Allah points out the proof of the prophethood of Muhammad, whereby he told others about matters of the past, and spoke about them as if he were hearing and seeing them for himself. But he was an illiterate man who could not read books, and he grew up among a people who knew nothing of such things. Similarly, Allah told him about Maryam and her story, as Allah said:
(You were not with them, when they cast lots with their pens as to which of them should be charged with the care of Maryam; nor were you with them when they disputed) (3:44), meaning, `you were not present then, but Allah has revealed this to you.' Similarly, Allah told him about Nuh and his people, and how He saved Nuh and drowned his people, then He said:
(This is of the news of the Unseen which We reveal unto you; neither you nor your people knew it before this. So, be patient. Surely, the (good) end is for those who have Taqwa) (11:49). And at the end of the same Surah (Hud) Allah says:
(That is some of the news of the towns which We relate unto you) (11: 100). And here, after telling the story of Musa from beginning to end and how Allah began His revelation to him and spoke with him, Allah says:
(And you were not on the western side (of the Mount), when We made clear to Musa the commandment,) meaning, `you -- O Muhammad -- were not on the western side of the mountain where Allah spoke to Musa from the tree which was to the east of it, in the valley.'
(and you were not among the witnesses.) `to that event, but Allah has revealed this to you,' so that it may be evidence and proof of events which happened centuries ago, for people have forgotten the evidence that Allah established against them and what was revealed to the earlier Prophets.
(And you were not a dweller among the people of Madyan, reciting Our Ayat to them.) meaning, `you were not living among the people of Madyan reciting Our Ayat to them, when you started to tell about Our Prophet Shu`ayb and what he said to his people and how they responded.'
(But it is We Who kept sending. ) means, `but We revealed that to you and sent you to mankind as a Messenger.'
(And you were not at the side of At-Tur when We called.) Qatadah said that:
(And you were not at the side of At-Tur when We did call.) refers to Musa, and this -- and Allah knows best -- is like the Ayah:
(And you were not on the western side (of the Mount), when We made clear to Musa the commandment,) Here Allah puts it in a different and more specific way by describing it as a call. This is like the Ayat:
(And (remember) when your Lord called Musa) (26:10).
(When his Lord called him in the sacred valley of Tuwa) (79:16).
(And We called him from the right side of At-Tur, and made him draw near to Us for a talk with him) (19:52).
(But (you are sent) as a mercy from your Lord,) means, `you were not a witness to any of those things, but Allah has revealed them to you and told you about them as a mercy from Him to you and to His servants, by sending you to them,'
(to give warning to a people to whom no warner had come before you, in order that they may remember or receive admonition.) means, `so that they may be guided by that which you bring from Allah.'
(And if (We had) not (sent you to the people of Makkah) -- in case a calamity should seize them for (the deeds) that their hands have sent forth, they would have said: "Our Lord! Why did You not send us a Messenger) meaning: `and We have sent you to them to establish proof against them, and to give them no excuse when the punishment of Allah comes to them because of their disbelief, lest they offer the excuse that no Messenger or warner came to them.' This is like what Allah says about the situation after He revealed His blessed Book the Qur'an:
(Lest you should say: "The Book was sent down only to two sects before us, and for our part, we were in fact unaware of what they studied.'' Or lest you should say: "If only the Book had been sent down to us, we would surely have been better guided than they.'' So, now has come unto you a clear proof from your Lord, and a guidance and a mercy) (6:156-157).
(Messengers as bearers of good news as well as warning in order that mankind should have no plea against Allah after the Messengers) (4:165).
(O People of the Scripture! Now has come to you Our Messenger making (things) clear unto you, after a break in (the series of) Messengers, lest you say: "There came unto us no bringer of glad tidings and no warner.'' But now has come unto you a bringer of glad tidings and a warner) (5:19). And there are many similar Ayat.
(48. But when the truth has come to them from Us, they say: "Why is he not given the like of what was given to Musa Did they not disbelieve in that which was given to Musa of old'' They say: "Two kinds of magic, each helping the other!'' And they say: "Verily, in both we are disbelievers.'' (49. Say: "Then bring a Book from Allah, which is a better guide than these two, that I may follow it, if you are truthful.'') (50. But if they answer you not, then know that they only follow their own lusts. And who is more astray than one who follows his own lusts, without guidance from Allah Verily, Allah guides not the people who are wrongdoers.) (51. And indeed now We have conveyed the Word to them, in order that they may remember.)
Allah tells us that if people were to be punished before proof was established against them, they would use the excuse that no Messenger came to them, but when the truth did come to them through Muhammad, in their stubbornness, disbelief, ignorance and misguided thinking, they said:
(Why is he not given the like of what was given to Musa) Meaning -- and Allah knows best -- many signs like the staff, the hand, the flood, the locusts, the lice, the frogs, the blood, the destruction of crops and fruits -- which made things difficult for the enemies of Allah -- and the parting of the sea, the clouds (following the Children of Israel in the wilderness and) shading them, the manna and quails, and other clear signs and definitive proof, miracles which Allah wrought at the hands of Musa as evidence and proof against Fir`awn and his chiefs and the Children of Israel. But all of this had no effect on Fir`awn and his chiefs; on the contrary, they denied Musa and his brother Harun, as Allah tells us:
(Have you come to us to turn us away from what we found our fathers following, and that you two may have greatness in the land We are not going to believe you two!) (10:78)
(So they denied them both and became of those who were destroyed.) (23:48)
Allah says here:
(Did they not disbelieve in that which was given to Musa of old) Did not mankind disbelieve in those mighty signs which were given to Musa
(They say: "Two kinds of magic, each helping the other!'') cooperating or working one with the other.
(And they say: "Verily, in both we are disbelievers.'') meaning, `we disbelieve in each of them.' Because of the close relationship between Musa and Harun, mention of one includes the other.
Mujahid bin Jabr said, "The Jews told Quraysh to say this to Muhammad, then Allah said: `Did they not disbelieve in that which was given to Musa of old They say: Two kinds of magic, each helping the other!' This refers to Musa and Harun, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon them both,
(each helping the other) i.e., working together and supporting one another.'' This was also the view of Sa`id bin Jubayr and Abu Razin that the phrase "two kinds of magic'' referred to Musa and Harun. This is a good suggestion. And Allah knows best.
(Two kinds of magic, each helping the other!) `Ali bin Abi Talhah and Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said that this refers to the Tawrah and the Qur'an, because Allah says next:
(Say: "Then bring a Book from Allah, which is a better guide than these two that I may follow it.'') Allah often mentions the Tawrah and the Qur'an together, as in the Ayat:
(Say: "Who then sent down the Book which Musa brought, a light and a guidance to mankind...) until:
(And this is a blessed Book which We have sent down.'') (6:91-92) And at the end of the same Surah, Allah says:
(Then, We gave Musa the Book, to complete (Our favor) upon those who would do right) (6: 154).
(And this is a blessed Book which We have sent down, so follow it and have Taqwa of Allah, that you may receive mercy) (6:155). And the Jinn said:
(Verily, we have heard a Book sent down after Musa, confirming what came before it) (46:30). Waraqah bin Nawfal said, "This is An-Namus, who came down to Musa.'' And those who are possessed of insight know instinctively that among the many Books which He has sent down to His Prophets, there is no Book more perfect, more eloquent or more noble than the Book which He revealed to Muhammad , which is the Qur'an. Next to it in status and greatness is the Book which Allah revealed to Musa bin `Imran, which is the Book concerning which Allah says:
(Verily, We did send down the Tawrah, therein was guidance and light, by which the Prophets, who submitted themselves to Allah's will, judged for the Jews. And the rabbis and the priests, for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah's Book, and they were witnesses thereto) (5:44). The Injil was revealed as a continuation and complement of the Tawrah and to permit some of the things that had been forbidden to the Children of Israel. Allah says:
(Then bring a Book from Allah, which is a better guide than these two, that I may follow it, if you are truthful.) meaning, `in your efforts to refute the truth with false arguments.'
(But if they answer you not,) means, `if they do not respond to what you tell them, and do not follow the truth,'
(then know that they only follow their own lusts.) means, with no basis or evidence.
(And who is more astray than one who follows his own lusts, without guidance from Allah) means, with no guidance taken from the Book of Allah.
(Verily, Allah guides not the people who are wrongdoers.)
(And indeed now We have conveyed the Word) Mujahid said: "We have explained the Word to them.'' As-Suddi said something similar. Qatadah said: "Allah is saying, `He has told them what He did in the past and what He will do in the future.'''
(in order that they may remember.) Mujahid and others said:
(We have conveyed the Word) means, to Quraysh.
(52. Those to whom We gave the Scripture before it, they believe in it.) (53. And when it is recited to them, they say: "We believe in it. Verily, it is the truth from our Lord. Indeed even before it we have been from Muslims.'') (54. These will be given their reward twice over, because they are patient, and repel evil with good, and spend out of what We have provided for them.) (55. And when they hear evil vain talk, they withdraw from it and say: "To us our deeds, and to you your deeds. Peace be to you. We seek not (the way of) the ignorant.'')
Allah tells us that the pious scholars among the People of the Book believe in the Qur'an, as He says:
(Those to whom We gave the Book recite it as it should be recited, they are the ones who believe therein) (2:121).
(And there are, certainly, among the People of the Scripture, those who believe in Allah and in that which has been revealed to you, and in that which has been revealed to them, humbling themselves before Allah) (3:199).
(Verily, those who were given knowledge before it, when it is recited to them, fall down on their faces in humble prostration. And they say: "Glory be to our Lord! Truly, the promise of our Lord must be fulfilled.'') (17:107-108)
(And you will find the nearest in love to the believers those who say: "We are Christians. '') until:
(so write us down among the witnesses) (5:82-83). Sa`id bin Jubayr said, "This was revealed concerning seventy priests who were sent by An-Najashi (ruler of Ethiopia). When they came to the Prophet , he recited to them:
(Ya Sin. By the Qur'an, full of wisdom.) (36:1-2) until he completed the Surah. They began to weep, and they embraced Islam. These other Ayat were revealed concerning them:
(Those to whom We gave the Scripture before it, they believe in it. And when it is recited to them, they say: "We believe in it. Verily, it is the truth from our Lord. Indeed even before it we have been from Muslims.'') meaning, `even before the Qur'an came we were Muslims, i.e., we believed in One God and were sincerely responding to Allah's commands.'
(These will be given their reward twice over, because they are patient,) means, those who have this characteristic -- that they believed in the first Book and then in the second. Allah says:
(because they are patient,) meaning, in their adherence to the truth, for taking such thing upon oneself is not easy for people. It was reported in the Sahih from the Hadith of `Amir Ash-Sha`bi from Abu Burdah that Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allah said:
(There are three who will be given their reward twice: a man among the People of the Book who believed in his Prophet then believed in me; a slave who fulfills his duty towards Allah and towards his master; and a man who has a slave woman and educates her and teaches her good manners, then he frees her and marries her.) Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Umamah said: "On the day of the Conquest ﴿of Makkah﴾ I was walking alongside the Messenger of Allah as he was riding, and he said some very beautiful words, including the following:
(Whoever among the people of the two Books becomes Muslim, he will have his reward twice, and he has the same rights and duties as we do. Whoever among the idolaters becomes Muslim will have one reward, and he has the same rights and duties as we do.)'' Allah's saying:
(and repel evil with good,) means, they do not respond to evil in kind, rather they forgive and overlook.
(and spend out of what We have provided for them.) meaning, `from the lawful provision that We have given them, they spend on their families and relatives as they are required to do, and they pay Zakah and give voluntary charity.'
(And when they hear evil vain talk, they withdraw from it) meaning, they do not mix with the people who indulge in such talk, rather they do as Allah says:
(and if they pass by some evil vain talk, they pass by it with dignity) (25:72).
(and they say: "To us our deeds, and to you your deeds. Peace be to you. We seek not (the way of) the ignorant.'') means, if some foolish person speaks to them in a foolish manner and says something to which it does not befit them to respond, they turn away from him and do not respond in kind with ugly speech. They never say anything but good words. Allah says of them that they say:
(To us our deeds, and to you your deeds. Peace be to you. We seek not (the way of) the ignorant.) meaning, `we do not seek the way of the ignorant and we do not like it.'
(56. Verily, you guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He knows best those who are the guided.) (57. And they say: "If we follow the guidance with you, we would be snatched away from our land.'' Have We not established for them a secure sanctuary, to which are brought fruits of all kinds, a provision from Ourselves, but most of them know not.)
Allah says to His Messenger: `O Muhammad:
(Verily, you guide not whom you like)' meaning, `the matter does not rest with you; all that you have to do is convey the Message, and Allah will guide whom He wills, and His is the ultimate wisdom,' as He says:
(Not upon you is their guidance, but Allah guides whom He wills.) (2:272)
(And most of mankind will not believe even if you desire it eagerly.) (12:103) This Ayah is even more specific than the following:
(Verily, you guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He knows best those who are the guided.) meaning: Allah knows best who deserves to be guided and who deserves to be misguided. It was recorded in the Two Sahihs that this Ayah was revealed concerning Abu Talib, the paternal uncle of the Messenger of Allah. He used to protect the Prophet, support him and stand by him. He loved the Prophet dearly, but this love was a natural love, i.e., born of kinship, not a love that was born of the fact that he was the Messenger of Allah. When he was on his deathbed, the Messenger of Allah called him to Faith and to enter Islam, but the decree overtook him and he remained a follower of disbelief, and Allah's is the complete wisdom. Az-Zuhri said: "Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib narrated to me that his father, Al-Musayyib bin Hazan Al-Makhzumi, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "When Abu Talib was dying, the Messenger of Allah came to him and found Abu Jahl bin Hisham and `Abdullah bin Abi Umayyah bin Al-Mughirah with him. The Messenger of Allah said:
(O my uncle, say La ilaha illallah, a word which I may use as evidence in your favor before Allah (in the Hereafter).) Abu Jahl bin Hisham and `Abdullah bin Abi Umayyah said: `O Abu Talib, will you leave the religion of `Abdul-Muttalib' The Messenger of Allah kept urging him to say La ilaha illallah, and they kept saying, `Will you leave the religion of `Abdul-Muttalib' -- until, at the very end, he said that he was on the religion of `Abdul-Muttalib, and he refused to say La ilaha illallah. The Messenger of Allah said:
(By Allah, I shall certainly seek forgiveness for you unless I am told not to.) Then Allah revealed:
(It is not (proper) for the Prophet and those who believe to ask Allah's forgiveness for the idolaters, even though they be of kin) (9:113). And there was revealed concerning Abu Talib the Ayah,
(Verily, you guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills.)'' This was recorded (by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) from the Hadith of Az-Zuhri.
(And they say: "If we follow the guidance with you, we would be snatched away from our land.'') Allah tells us that this is the excuse which was given by some of the disbelievers for not following true guidance. They said to the Messenger of Allah:
(If we follow the guidance with you, we would be snatched away from our land.), meaning, `we are afraid that if we follow the message of guidance that you have brought, and go against the pagan Arab tribes around us, they will seek to do us harm and wage war against us, and they may snatch us away from wherever we may be.' Allah said in response to them:
(Have We not established for them a secure sanctuary,) meaning, the excuse they give is a lie and is false, because Allah has put them in a secure city and a venerated sanctuary which has been safe from the time it was built -- how could this sanctuary be safe for them when they believed in disbelief and Shirk, and how could it not be safe for them when they become Muslims and follow the truth
(to which are brought fruits of all kinds, ) means, all kinds of fruits from the surrounding regions, from At-Ta'if and elsewhere. Similarly, the people of Makkah engaged in trade and other goods also came to their city.
(a provision from Ourselves, but most of them know not.) - this is why they said what they said.
(58. And how many a town have We destroyed, which was thankless for its means of livelihood! And those are their dwellings, which have not been inhabited after them except a little. And verily, We have been the heirs.) (59. And never will your Lord destroy the towns until He sends to their mother town a Messenger reciting to them Our Ayat. And never would We destroy the towns unless the people thereof are wrongdoers.)