This is why Allah said,
(Say: "Shall I inform you of things far better than those'')
This Ayah means, "Say, O Muhammad, to the people, `Should I tell you about what is better than the delights and joys of this life that will soon perish?''' Allah informed them of what is better when He said,
(For those who have Taqwa there are Gardens (Paradise) with their Lord, underneath which rivers flow) meaning, rivers run throughout it. These rivers carry various types of drinks: honey, milk, wine and water such that no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard, and no heart has ever imagined,
(Therein (is their) eternal (home)) meaning, they shall remain in it forever and ever and will not want to be removed from it.
(And Azwajun Mutahharatun (purified mates or wives)) meaning, from filth, dirt, harm, menstruation, post birth bleeding, and other things that affect women in this world.
(And Allah will be pleased with them) meaning, Allah's pleasure will descend on them and He shall never be angry with them after that. This is why Allah said in in Surah Bara`ah,
(But the pleasure of Allah is greater) (9:72), meaning, greater than the eternal delight that He has granted them. Allah then said,
(And Allah is All-Seer of the (His) servants) and, He gives each provisions according to what they deserve.
(16. Those who say: "Our Lord! We have indeed believed, so forgive us our sins and save us from the punishment of the Fire.'') (17. (They are) the patient, the true believers, and obedient with sincere devotion in worship to Allah. Those who spend (in good) and those who pray and beg Allah's pardon in the last hours of the night.)
Allah describes the Muttaqin, His pious servants, whom He promised tremendous rewards,
(Those who say: "Our Lord! We have indeed believed'') in You, Your Book and Your Messenger.
(so forgive us our sins) because of our faith in You and in what You legislated for us. Therefore, forgive us our errors and shortcomings, with Your bounty and mercy,
(and save us from the punishment of the Fire.)
Allah then said,
((They are) those who are patient) while performing acts of obedience and abandoning the prohibitions.
(those who are true) concerning their proclamation of faith, by performing the difficult deeds.
(and obedient) meaning, they submit and obey Allah,
(those who spend) from their wealth on all the acts of obedience they were commanded, being kind to kith and kin, helping the needy, and comforting the destitute.
(and those who pray and beg Allah's pardon in the last hours of the night) and this testifies to the virtue of seeking Allah's forgiveness in the latter part of the night. It was reported that when Ya`qub said to his children,
(I will ask my Lord for forgiveness for you) (12:98) he waited until the latter part of the night to say his supplication.
Furthermore, the Two Sahihs, the Musnad and Sunan collections recorded through several Companions that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Every night, when the last third of it remains, our Lord, the Blessed, the Superior, descends to the lowest heaven saying, "Is there anyone to ask Me, so that I may grant him his request Is there anyone to invoke Me, so that I may respond to his invocation Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him'')
The Two Sahihs recorded that `A'ishah said, "The Messenger of Allah performed Witr during the first part, the middle and latter parts of the night. Then, later (in his life), he would perform it (only) during the latter part.'' `Abdullah bin `Umar used to pray during the night and would ask, "O Nafi`! Is it the latter part of the night yet'' and if Nafi` said, "Yes,'' Ibn `Umar would start supplicating to Allah and seeking His forgiveness until dawn. This Hadith was collected by Ibn Abi Hatim.
(18. Allah bears witness that none has the right to be worshipped but He, and the angels, and those having knowledge (also bear witness to this); (He always) maintains His creation in justice. None has the right to be worshipped but He, the Almighty, the All-Wise.) (19. Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam. Those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) did not differ except out of rivalry, after knowledge had come to them. And whoever disbelieves in the Ayat of Allah, then surely, Allah is Swift in reckoning.) (20. So if they dispute with you say: "I have submitted myself to Allah, and (so have) those who follow me.'' And say to those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) and to those who are illiterate (Arab pagans): "Do you (also) submit yourselves'' If they do, they are rightly guided; but if they turn away, your duty is only to convey the Message; and Allah sees the servants.)
Allah bears witness, and verily, Allah is sufficient as a Witness, and He is the Most Truthful and Just Witness there is; His statement is the absolute truth,
(that La ilaha illa Huwa) meaning, He Alone is the Lord and God of all creation; everyone and everything are His servants, creation and in need of Him. Allah is the Most Rich, Free from needing anyone or anything. Allah said in another Ayah,
(But Allah bears witness to that which He has sent down (the Qur'an) unto you (O Muhammad)) (4:166).
Allah then mentioned the testimony of His angels and those who have knowledge after he mentioned His own testimony,
(Allah bears witness that none has the right to be worshipped but He), and the angels, and those having knowledge (also bear witness to this)). This Ayah emphasizes the great virtue of those who have knowledge.
((He) maintains His creation in justice) in all that He does,
(None has the right to be worshipped but He) thus emphasizing this fact,
(the Almighty, the All-Wise.) the Mighty that does not submit to weakness due to His might and greatness, the Wise in all His statements, actions, legislation and decrees.
(Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam.) Allah states that there is no religion accepted with Him from any person, except Islam. Islam includes obeying all of the Messengers until Muhammad who finalized their commission, thus closing all paths to Allah except through Muhammad. Therefore, after Allah sent Muhammad, whoever meets Allah following a path other than Muhammad's, it will not be accepted of him. In another Ayah, Allah said,
(And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him) (3:85).
In this Ayah (3:19), Allah said, asserting that the only religion accepted with Him is Islam,
(Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam.)
Allah then states that those who were given the Scripture beforehand divided in the religion after Allah sent the Messengers and revealed the Books to them providing them the necessary proofs to not do so. Allah said,
(Those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) did not differ except out of rivalry, after knowledge had come to them.) meaning, some of them wronged others. Therefore, they differed over the truth, out of envy, hatred and enmity for each other. This hatred made some of them defy those whom they hated even if they were correct. Allah then said,
(And whoever disbelieves in the Ayat of Allah) meaning, whoever rejects what Allah sent down in His Book,
(then surely, Allah is Swift in reckoning.) Allah will punish him for his rejection, reckon him for his denial, and torment him for defying His Book. Thereafter, Allah said.
(So if they dispute with you (Muhammad)) so if they argue with you about Tawhid,
(Say: "I have submitted myself to Allah (in Islam), and (so have) those who follow me'') meaning, Say, `I have made my worship sincere for Allah Alone without partners, rivals, offspring or companion,
(and those who follow me) who followed my religion and embraced my creed.' In another Ayah, Allah said,
(Say (O Muhammad): "This is my way; I invite unto Allah with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me...'') (12:108).
Allah commanded His servant and Messenger, Muhammad, to call the People of the Two Scriptures and the unlettered idolaters to his religion, way, Law and all that Allah sent him with. Allah said,
(And say to those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) and to those who are illiterates (Arab pagans): "Do you (also) submit yourselves'' If they do, they are rightly guided; but if they turn away, your duty is only to convey the Message.) meaning, their reckoning is with Allah and their return and final destination is to Him. It is He Who guides whom He wills and allows whom He wills to stray, and He has the perfect wisdom and the unequivocal proof for all of this. This is why Allah said,
(And Allah sees the servants.) for He has perfect knowledge of who deserves to be guided and who does not deserve to be guided. Verily,
(He cannot be questioned for what He does, while they will be questioned.) (21:23) because of His perfect wisdom and mercy. This and similar Ayat are clear proofs that the Message of Muhammad is universal to all creation, as it is well established in the religion, according to the various texts of the Book and Sunnah. For instance, Allah said,
(Say (O Muhammad): "O mankind! Verily, I am sent to you all as the Messenger of Allah.'') (7:158), and,
(Blessed be He Who sent down the criterion to His servant that he may be a warner to the `Alamin (mankind and Jinn).) (25:1).
The Two Sahihs and other collections of Hadith recorded that the Prophet sent letters to the kings of the earth during his time and to different peoples, Arabs and non-Arabs, People of the Book and the unlettered, just as Allah had commanded him. `Abdur-Razzaq recorded that Ma`mar said, that Hammam said that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet said,
(By He in Whose Hand is my soul! No member of this Ummah, no Jew or Christian, hears of me but dies without believing in what I was sent with, but will be among the people of the Fire.) Muslim recorded this Hadith.
The Prophet said,
(I was sent to the red and black.) and,
(A Prophet used to be sent to his people, but I was sent to all mankind.)
(21. Verily, those who disbelieve in the Ayat of Allah and kill the Prophets without right, and kill those men who order just dealings, then announce to them a painful torment.) (22. They are those whose works will be lost in this world and in the Hereafter, and they will have no helpers.)