137. The allusion is to the Jews and the Christians.
138. 'Signs of Allah' include the teachings embodied in the Qur'an. They are also manifest in the noble life of the Prophet (peace be on him), and the pure lives of those who believed in him. Tley also include the natural phenomena to which the Qur'an refers in support of its message.
139. That is, either tokens of the approach of the Day of Reckoning or God's scourge or any other sign that will uncover the Truth, after which there will be no reason left for testing man.
140. Those tokens will be so clear that after their appearance it will neither avail the unbeliever to repent of his unbelief nor the disobedient to forsake his disobedience. For faith and obedience have meaning and value only as long as the Truth remains hidden, as long as the tenure of life granted to people does not seem to have approached its end and the world with all its vanities continues to delude man that, as there may neither be God nor After-life, one should eat, drink and enjoy oneself as best one can.
141. This is addressed to the Prophet (peace be on him) and through him to all followers of the true faith. The import of this statement is that true faith has always consisted, and still consists, in recognizing the One True God as one's God and Lord; in associating none with God in His divinity - neither in respect of His essence, nor of His attributes, nor of His claims upon His creatures; in believing in the Hereafter and hence considering oneself answerable before God; and in living according to those principles and values which have been communicated by God to mankind through His Prophets and Books. This was the religion entrusted to man at the beginning of human life. The religions which emerged later stemmed from the perverted ingenuity of man, from his baser lusts, and from an exaggerated sense of devotion to venerable personalities. Such factors corrupted the original religion and overlaid it with harmful innovations. Hence, people modified and distorted the original beliefs by mixing them with products of their conjecture and philosophical thinking. More and more innovations were added to the original laws of the true religion. Putting aside the Law of God, men set themselves up as their own law-makers, indulged in hair-splitting elaborations, and exaggerated the importance of disagreements in minor legal problems. They showed excessive veneration for some Prophets of God and some standard-bearers of the true religion, and directed their rancour and hatred against the others. Thus there emerged innumerable religions and sects, the birth of each leading to the fragmentation of humanity into an ever-increasing number of mutually hostile groups. Anyone who decides to follow the true religion must therefore cut himself off from all factions and chart an independent course.
142. The 'Way of Abraham' is one further indication of the way of true religion which one is required to follow. This way could also have been designated as the way of Moses or of Jesus But since their names have become falsely associated with Judaism and Christianity respectively, it was necessary to call it the 'Way of Abraham'. Moreover, Abraham was acknowledged by both the Jews and the Christians as rightly-guided and both knew, of course, that he lived long before either Judaism or Christianity was born. In the same way, the polytheists of Arabia also considered Abraham to be rightly-guided. Despite their ignorance, they at least acknowledged that that righteous man, who had founded the Ka'bah, was a worshipper of God exclusively and no idolator.
143. 'The Arabic word nusuk used here signifies ritual sacrifice as well as the other forms of devotion and worship.
144. Since God is the Lord of the entire universe, how could anyone be His lord? Since the entire universe is yoked to obedience to God, man is an integral part of the universe, how can he reasonably, look for another lord in that area of his life in which he uses his own volition,ind judgement? Is it appropriate for him to move in diametrical opposition to the entire universe?
145. Every person is responsible for whatever he does; and no one is responsible for the deeds of others.
146. This statement embodies three important truths: First, that human beings as such are vicegerents of God on earth, so that God has entrusted them with many things and endowed them with the power to use them. Second, it is God Himself Who has created differences of rank among His vicegerents. The trust placed in some is more than that of others. Some men have been granted control of more resources than others. Some are more gifted in respect of their abilities. Likewise, some human beings have been placed under the trust of others. Third, all this is indeed designed to test man. The entire life. of man is in fact, a vast examination wherein man is being tested about the trust he has received from God: how sensitive he is to that trust, to what extent he lives up to it, and to what extent he proves to be competent with it. What position man will be able to attain in the Next Life depends on the result of this test.