Tafsir Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

Verse 98.1

And from his narration on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that he said regarding the interpretation of Allah's saying (Those who disbelieve among the People of the Scripture): '(Those who disbelieve among the People of the Scripture) i.e. the Jews and Christians (and the idolaters) the Arab idolaters (could not have left off (erring)) could not have remained in their denial of Muhammad (pbuh) the Qur'an and Islam (till the clear proof came unto them) until clarification of what is in their Scriptures, the Scriptures of the Jews and Christians, came to them. There is another way of understanding the above: those who disbelieve among the people of the Scripture, before the advent Muhammad (pbuh) such as 'Abdullah Ibn Salam and his followers, and those who ascribed partners to Allah before the advent of Muhammad (pbuh) such as Abu Bakr and his fellow Arabs, would not have desisted from their disbelief and idolatry until the clear proof came to them, i.e. until Muhammad (pbuh) came to them.