This is 4:159
وَإِن مِّنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ إِلاَّ لَيُؤْمِنَنَّ بِهِ قَبْلَ مَوْتِهِ وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يَكُونُ عَلَيْهِمْ شَهِيدًا
Wain min ahli alkitabi illa layuminanna bihi qabla mawtihi wayawma alqiyamati yakoonu AAalayhim shaheedan
The Aya says:
And not one of the people of the book will be excepted from becoming safe in him before his death. And on the day of Judgment he will happen to be a witness upon them.
My personal note:
The Aya here has an interesting structure. It mentions “him” here. The him in “safe in him” returns to Jesus (pbuh) who was mentioned in the previous Ayat and therefore the Aya asserts that all the people of the book, Jews and Christians, will have the proper belief in Jesus before his death.
The “His death” points to the death of Jesus mainly, but one can also understand it as “before the death of the person of the book”. One can use this Aya as a point against the people that claim that Jesus was not crucified but died a natural death. If this understanding is correct, then he will die later. If one is to also understand “His death” as the death of the person of the book, then some of them will believe in him when it is too late, as in the belief of pharaoh at the time of his death, while others will believe in him in appropriate time but others were not aware. This can explain why we do not hear about all of them believing in him. However, the people of Tafsirs considered this understanding less likely.
The “He will be witness” goes back to Jesus himself because each prophet is a witness upon his people on the day of Judgment. It can also apply, but to a lesser extent to any person with proper belief.
So, the Aya is talking about Jesus (pbuh) in all the “HEs”, while some of the “He” may potentially apply to others, but that is not as certain and within some limits. If the “he” applies to others then that will be in addition to Jesus and not as an alternative to Jesus.
Translation of the transliterated words:
Wain: and indeed
Min: from/ of
Ahli: people of
Note: the root is Hamza-H-L and one concrete meaning of the word is the fat that surrounds the back of the animal. It is used conceptually to mean family or any of the people that are closely associated with the entity being discussed. This could be because they are like the fat as in they engulf and protect and so forth and gain protection at the same time. AHLI means people of or family of.
Alkitabi: the book
Note: the root K-T-B and it means putting things together as in grouping the herd together or closing the lips or writing (the most common use), because in writing, one puts the letters and the ideas together. ALKITABA means, the process of writing or the book or anything related to it from the ideas to the ink and paper to the place where all is put together.
Illa: if not/ except
Note: this is a term of exception. It literally means if not, but can be used for any exception as well. The form of the sentence IN MIN--- ILLA carries the meaning of “not one of this group is an exception”--- or all will, but with greater emphasis.
Layuminanna: will indeed make himself safe
Note: the root is Hamza-M-N and it means safety. Conceptually, it can also be extended to trust as well, because we feel safe in the entity we trust. LAYUMINANNA is an action that is being completed or will be completed. It means: the action of making oneself safe is happening or will be happening by the subject (third person singular) with emphasis.
Bihi: by him
Note: Bi suggests that what comes after it is either an association with the action, a tool of the action or an object of the action or any combination of the three. If bi serves as an object of the action that it serves as an emphasis of the action. HI means him and it points to Proper belief in Jesus.
Mawtihi: his death
Note: the root is M-W-T and it means death or the opposite of life or the lack of voluntary movement. MAWTI means the death of. HI means him and this has the potential of pointing to Jesus’ death or the death of the person who will believe in him or both.
Wayawma: and day of
Note: WA is a letter that links what is before with what is after. This link is through inclusion, either one is included in the other or they are all included in the bigger sentence or bigger picture. WA often corresponds with “and/ addition” but the more encompassing meaning is in inclusion one in another or all in a bigger picture or sentence. YAWMA is derived from the root Y-W-M and it means day. YAWMA means day of.
Alqiyamati: the standing/ the rising
Note: the root is Q-W-M and it means standing upright. ALQIYAMATI is the standing upright or upright standing. This is a term that is used for the day of judgment because we all stand in front of GOD. YAWMA ALQIYAMATI is the judgment day.
Yakoonu: will be/ happen to be
Note: the root is K-W-N and it means being. YAKOONU is an action that is being completed or will be completed that is derived from the root. It means: the action of being is happening or will be happening by the subject (third personal singular). This in turn means, in this context: He will be or will happen to be
AAalayhim: upon them
Note: SHAHEED is derived from the root SH-H-D and it means witnessing of truth and it also denotes that the witness knows very well what he or she is witnessing about. The concrete meaning is the honey mixed with wax therefore the wax is the witness of the truth that the honey is the honey. Another concrete meaning is the baby that was just born and is covered with a membrane. In both, there is close association which is proof or witness of the fact. SHAHEEDAN means witness or witnessing.
Salaam all and have a great day.