Thursday 20 June 2024

Responding to Misinterpretation of Qur'an: Prophet of Muslims did not know what will be done to him

Every other day I  read I come across objections and lies about Islam based on misinterpretation of verses of Qur'an only the purpose of point scoring and let down Islam and its Prophet (Muhammad ﷺ). Today we share yet another objection on Prophet Muhammad ﷺ as given below:
Such accusations are made when one is not well read and carried out adequate research to know why this verse was revealed in Qur'an and under what circumstances. From the face of it the verse shows that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was a blind man who did not know what will become of him nor his followers, who as per objections are also considered as blind, thus a blind leading the blind to fall into a pit.

Now let us go step by step. First let me reproduce the 9th verse of Surah 46. Al Ahqaf which is being referred to:

( 9 )   Say, "I am not something original among the messengers, nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I only follow that which is revealed to me, and I am not but a clear warner."

To understand verse 9, we need to know the background: 

When the Prophet (peace be upon him) presented himself as Allah’s Messenger, the people of Makkah raised different kinds of objections against it. They said: What kind of a Messenger he is who has a family, who moves about in the streets, eats and drinks and lives a common man’s life. There is nothing special about him, which might distinguish him above the other people and therefore we may know that Allah has specially made this man His Messenger. Then they said: Had he ban appointed a Messenger by God, He would have sent an angel as an attendant with him who would have announced that he was God’s Messenger, and would have punished with a scourge every such person who had behaved insolently towards him. How strange that God should appoint a person as His Messenger and then should leave him alone to roam the streets of Makkah and suffer every kind of humiliation. If nothing else Allah should at least have created a magnificent palace and a blooming garden for His Messenger. He should not have been left to depend on his wife’s resources. Besides, these people demanded different kinds of miracles from him and asked news of the unseen. They thought that a person’s being God’s Messenger meant that he should possess supernatural powers to turn deserts at once turn into green fields. He should have the knowledge of the past and the future events and of everything hidden from others.

An answer to the same has been given in these sentences, and each sentence contains a world of meaning:

First, it is said: Tell them, I am not a novel Messenger. That is, my being appointed as a Messenger is not a novel event of its kind in the world so that you may have some confusion about the characteristics of a Messenger. Many Messengers have come to the world before me, and I am not any different from them. Never has a Messenger come who did not live a common man’s life. Never has an angel descended as an attendant with a Messenger, heralding his prophet-hood and carrying a whip before him. Never have gardens and palaces been created for a Messenger and never has a Messenger been spared of the hardships which I am suffering. Never has a Messenger shown a miracle by his own power, or known everything by his own knowledge. Then, how is it that you are bringing forth these strange criteria only to judge my Prophethood?

Now coming over the above quoted misinterpretation and its answer:

Then it is said: Tell them also, I do not know what shall befall you tomorrow nor what shall befall me. I am not a knower of the unseen so that everything of the past and present and future should be known to me, and I should have the knowledge of everything in the world. Not to speak of your future, I do not even know my own future. I only know that of which I am given knowledge by revelation. It is not a Messenger’s job to tell the whereabouts of the lost articles, or tell whether a pregnant woman will deliver a boy or a girl, or whether a sick patient will live or die

In conclusion, it is said: Say to them, I am no more than a plain warner. That is, I do not possess divine powers so that I may show you the wonderful miracles that you demand from me every next day. My only mission is that I should present the right way before the people, and should warn of an evil end those who do not accept it

Let me explain the above said verse again to make it more clear to understand and shun any misunderstanding germination in some minds. This verse emphasizes several key aspects of the prophetic mission of Muhammad (ﷺ) and his role in the broader context of divine revelation.

Key Points
Continuity with Previous Messengers:

The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) is instructed to say that he is not a new or unique phenomenon among the messengers. This means he is part of a long line of prophets who came before him, delivering the same essential message of monotheism and submission to Allah.

This emphasizes the continuity of the message of Islam with previous revelations given to prophets like Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus (peace be upon them all).

Limited Knowledge of the Unseen:

The Prophet (ﷺ) acknowledges that he does not have knowledge of the unseen, including what will happen to him or to his people in the future. This underscores the human aspect of the Prophet and distinguishes him from Allah, who is the only knower of the unseen.

This is a reminder that ultimate knowledge and decision-making lie with Allah alone.

Adherence to Revelation:

The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) declares that he follows only what is revealed to him by Allah. His teachings and actions are based on divine guidance rather than personal opinions or desires. This stresses the importance of the Quran and Sunnah as the primary sources of guidance for Muslims.

Role as a Warner:

The verse concludes by describing the Prophet (ﷺ) as a "clear warner." His primary role is to warn people about the consequences of their actions and to call them to the worship of Allah alone. The term "clear warner" indicates that his message is straightforward, clear, and meant to be understood by all.

Implications for Muslims (and everyone else) to understand Qur'an and the wisdom of Divine Revelations:

Following the Prophet's Example:

Muslims are encouraged to follow the example of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) by adhering strictly to the Quran and Sunnah, recognizing that these are the true sources of guidance.

Humility and Reliance on Allah:

The verse teaches humility by showing that even the Prophet (ﷺ) does not possess knowledge of the unseen or control over future events. This should inspire Muslims to place their trust and reliance on Allah.

Unity of the Prophetic Message:

Understanding that Muhammad (ﷺ) is part of a long line of messengers highlights the unity of the message of all prophets, fostering a sense of continuity and respect for previous scriptures and prophets.

To sum up, this verse serves as a profound reminder of the Prophet Muhammad’s (ﷺ) place within the prophetic tradition, his adherence to divine revelation, and his role as a warner. It calls Muslims to follow the clear and revealed guidance, remain humble, and trust in Allah’s ultimate knowledge and wisdom. And that they should never take any of the previous prophets / messengers and Prophet Muhammad’s (ﷺ) as well to take them as fortune tellers and predicting the events yet to unfold. The followers of any prophet / messenger should try to understand the warnings being sounded by them, as directed by the Lord of the universe, the one and the only God Almighty without any associates, Muslims call Allah. If one has the wisdom to object, then one should have the wisdom to first carryout a research of the information about a particular religion and then raise an objection, rather than misinterpreting an information based on no or very shallow knowledge.

So let no one deceive about Islam by lies, misinformation and disinformation. Islam provides the easiest access to Allah without any intermediary to speak to Him, repent one's sins and seek forgiveness.
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

You may read more posts on countering / responding to lies / misinformation and disinformation about Islam: The Rebuttal: Countering disinformation being spread about Islam (Reference Page)

You may also refer to our Reference Pages  and Understanding Al Qur'an for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Disclaimer: The material for this post has been collected from the references given above. If anyone differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

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