People were one community; then God sent forth the prophets as bear- ers of good tidings and warners; and He revealed with them the scripture with the truth that He might decide between people regarding their differences; and only those who had been given it differed about it after the clear proofs had come to them out of insolence, one to another; then God guided those who believed to the truth, regarding which they were at variance, by His leave; and God guides whomever He will to a straight path.
It means that they were united by what they did not know of the truth. Then when He sent the messengers, they were distinguished by what they were given or deprived of from the lights of insight. It is said that they were as they had been previously in the pre-eternal choosing, and [they only] became the Jewish people and the Christian people with the coming of the messengers. In the end, each one will be returned to what was preordained for him. Verily all mankind was gathered together in His (سبحانه) knowl- edge, and then separated by His decree (ḥukm). Some people He guided (hadāhum) and some He led astray (aghwāhum). Some people He veiled (ḥajabahum) and some He attracted (jadhabahum). Some people He bound to disappointment (khidhlān) and some He opened to beneficence (iḥsān). It is not a matter of acquisition for those who are accepted, nor is there a cause for the rejection of those rejected. Rather it is a decree (ḥukm) that has been completed and a [divine] determination (qaḌāÌ) that has been settled.