In this Ayah Allah criticizes the disbelieving People of the Book for refusing the truth, rejecting Allah's Ayat and hindering those who seek to believe from His path, although they know that what the Messenger was sent with is the truth from Allah. They learned this from the previous Prophets and honorable Messengers, may Allah's peace and blessings be on them all. They all brought the glad tidings and the good news of the coming of the unlettered, Arab, Hashimi Prophet from Makkah, the master of the Children of Adam, the Final Prophet and the Messenger of the Lord of heavens and earth. Allah has warned the People of the Book against this behavior, stating that He is Witness over what they do, indicating their defiance of the knowledge conveyed to them by the Prophets. They rejected, denied and refused the very Messenger whom they were ordered to convey the glad tidings about his coming. Allah states that He is never unaware of what they do, and He will hold them responsible for their actions,
(The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail) (26:88).
(100. O you who believe! If you obey a group of those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians), they would (indeed) render you disbelievers after you have believed!) (101. And how would you disbelieve, while unto you are recited the verses of Allah, and among you is His Messenger And whoever depends upon Allah, then he is indeed guided to the right path.)
Allah warns His believing servants against obeying the People of the Book, who envy the believers for the favor that Allah gave them by sending His Messenger. Similarly, Allah said,
(Many of the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) wish that they could turn you away as disbelievers after you have believed, out of their own envy) (2:109).
In this Ayah (3:100), Allah said,
(If you obey a group of those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians), they would (indeed) render you disbelievers after you have believed!), then said,
(And how would you disbelieve, while unto you are recited the verses of Allah, and among you is His Messenger), meaning, disbelief is far from touching you, since the Ayat of Allah are being sent down on His Messenger day and night, and he recites and conveys them to you. Similarly, Allah said,
(And what is the matter with you that you believe not in Allah! While the Messenger invites you to believe in your Lord; and He has indeed taken your covenant, if you are real believers) (57:8) A Hadith states that one day, the Prophet said to his Companions,
("Who among the faithful believers do you consider has the most amazing faith'' They said, "The angels.'' He said, "Why would they not believe, since they are with their Lord'' They mentioned the Prophets, and the Prophet said, "Why would they not believe while the revelation is sent down to them'' They said, "Then, we are.'' He said, "Why would not you believe when I am among you'' They asked, "Who has the most amazing faith'' The Prophet said, "A people who will come after you and who will find only books that they will believe in.'')
Allah said next,
(And whoever depends upon Allah, then he is indeed guided to the right path) ﴿3:101﴾ for trusting and relying on Allah are the basis of achieving the right guidance and staying away from the path of wickedness. They also represent the tool to acquiring guidance and truth and achieving the righteous aims.
(102. O you who believe! Have Taqwa of Allah as is His due, and die not except as (true) Muslims.) (103. And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah, and be not divided among yourselves, and remember Allah's favor on you, for you were enemies of one another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His grace, you became brethren, and you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes His Ayat clear to you, that you may be guided.)
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud commented on the Ayah,
(Have Taqwa of Allah as is His due,)
"That He is obeyed and not defied, remembered and not forgotten and appreciated and not unappreciated.'' This has an authentic chain of narration to `Abdullah bin Mas`ud. Al-Hakim collected this Hadith in his Mustadrak, from Ibn Mas`ud, who related it to the Prophet. Al-Hakim said, "It is authentic according to the criteria of the Two Shaykhs (Al-Bukhari and Muslim), and they did not record it.'' This is what he said, but it appears that it is only a statement of `Abdullah bin Mas`ud, and Allah knows best. It was also reported that Anas said, "The servant will not have Taqwa of Allah as is His due until he keeps his tongue idle.'' Allah's statement,
(and die not except as (true) Muslims) (3:102), means, preserve your Islam while you are well and safe, so that you die as a Muslim. The Most Generous Allah has made it His decision that whatever state one lives in, that is what he dies upon and is resurrected upon. We seek refuge from dying on other than Islam.
Imam Ahmad recorded that Mujahid said, "The people were circling around the Sacred House when Ibn `Abbas was sitting, holding a bent-handled walking stick. Ibn `Abbas said, The Messenger of Allah (recited),
(Have Taqwa of Allah as is His due, die not except as (true) Muslims.) (3:102), (then he said;)
(Verily, if a drop of Zaqqum (a tree in Hell) falls, it will spoil life for the people of earth. What about those whose food is only from Zaqqum)''
This was recorded by At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban in his Sahih and Al-Hakim his Mustadrak. At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan Sahih''' while Al-Hakim said; "It meets the conditions of the Two Sahihs and they did not record it."
Imam Ahmad recorded that Jabir said that three nights before the Messenger of Allah died he heard him saying;
(None of you should die except while having sincere trust in Allah, the Exalted and Most Honorable.) Muslim also recorded it. The Two Sahihs record that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Allah said, "I am as My servant thinks of Me.'')
Allah said next,
(And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah, and be not divided among yourselves.) It was said that,
(to the Rope of Allah) refers to Allah's covenant, just as Allah said in the following Ayah,
(Indignity is put over them wherever they may be, except when under a covenant (of protection) from Allah, and from men;) (3:112), in reference to pledges and peace treaties.
(and be not divided among yourselves), orders sticking to the community of the believers and forbids division. There are several Hadiths that require adhering to the Jama`ah (congregation of believers) and prohibit division. Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(It pleases Allah for you to acquire three qualities and displeases Him that you acquire three characteristics. It pleases Him that you worship Him Alone and not associate anything or anyone with Him in worship, that you hold on to the Rope of Allah altogether and do not divide, and that you advise whoever Allah appoints as your Leader. The three that displease Him are that you say, `It was said,' and, `So-and-so said,' asking many unnecessary questions and wasting money.)
(and remember Allah's favor on you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His grace, you became brethren) (3:103).
This was revealed about the Aws and Khazraj. During the time of Jahiliyyah, the Aws and Khazraj were at war and had great hatred, enmity and ill feelings towards each other, causing long conflicts and battles to occur between them. When Allah brought Islam, those among them who embraced it became brothers who loved each other by Allah's grace, having good ties for Allah's sake and helping each other in righteousness and piety. Allah said,
(He it is Who has supported you with His Help and with the believers. And He has united their hearts. If you had spent all that is in the earth, you could not have united their hearts, but Allah has united them) ( 8:62,63), until the end of the Ayah. Before Islam, their disbelief had them standing at the edge of a pit of the Fire, but Allah saved them from it and delivered them to faith. The Messenger of Allah reminded the Ansar (from both Aws and Khazraj) of this bounty when he was dividing the war booty of Hunayn. During that time, some Ansar did not like the way the booty was divided, since they did not get what the others did, although that was what Allah directed His Prophet to do. The Messenger of Allah gave them a speech, in which he said,
(O Ansar! Did I not find you misguided and Allah directed you to guidance because of me? Were you not divided beforehand and Allah united you around me Were you not poor and Allah enriched you because of me)
Whenever the Prophet asked them a question, they would answer, "Indeed, Allah and His Messenger have granted us bounty.''
(104. Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good (Islam), enjoining Al-Ma`ruf (all that Islam orders) and forbidding Al-Munkar (all that Islam has forbidden). And it is they who are the successful.) (105. And be not as those who divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them. It is they for whom there is an awful torment.) (106. On the Day (i.e. the Day of Resurrection) when some faces will become white and some faces will become black; as for those whose faces will become black (to them will be said): "Did you reject faith after accepting it Then taste the torment (in Hell) for rejecting faith.'') (107. And for those whose faces will become white, they will be in Allah's mercy (Paradise), therein they shall dwell forever.) (108. These are the Ayat of Allah. We recite them to you in truth, and Allah wills no injustice to the `Alamin.) (109. And to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And all matters go back (for decision) to Allah.)