the sublime directive, they uphold the single truth which Allah has willed that it should serve as the foundation of human life and to remain pure of deviation, contradiction and conflict. Allah selects one of His servants to establish this truth on earth, before passing it over to the one chosen to succeed him, and placing himself as well at the service of his brother who takes over from him. No Prophet has any personal purpose in this matter, nor does he seek any personal glory. He is simply a servant of Allah chosen by Him to convey His message. It is Allah who determines how this message is carried forward from one generation to another, and controls the movement of its followers as He pleases.
With this covenant, divine religion is assured of being free from any narrow prejudice, be it the prejudice of the messenger to himself or his people, or the prejudice of his followers to their own faith, interests or to their own people. This single faith remains, in this way, pure as Allah wishes it to be.
In the light of this fact how do those among the people of earlier revelation who decline to believe in the last messenger preferring instead to stick to their own religion, justify their attitude considering that these religions call on them to believe in the last messenger and to support him? How do these people who reject the last messenger appear when their own messengers who have conveyed to them these religions have made such a solemn and binding covenant with their Lord in a grand, awesome scene? They appear, indeed, to be transgressors moving away from the teachings of their own Prophets, violating Allah’s covenant and rebelling against this system which applies to the whole universe which surrenders to its creator. Then those who turn away afterward are indeed transgressors. Do they seek a religion other than Allah’s, when every soul in the heavens and earth has submitted to Him, willingly or by compulsion, and to Him they shall all return?
No one refuses to follow the last of the Prophets but a transgressor, and no one rejects Allah’s faith but a deviant who stands alone in rebellion against the whole universe which submits to Allah.
Allah’s faith is one. All messengers preached the same faith and pledged their covenants to dedicate themselves to it. The covenant Allah has made with every messenger is the same. Hence, to believe in the new faith and to follow its messenger, and to help implement it so that it attains supremacy over all other creeds and methods is indeed to honour this covenant. Anyone who rejects Islam, therefore, rejects Allah’s faith as a whole, and violates his covenant with Allah.
Islam, or submission to Allah, is the constitution which applies to everything in this universe, and the religion of every living thing in the universe. It becomes a reality when the way of life Allah has chosen for mankind is implemented to the exclusion of every other way. This is indeed a universal version of Islam and submission. It has a profound effect on our feelings and consciences. It speaks of an omnipotent rule which subjects all beings to the same constitution and the same destiny.
To Him they shall all return, There is no way out, for the end is the return to Allah, the Almighty, who has created all and controls all.