Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
Then Allah went on to mention the believers among them, saying: (Lo! Those who believe) in Moses and all the other prophets, these earn their reward from their Lord in Paradise; they shall have no fear perpetually and they shall perpetually not grieve. It is said that this means that no fear will come upon them concerning torment in the future life nor will they grieve about anything they have left behind. And it is also said that this means: they shall have no fear when death is slain and hell is closed. Then He mentioned those who did not believe in Moses or the other prophets, saying: (and those who are Jews) who deviated from the religion of Moses, (and Christians) those who became Christians (and Sabaeans) a Christian sect whose members shave the middle of their heads, read the Gospel, worship the angels and say: " our hearts have returned (saba'at) unto Allah ", (whoever believeth) from amongst them (in Allah and the Last Day and does right) in that which is between them and their Lord, (surely their reward is with their Lord, and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve).
Surely those who believe, [who believed] before, in the prophets, and those of Jewry, the Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabaeans, a Christian or Jewish sect, whoever, from among them, believes in God and the Last Day, in the time of our Prophet, and performs righteous deeds, according to the Law given to him — their wage, that is, the reward for their deeds, is with their Lord, and no fear shall befall them, neither shall they grieve (the [singular] person of the verbs āmana, ‘believes’, and ‘amila, ‘performs’, takes account of the [singular] form of man, ‘whoever’, but in what comes afterwards [of the plural pronouns] its [plural] meaning [is taken into account]).
Surely those who believe, out of traditional faith, and [and those of Jewry] the exotericists and [the Christians] the esotericists and those [Sabaeans] who worshipped the angels of the intellects through their being veiled by intelligibles and [those who worshipped] the planets of the ego-centric powers through their being veiled by illusory and imaginative things; whoever, from among them, believes, out of real faith, in God and the Last Day, being certain of the knowledge of Unity and the Resurrection, and performs righteous deeds, that make them good for the encounter with God and the attainment of felicity at the final return - their wage is, their reward shall be the abiding spiritual [reward], with their Lord, in the way of the Gardens of the attributes and the acts, and no fear shall befall them, from the penalties of their acts, neither shall they grieve, because of any passing of the self-disclosures of the attributes. The sentence is a parenthetical one within the address to the Children of Israel.
Faith and doing Righteous Deeds equals Salvation in all Times
After Allah described the condition - and punishment - of those who defy His commands, fall into His prohibitions and transgress set limits by committing prohibited acts, He stated that the earlier nations who were righteous and obedient received the rewards for their good deeds. This shall be the case, until the Day of Judgment. Therefore, whoever follows the unlettered Messenger and Prophet shall acquire eternal happiness and shall neither fear from what will happen in the future nor become sad for what has been lost in the past. Similarly, Allah said,
(Verily, those who say: "Our Lord is Allah (alone),'' and then they stand firm, on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): "Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised!''). (41:30)
The Meaning of Mu'min, or Believer
`Ali bin Abi Talhah narrated from Ibn `Abbas, about,
(And whoever seeks religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers) (3:85).
This statement by Ibn `Abbas indicates that Allah does not accept any deed or work from anyone, unless it conforms to the Law of Muhammad that is, after Allah sent Muhammad. Before that, every person who followed the guidance of his own Prophet was on the correct path, following the correct guidance and was saved.
Why the Jews were called `Yahud
The Jews are the followers of Prophet Musa, who used to refer to the Tawrah for judgment. Yahud is a word that means, `repenting', just as Musa said,
("Who will be my helpers in Allah's cause'' Al-Hawariyyun said: "We are the helpers of Allah.'') (61:14)
It was said that they were called `Nasara', because they inhabited a land called An-Nasirah (Nazareth), as Qatadah, Ibn Jurayj and Ibn `Abbas were reported to have said, Allah knows best. Nasara is certainly plural for Nasran.
When Allah sent Muhammad as the Last and Final Prophet and Messenger to all of the Children of Adam, mankind was required to believe in him, obey him and refrain from what he prohibited them; those who do this are true believers. The Ummah of Muhammad was called `Mu'minin' (believers), because of the depth of their faith and certainty, and because they believe in all of the previous Prophets and matters of the Unseen.
The Sabi'un or Sabians
There is a difference of opinion over the identity of the Sabians. Sufyan Ath-Thawri said that Layth bin Abu Sulaym said that Mujahid said that, "The Sabians are between the Majus, the Jews and the Christians. They do not have a specific religion.'' Similar is reported from Ibn Abi Najih. Similar statements were attributed to `Ata' and Sa`id bin Jubayr. They (others) say that the Sabians are a sect among the People of the Book who used to read the Zabur (Psalms), others say that they are a people who worshipped the angels or the stars. It appears that the closest opinion to the truth, and Allah knows best, is Mujahid's statement and those who agree with him like Wahb bin Munabbih, that the Sabians are neither Jews nor Christians nor Majus nor polytheists. Rather, they did not have a specific religion that they followed and enforced, because they remained living according to their Fitrah (instinctual nature). This is why the idolators used to call whoever embraced Islam a `Sabi', meaning, that he abandoned all religions that existed on the earth. Some scholars stated that the Sabians are those who never received a message by any Prophet. And Allah knows best.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
The context in which this verse occurs shows that the Qur'an is not laying down here the details of the creed and righteous deeds, which one should believe and practise in order to earn salvation. These things have been described in their proper places. Here, the object is to refute the self-delusion of the Jews that salvation was their sole monopoly. They were suffering from the delusion that they had some special relationship with God; therefore whoever belonged to their race, would go straight to Heaven, irrespective of his creed and deeds, and all other people were born to become fuel of Hell. To remove this misunderstanding of theirs Allah declares that salvation does not depend upon one's connection with any group but on one's right beliefs and good deeds. Whoever goes before Allah with these provisions will find his reward with Him, for Allah's judgement will be based on one's real worth and not on the census registers.
Surely those who believe and those of the Jews and the Christians and the Sabaeans whoever believes in God and the Last Day and performs righteous deeds-their wage is with their Lord and no fear shall befall them neither shall they grieve. The diversity of [religious] paths in spite of the unity of the source does not prevent a goodly acceptance [for all]. For anyone who affirms the Real سبحانه in His signs and believes in what He has said concerning His truth and attributes the dissimilarity of [religious] laws and diversity that occurs in [the] name[s] [of religion] is not a problem in terms of who merits [God's] good pleasure. Because of that He said “Surely those who believe and those of the Jews.” Then He said “whoever believes” meaning if they fear [God] in [their] different ways of knowing [Him] all of them will have a beautiful place of return and an ample reward. The believer muÌmin is anyone in the protection amān of the Real سبحانه. For anyone who is in His protection it is fitting that no fear shall befall them neither shall they grieve.
(Lo! Those who believe (in that which is revealed unto thee, Muhammad), and those who are Jews…) [2:62]. Al-Hafiz Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad informed us> ‘Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn Ja‘far the al-Hafiz> Abu Yahya al-Razi> Sahl ibn ‘Uthman al-‘Askari> Yahya ibn Abi Za’idah who said: “Ibn Jurayj said> ‘Abd Allah ibn Kuthayr> Mujahid who said: ‘When Salman related to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, the story of the monks, the Prophet told him that they will dwell in hell fire’. Salman said: ‘The whole earth became gloomy for me, but then this verse was revealed (Lo! Those who believe (in that which is revealed unto thee, Muhammad), and those who are Jews) up to Allah’s saying (and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve), and it was as if a mountain had been lifted away from me’ ”. Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Marwazi informed us> Muhammad ibn al-Husayn al-Haddadi> Abu Yazid> Ishaq ibn Ibrahim> ‘Amr> Asbat> al-Suddi who said: “The verse (Lo! Those who believe (in that which is revealed unto thee, Muhammad), and those who are Jews…) was revealed about the monks with whom Salman al-Farisi kept company. When Salman went to see the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, he informed him about their worship and striving. He said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! They used to pray and fast; they believed in you and bore witness that you will be sent as a prophet’. When Salman finished his praise of them, Allah’s Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: ‘O Salman! They are of the dwellers of hell fire’. Allah then revealed (Lo! Those who believe (in that which is revealed unto thee, Muhammad), and those who are Jews) up to His saying (neither shall they grieve)”. Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ja‘far informed us> Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Zakariyya’> Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Daghuli> Abu Bakr ibn Abi Khaythamah> ‘Amr ibn Hammad> Asbat> al-Suddi> Abu Malik> Abu Salih> Ibn ‘Abbas> Murrah> Ibn Mas‘ud> also from some of the Companions of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace: “(Lo! Those who believe (in that which is revealed unto thee, Muhammad), and those who are Jews) was revealed about Salman al-Farisi, a notable of Jundishapur; what follows this verse was revealed about the Jews”.