7:38 He will say: “You enter in the company of people who have gone before you from among the jinn and men into the Fire.” Every time a community enters, it will condemn its sister; until they have all successively come into it, the later ones of them will say about their former ones: “Our Rabb! they caused us to go astray, so give them double the chastisement of the Fire.” He will say: “For each is double, but you do not know.”
7:38 The term sister indicates the fellow communities. Some commentators indicated the later ones and former ones indicates the sequence in time as they enter the Fire. However, it appears, based on the sequence of the verse where one is accusing the other for leading them astray, the later ones indicates the later generations or the followers and former ones indicate the previous generations or the leaders. Interestingly those who are currently identified as ‘later one’, over a time will become the ‘former ones’ to the posterity. The mode of their accusation indicates the later ones were blindly following (taqlid) the former ones, without applying reasoning and understanding the justification for such obedience. The metaphor of this verse is used to squarely condemn the practice blindly following religious authorities in the matter of faith (2:170; 5:104; 23:24; 26:74; 31:21; 37:69-70; 43:22). In this metaphor each group is entitled to double punishment for blindly following the previous group and in turn misleading the posterity (6:161; 16:25; 29:13; 33:67-68; 38:61).