Tafsir / The Prophet Muhammad

“Mercy to the Worlds: The Prophet Muhammad”

“The Mercy to the Worlds:

Tafsir of Surat al-Anbiya’ Verse 107”

***

The Creator of the heavens and the earths emphatically declares for all to know until the end of time: {And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds}.

Commentary:

قوله تعالى: { وما أرسلناكَ إِلا رحمة للعالَمين } قال ابن عباس: هذا عامّ للبَرِّ والفاجر، فمن آمن به تمت له الرحمة في الدنيا والآخرة، ومن كفر به صُرفت عنه العقوبة إِلى الموت والقيامة. وقال ابن زيد: هو رحمة لمن آمن به خاصة.

“Regarding Allah Most High saying {And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds} Ibn `Abbas said: ‘He was sent for everyone whether pious or impious. So, whoever believes in him, he will have that mercy completely in both this world and the next. Whoever disbelieves in him, he will be the recipient of punishment will await him upon death and on the Day of Judgment’. Ibn Zayd said: He is a mercy only to the believers…”[1]

  • Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi comments:

أما قوله تعالى: { وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَـٰكَ إِلاَّ رَحْمَةً لّلْعَـٰلَمِينَ } ففيه مسائل:

المسألة الأولى: أنه عليه السلام كان رحمة في الدين وفي الدنيا، أما في الدين فلأنه عليه السلام بعث والناس في جاهلية وضلالة، وأهل الكتابين كانوا في حيرة من أمر دينهم لطول مكثهم وانقطاع تواترهم ووقوع الاختلاف في كتبهم فبعث الله تعالى محمداً صلى الله عليه وسلم حين لم يكن لطالب الحق سبيل إلى الفوز والثواب، فدعاهم إلى الحق وبين لهم سبيل الثواب، وشرع لهم الأحكام وميز الحلال من الحرام، ثم إنما ينتفع بهذه الرحمة من كانت همته طلب الحق فلا يركن إلى التقليد ولا إلى العناد والإستكبار وكان التوفيق قريناً له قال الله تعالى: {قُلْ هُوَ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ هُدًى وَشِفَاء} إلى قولهوَهُوَ عَلَيْهِمْ عَمًى { فصلت: 44 وأما في الدنيا فلأنهم تخلصوا بسببه من كثير من الذل والقتال والحروب ونصروا ببركة دينه. فإن قيل: كيف كان رحمة وقد جاء بالسيف واستباحة الأموال؟ قلنا: الجواب من وجوه: أحدها: إنما جاء بالسيف لمن استكبر وعاند ولم يتفكر ولم يتدبر، ومن أوصاف الله الرحمن الرحيم، ثم هو منتقم من العصاة. وقال} وَنَزَّلْنَا مِنَ ٱلسَّمَاء مَاء مُّبَـٰرَكاً [ق: 9 ثم قد يكون سبباً للفساد.

“Regarding the saying of The Most High: {And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds}[2], there are a number discussions. The first discussion is that he (upon him be peace) was a mercy in both religion and life. As for him being a mercy in the religious sense (upon him be peace), this is because He was sent to a people who were steeped in ignorance and misguidance and the people of the previous scriptures were in confusion regarding their religion due to their prolonged disputes and differences regarding their own scriptures. Hence Allah Most High delivered from among them Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) at a time when there was no route for a seeker of the Truth to find salvation and reward. So, the Prophet called them to the Truth, clarified the path to reward, legislated laws for them and distinguished between what was lawful (halal) and what was unlawful (haram). Only he who has strong aspiration and zeal for the Truth will benefit from this mercy without relying on merely following without thought or evidence (taqlid), or obstinacy and arrogance […] As for him being a mercy in the life or this world, then this is because through him the Muslims averted and eliminated much humiliation, subjugation, fighting and war and were aided and given victory by the divine blessing in his religion. If it is asked, ‘how can mercy be realised by the sword and permission to take another’s wealth?’ then we can reply from a number of angles. One of them is that the sword was only brought against those who were arrogant, haughty and obstinate and chose not to think or reflect. Of the Attributes of Allah are ‘Rahman’ and ‘Rahim’ which involves exacting punishment on the iniquitous and sinners. And He Most High says {and We have sent down the rain as a blessing…}[3] which can sometimes be used to cause corruption”[4]

Notes:

  • The best of creation was sent at a time of great confusion and lack of clarity and distinctness among the existing religious traditions in Arabia. The same holds for today where people are in confusion and uncertainty over the principles underlying the capitalist system and its values to take humanity forward. They clearly see the exploitation of the poor, maximisation of profit at the expense of the population, enrichment of multinational companies, the unfair distribution and circulation of wealth and the illusion of freedom. The need for the Prophet’s message therefore is more urgent than ever before.
  • The Prophet was sent at a time when sincere seekers of the Truth had no clear path to salvation and everlasting reward being surrounded and beset from all sides by iniquity, tyranny, a multitude of truth claims, ways of life, belief systems, value systems and viewpoints. He delivered Arabia from this predicament and this same message is therefore more urgently needed now for humanity than ever before.
  • The Prophet comprehensively clarified what was lawful and unlawful, unethical and ethical, virtuous and non-virtuous. This he grounded in the commandments of Allah inspired to Him. What Allah put as the standard is what he propagated to the people and brought them to accept and apply. This again is what is urgently needed today to replace the prevalent thought and practice where the minds and predilection of human beings are the standards of morality and law deciding the values, direction and regulation of human belief, activity and purpose to the standards of Allah and His beloved Messenger.
  • Part of the Prophet’s mercy is the obligation of militarily removing obstacles to the path of exporting Islam to the rest of the world. This also leads to the removal of subjugation, oppression, injustice and tyranny replacing it with the justice of Islam. This mercy of “qital” as understood by the classical scholars is often maligned, misunderstood and in need of elaboration – especially in cases where western  nations with a colonial history intervened to occupy and subvert resource-rich nations and are replaying the same agenda at present but under various pretexts.
  • Therefore, to gain the mercy of the Prophet means to fully accept the message that he brought and to propagate Islam to the rest of the world as the only alternative for humanity to live by.

Peace and blessings be upon Our Beloved Prophet.

The conduit of Divine Mercy,

Upon his family, companions and all who followd them

Until the Last Day.

s.z.c.

 

 


[1] Ibn al-al-Jawzi, Zad al-Masir, 2:33.

[2] See al-Anbiya’:107.

[3] See Qaf:9.

[4] al-Razi, Mafatih al-Ghayb, 3:200.

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