This Ayah contains Allah's criticism of the Arab pagans among the offspring of Isma`il as well as the disbelievers among the Children of Israel Jacob the son of Isaac, the son of Ibrahim. When death came to Jacob, he advised his children to worship Allah alone without partners. He said to them,
﴿مَا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن بَعْدِى قَالُواْ نَعْبُدُ إِلَـهَكَ وَإِلَـهَ آبَآئِكَ إِبْرَهِيمَ وَإِسْمَـعِيلَ وَإِسْحَـقَ﴾
("What will you worship after me'' They said, "We shall worship your Ilah (God ـ Allah) the Ilah of your fathers, Ibrahim, Isma`il, Ishaq,'')
Mentioning Isma`il here is a figure of speech, because Isma`il is Jacob's uncle. An-Nahas said that the Arabs call the uncle a father, as Al-Qurtubi mentioned).
This Ayah is used as evidence that the grandfather is called a father and inherits, rather than the brothers (i.e. when his son dies), as Abu Bakr asserted, according to Al-Bukhari who narrated Abu Bakr's statement from Ibn `Abbas and Ibn Az-Zubayr. Al-Bukhari then commented that there are no opposing opinions regarding this subject. This is also the opinion of `A'ishah the Mother of the believers, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Tawus and `Ata', Malik, Ash-Shaf`i and Ahmad said that the inheritance is divided between the grandfather and the brothers. It was reported that this was also the opinion of `Umar, `Uthman, `Ali, bin Mas`ud, Zayd bin Thabit and several scholars among the Salaf and later generations.
(One Ilah (God)) means, "We single Him out in divinity and do not associate anything or anyone with Him.''
﴿وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ﴾
(And to Him we submit), in obedience meaning, obedient and submissiveness. Similarly, Allah said,
﴿وَلَهُ أَسْلَمَ مَن فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ طَوْعًا وَكَرْهًا وَإِلَيْهِ يُرْجَعُونَ﴾
(While to Him submitted all creatures in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly. And to Him shall they all be returned) (3:83).
Indeed, Islam is the religion of all the Prophets, even if their rei﴾spective laws differed. Allah said,
﴿وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلاَّ نُوحِى إِلَيْهِ أَنَّهُ لا إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ أَنَاْ فَاعْبُدُونِ ﴾
(And We did not send any Messenger before you (O Muhammad ) ﴿but We revealed to him (saying): La ilaha illa Ana ﴿none has the right to be worshipped but I (Allah)﴾, so worship Me (alone and none else)) (21:25).
There are many other Ayat - and Hadiths - on this subject. For instance, the Prophet said,
«نَحْنُ مَعْشَرَ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ أَوْلَادُ عَلَّاتٍ دِينُنا وَاحِد»
(We, the Prophets, are brothers with different mothers, but the same religion.)
﴿تِلْكَ أُمَّةٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ﴾
(That was a nation who has passed away) meaning, existed before your time,
﴿لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَلَكُم مَّا كَسَبْتُم﴾
(They shall receive the reward of what they earned and you of what you earn).
This Ayah proclaims, Your relationship to the Prophets or righteous people among your ancestors will not benefit you, unless you perform good deeds that bring about you religious benefit. They have their deeds and you have yours,
﴿وَلاَ تُسْـَلُونَ عَمَّا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ﴾
(And you will not be asked of what they used to do).''
This is why a Hadith proclaims,
«مَنْ بَطَّأَ بِهِ عَمَلُهُ لَمْ يُسْرِعْ بِهِ نَسَبُه»
(Whoever was slowed on account of his deeds will not get any faster on account of his family lineage.)'
﴿وَقَالُواْ كُونُواْ هُودًا أَوْ نَصَـرَى تَهْتَدُواْ قُلْ بَلْ مِلَّةَ إِبْرَهِيمَ حَنِيفًا وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ ﴾
(135. And they say, "Be Jews or Christians, then you will be guided.'' Say (to them O Muhammad ), "Nay, (we follow) only the religion of Ibrahim, Hanif (Islamic Monotheism), and he was not of Al-Mushrikin (those who worshipped others along with Allah. )
Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn `Abbas said that `Abdullah bin Suriya Al-A`war said to the Messenger of Allah, "The guidance is only what we (Jews) follow. Therefore, follow us, O Muhammad, and you will be rightly guided.'' Also, the Christians said similarly, so Allah revealed,
﴿وَقَالُواْ كُونُواْ هُودًا أَوْ نَصَـرَى تَهْتَدُواْ﴾
(And they say, "Be Jews or Christians, then you will be guided.'') Allah's statement,
﴿قُلْ بَلْ مِلَّةَ إِبْرَهِيمَ حَنِيفًا﴾
(Say (to them O Muhammad ), "Nay, (we follow) only the religion of Ibrahim, Hanif) means, "We do not need the Judaism or Christianity that you call us to, rather,
﴿مِلَّةَ إِبْرَهِيمَ حَنِيفاً﴾
((we follow) only the religion of Ibrahim, Hanif) meaning, on the straight path, as Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi and `Isa bin Jariyah stated. Also, Abu Qilabah said, "The Hanif is what the Messengers, from beginning to end, believed in.'')
﴿قُولُواْ ءَامَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَى إِبْرَهِيمَ وَإِسْمَـعِيلَ وَإِسْحَـقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالأَسْبَاطِ وَمَآ أُوتِىَ مُوسَى وَعِيسَى وَمَآ أُوتِيَ النَّبِيُّونَ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ لاَ نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّنْهُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ ﴾
(136. Say (O Muslims): "We believe in Allah and that which has been sent down to us and that which has been sent down to Ibrahim (Abraham), Isma`il (Ishmael), Ishaq (Isaac), Ya`qub (Jacob), and to Al-Asbat (the offspring of the twelve sons of Ya`qub), and that which has been given to Musa (Moses) and `Isa (Jesus), and that which has been given to the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we have submitted (in Islam).'')