17 إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالصَّابِئِينَ وَالنَّصَارَىٰ وَالْمَجُوسَ وَالَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَفْصِلُ بَيْنَهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ
Transliteration 17: Inna allatheena amanoo waallatheena hadoo waalssabieena waalnnasara waalmajoosa waallatheena ashrakoo inna Allaha yafsilu baynahum yawma alqiyamati inna Allaha AAala kulli shayin shaheed
Yusuf Ali 17: Those who believe (in the Qur’an), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians, Christians, Magians, and Polytheists,- Allah will judge between them on the Day of Judgment: for Allah is witness of all things.
بے شک الله مسلمانوں اور یہودیوں اور صابیوں اور عیسائیوں اورمجوسیوں اور مشرکوں میں قیامت کے دن فیصلہ کرے گا بےشک ہر چیز الله کے سامنے ہے
TAFSEER By Dr. Farhat Hashmi (my comments in parentheses)
The people described in this ayah are the those who believe in the Quran (Muslims), Jews هَادُوا derived from the word Howdan: “those who were ashamed”: i.e. those who were ashamed of worshipping the calf (jews) (and returned to the message of Moses to worship only one God), Sabians who worshipped stars, Magians who were fire worshippers (two Gods: one good and one bad) and those who committed shirk (polytheists),
Originally all of these groups were on one path, (Ummatul Wahida) but after their messengers left they left their path and became divided into separate paths. Each of them considers the other as the one who has strayed from the path of Allah.
Thus Allah Subhanawataala says that He will decide between them on the Day of Judgment.
If a group of people believe only in Allah and only ask Him as the only source of help exclusively these people remain as one united group, as they have one focus, one source of help and a harmony of belief in One God when things go right or wrong.
However when people go to different deities, people, worldly powers to seek help and forget the single power as the source of our help, our survival and destruction, they become divided into sections based on which group they are seeking help from and how much they rely on it instead of the One God.
Thus they divide into groups and based on their worldly success or belief in the power of the deity or deities they rely upon (be that intelligence, looks, color or resources) begin to believe that they are better and right compared to others, which then leads to then disagreement and oppression.
This divisiveness is based on a sense of arrogance or superiority stemming from the false confidence that these groups have placed in the means that Allah has provided them with, while forgetting the source, i.e. the Provider Himself.
They forget that Allah is Almighty and that all power rests with Him. Sectarianism, superiority based on the feeling that a group is “the chosen people” or that God will only rescue one group through Rapture are all results of a lack of sincere faith that there is only one God, not several: Not his mine and yours. There is only one and He has ultimate power over everyone.
This connects with ayahs 22: 11-13 which mention people who remain at the outer edge of faith and become dependant on saints, dead holy people, superstitions, magic etc for their well being and start relying on these things which slowly but surely acquire the position of little gods in their life.
(The divisions in the current world are based on a sense of superiority that “we are the best” a lack of faith that there is one God who will judge us on the Day of Judgment and the leniency given to each of us in our actions in this world does not mean that on the final Day we will not have to account for each and every action that we did or not do)
Allah, The One God will be the Judge over everyone: those who follow the Quran, those who follow the Jewish scripture, the Sabeans, the Christians the Magians and the Polytheists.
We are reminded that He is witness to everything, everyone, everywhere, every moment and is the final Judge.