Will you explain the following verse: "But those who reject faith after they accepted it, and then go on adding to their defiance of faith,―never will their repentance be accepted; for they are those who have gone astray." (Aali Imran, 3/90)

Details of the Question
Will you explain the following verse: "But those who reject faith after they accepted it, and then go on adding to their defiance of faith,―never will their repentance be accepted; for they are those who have gone astray." (Aali Imran, 3/90)
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

"But those who reject faith after they accepted it, and then go on adding to their defiance of faith,―never will their repentance be accepted; for they are those who have gone astray."(Aali Imran, 3/90)

Tafsir scholars explained the verse above in different ways.

Qatada, Hasan al-Basri and Ata al-Khurasani say the people mentioned in the verse are Jews. For, they believed in Moses (Musa) (pbuh) first, became unbelievers by denying Jesus (Isa) (pbuh) and went too far by denying Muhammad (pbuh). The verse above states that their repentance will not be accepted because they will not surrender to the truth and repent before they are at death's door and the repentance at death's door will be of no use. As a matter of fact, the following is stated in another verse:  

"Of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil, until death faces one of them, and he says; "Now have I repented indeed"; nor of those who die rejecting Faith: for them have We prepared a punishment most grievous."

According to another view reported from Rabi' and Abu Aliya, those mentioned in the verse above are the ones who believed in the previous prophets but denied Muhammad (pbuh) and increased their sins after that. Their repentance for their sins will not be accepted if they keep denying.

According to another view reported from Ikrima and Ibn Jurayj, what is meant by the ones mentioned in the verse are those who believed in their prophet first but became unbelievers after that and increased their denial. If they die as unbelievers, their previous belief and repentance when they become believers will not be accepted. For, they became unbelievers in the end and died as deniers.  

According to Suddi, what is meant by the ones mentioned in the verse are those who become unbelievers after becoming believers and who continue unbelieving afterwards and die as deniers by increasing their denial. Their repentance at death's door will not be accepted.

It is unanimously agreed by reliable scholars that it is promised by Allah that the repentance of a person who is alive will be accepted. If an unbeliever repents just before he dies, he is treated as a Muslim. For instance, his janazah prayer is performed; his inheritance is distributed in accordance with the law of Islam.

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