وَالسَّابِقُونَ السَّابِقُونَ (And the Foremost are the foremost....56:10) Imam Ahmad (رح) ، has recorded a Tradition on the authority of Sayyidah ` A'ishah Siddiqah ؓ that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ asked the noble Companions ؓ : "Do you know who will be the first to be accommodated in the Divine Shade on the Day of Resurrection?" The noble Companions ؓ replied: اللہُ وَ رَسُولُہ اَعلَم "Allah and His Messenger know best." The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: "They are those who accept the truth when it is presented to them; when they are asked for the rights due from them, they fulfill them; and they judge about the matters of others as they would judge about themselves."
Mujahid says that As-sabiqun (the Foremost) refers to 'the Prophets'. Ibn Sirin says that it refers to early Muslims who performed their prayers facing the two qiblas, namely, baytul-maqdis and baitulllah. Hasan and Qatadah رحمۃ اللہ علیہما say that in every Ummah there will be As-sabiqun. Some of the commentators express the view that they are people who go first to the mosque.
Ibn-Kathir (رح) cites all these views and concludes that they are all correct and authentic in their own right. The opinions are not in conflict with one another, because As-sabiqun are those who must have been foremost in their invincible faith and righteous deeds in this world, and as such they would be the 'Foremost' in the Hereafter in terms of reward which will befit their faith and good deeds.