A Surface view of the subject may suggest to someone that this should not be the place to mention Muslims because they are in their faith and through their obedience at the stage desired in the verse. In other words, the occasion here calls for the mention of only those who are supposed to be pursuaded to enter the fold of Islam. But, what we have here is a special mode of eloquence employed by the Qur'an. It is like the law promulgated by the highest imaginable authority saying that it is for everyone, in favour or in opposition, bringing reward for the law-abiding and punishment for the law-breaking. It is obvious that those in favour are already obedient. The purpose is to make those in the opposing camp hear it. The particular element of wisdom behind mentioning those already in favour is that they are being told here that they are being appreciated not because of any personal or group excellence of theirs but simply because of their quality of obedience to their Creator. If the dissenter in the opposing camp were to take to the path of obedience to his Creator, he too will deserve the same grace and reward.
There is No Salvation (Najat) without Belief
in Prophethood ('Iman-bir-Risalat)
The set of instructions given in the address to these four Traditional Religious Communities is divided in three parts: (a) Iman bil-lah : Belief in Allah (b) 'Iman bil-yowmil-akhir : Belief in the Last Day (c) and Al-'Amalus-Salih: Good deeds.
It is obvious that the intention in this verse is not to give the entire details of Islam's articles of faith, nor is there any occasion for it. By mentioning some basic beliefs of Islam here, the aim is to point out to all Islamic beliefs, and to invite people to them nor is it something so necessary that whenever 'Iman or faith is mentioned in a verse, all details about it should also be mentioned right there. Therefore, the absence of a clearly emphasized mention of the faith in the Messenger or Prophet at this place should have not given anyone having the least commonsense and justice the room to entertain any doubt specially, when the whole Qur'an and hundreds of its verses are brimming with clear statements about belief in the Risalah. Present there are loud and clear assertions that there is no Najat (salvation) without believing in the Rasul (Messenger of Allah) and the sayings of the Rasul fully and completely, and that no belief and action is acceptable or valid without it. But, a group of deviators, which insists on thrusting its repugnant ideas in the Qur'an somehow, has come up with a new theory based on the absence of an explicit mention of prophethood in this verse which is absolutely contrary to so many open assertions of the Qur'an and Sunnah. They theorize that every person, despite his religion, a Jew or Christian, even an idol-worshipping Hindu could deserve salvation in the Hereafter - if he believes only in Allah and the Last Day and does good deeds. For final salvation (as they would prefer) entry in Islam is not necessary. (Na'udhu-bil-lah : Refuge with Allah!).
People whom Allah has blessed with the Taufiq of reciting the Qur'an and having true faith in it would not need some major knowledge or insight to help them remove this doubt which even they could do through these very clear statements. Even readers of the Qur'an with the help of authentic translations could understand the falsity of this kind of theorizing. Some verses are being given here as an example.
The place where the Holy Qur'an has described the articles of faith ('Iman) in details appears at the end of Surah al-Baqarah as follows:
كُلٌّ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّن رُّسُلِهِ
... All have believed in Allah, and His angels, and His Books, and His Messengers. (in a way that) "We make no difference between any of His Messengers,"and they have said ... (2:285).
Within the details of 'Iman (faith) described clearly in this verse, it has also been clarified that believing in any one or some Messengers is absolutely insufficient for salvation. Instead of that, believing in all Messengers is a binding condition. If anyone does not believe even in one single Messenger, his or her 'Iman shall not be valid and acceptable in the sight of Allah.
At another place, it is said:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْفُرُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَيُرِيدُونَ أَن يُفَرِّقُوا بَيْنَ اللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَيَقُولُونَ نُؤْمِنُ بِبَعْضٍ وَنَكْفُرُ بِبَعْضٍ وَيُرِيدُونَ أَن يَتَّخِذُوا بَيْنَ ذَٰلِكَ سَبِيلًا
أُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ حَقًّا ۚ وَأَعْتَدْنَا لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابًا مُّهِينًا
Surely those who disbelievein Allah and His Messengers, and wish to make division between Allah and His Messengers, and say, "We believe in some, and disbelieve in some" and wish to take a way in between that. Those are the disbelievers in reality ... (4:151).
The Holy Prophet (SM) has said:
لو كان موسى حيا لما وسعه الا اتباعي
Had Musa (SM) been alive, he would have had no choice but to follow me.
Now, if someone were to say: 'Let the followers of every religion keep acting according to their respective religions. Thus, they can find Paradise and achieve salvation in the Hereafter without having to believe in the Holy Prophet (SM) and without having to become Muslims!' this would, then, be a flagrant disregard of the verses cited above.
In addition to that, if every religion or community is something acting according to which in every age is sufficient for ultimate success and salvation, then, the coming of the Last among Prophets and the revelation of the Qur'an itself becomes meaningless. The sending of one Shari'ah after the other also becomes redundant. The first Messenger would have brought one Shari'ah and one Book. That would have been sufficient. What need was there to send other Messengers, Shari'ahs and Books? At the most, sufficient would have been the presence of people who would have preserved the Shari'ah and the Book, practiced it themselves and pursuaded others to do the same as has been the duty of the 'Ulama of every community. This, then, would be a situation in which the words of the Qur'an: لِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مِنكُمْ شِرْعَةً وَمِنْهَاجًا (For each of you We have made a way and a method - 5:48) will lose their meaning.