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Sura 56
Aya 14
وَقَليلٌ مِنَ الآخِرينَ

Ali Unal

And a few from the later (generations).1
  • As suggested in 52: 21 and explained in note 2 to this verse, particularly at the beginning of a new movement of faith launched by the Prophets and their true successors, those who attain faith first of all are generally more valued in God’s sight and will be the foremost in enjoying Paradise. They have outstripped others in believing and supporting God’s cause at a time when supporting it was the most difficult, and, therefore, suffered greater hardships than those that followed. They are usually more sincere in their faith and more devoted to God and His cause. A few people can reach their rank from among the later generations. This is also indicated in verse 9: 100, which gives the greatest rank to the first among the Emigrants and the Helpers. God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, said that the best among his Community were his Companions, and then those who appeared among the first generation to follow them, and then those among the second generation— this is, of course, when one’s virtues are considered in general terms. There may always be in later generations those that outstrip the virtuous ones of the preceding generations in certain particular virtues. But in general terms, the best of all generations are the Prophet’s Companions, and then the second generation who followed them, and then the third generation who followed the latter.