By Dr. Ali Al-Halawani
Allah the Almighty says in His Ever-Glorious Qur’an what may mean,
“This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah.” (Al-Baqarah 2: 1)
Yes, indeed, there is no doubt or suspicion whatsoever about this Divine Book of Allah which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad, the Last of all messengers and prophets sent by Allah the Almighty to guide humanity to the Straight Path; the chain of prophets and messengers started with Prophet Adam, father of all mankind and ended with Prophet Muhammad as is well-known by many. The Qur’an, the accuracy of which was attested to by many throughout the ages, is a book of guidance that aims to guide all humanity to what benefits them in this present life as well as the hereafter. It relates many stories of prophets and messengers from which Muslims as well as non-Muslims can derive so many lessons and beneficial things. Examples of godly as well as evil men are also mentioned in the Qur’an in a number of instances; this also is very useful for the heedful and attentive people.
The ways the Qur’an addresses man, people or a given folk are different and vary from one addressee to another in accordance with the status of the addresser and the addressee. This is quite apparent in the Qur’an but only needs some sort of attention and heedfulness. Let us look into this in the following lines.
Interestingly, every time the Qur’an addresses any of the prophets or the messengers of Allah, it uses the term “O People” in various forms. This can be seen in the saying related to Prophet Nuh (Noah) in the following ayah (i.e. verse of the Qur’an) that reads what may mean,
“We had certainly sent Noah to his people, and he said, “O my people, worship Allah ; you have no deity other than Him. Indeed, I fear for you the punishment of a tremendous Day.” (Al-A’raf 7: 59)
And, Prophet Hud in the following ayah,
“And to ‘Aad [We sent] their brother Hud. He said, “O my people, worship Allah ; you have no deity other than Him. You are not but inventors [of falsehood].” (Hud 11: 50)
In a similar vein, we find Prophet Salih in Allah’s saying,
“And to Thamud [We sent] their brother Salih. He said, “O my people, worship Allah ; you have no deity other than Him. He has produced you from the earth and settled you in it, so ask forgiveness of Him and then repent to Him. Indeed, my Lord is near and responsive.”” (Hud 11: 61)
And Prophet Lot as well in Allah’s saying that may mean,
“And [We had sent] Lot when he said to his people, “Do you commit such immorality as no one has preceded you with from among the worlds?” (Al-A’raf 7: 80)
Also, Prophet Musa (Moses) used to call his own people in many ayahs of the Qur’an as follows,
“And [recall] when Moses said to his people, “O my people, indeed you have wronged yourselves by your taking of the calf [for worship]. So repent to your Creator and kill yourselves. That is best for [all of] you in the sight of your Creator.” Then He accepted your repentance; indeed, He is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.” (Al-Baqarah 2: 54)
In the above ayah, Prophet Musa (Peace and blessings be upon him) means the Children of Israel, his own people.
It is well known that Prophet Musa was sent to the Children of Israel; but, what about Prophet `Isa (Jesus Christ) who was also sent to the Children of Israel?
The case is different with Prophet `Isa (Peace and blessings be upon him) as there is not a single ayah in the Qur’an which combines `Isa and/or Jesus Christ and the term ‘people’ as he used to address them as “O Children of Israel” without using the term ‘people’ or ‘my people’ in any form or in any of its derivatives in Arabic.
He says in the Qur’an what may mean,
“… while the Messiah (i.e. Jesus Christ) has said, “O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” Indeed, he who associates others with Allah – Allah has forbidden him Paradise, and his refuge is the Fire. And there are not for the wrongdoers any helpers.” (Al-Ma’idah 5: 72)
He says also what may mean,
“And [mention] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, “O children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad.” But when he came to them with clear evidences, they said, “This is obvious magic.”” (Al-Saff 61: 6)
This is recurrent throughout the Qur’an so that we cannot find any mention of the “people” of Jesus Christ. Interestingly, the one and only ayah in which Jesus Christ was mentioned near the term ‘people’ is the following one which read what may mean,
“And when the son of Mary was presented as an example, immediately your people laughed aloud.” (Al-Zukhruf 43: 57)
In this ayah, the term ‘your people’ does not refer to the ‘people of Jesus Christ’ but to the ‘people of Prophet Muhammad’ (Peace and blessings be upon him) as the latter is the one addressed in the ayah and not Prophet `Isa (Peace and blessings be upon him).
This indicates that Prophet `Isa has no ‘people’ in the common sense! But, what is the secret behind this?!
Allah the Almighty says in the Qur’an,
“Then she brought him to her people, carrying him. They said, “O Mary, you have certainly done a thing unprecedented.” (Maryam 19: 27)
However, Jesus Christ has never been declared as belonging to any people throughout the Qur’an. But why does not Prophet `Isa have “a people” just like the rest of all messengers of Allah and even just like the rest of human beings?!
In fact, one is usually attributed or declared as belonging to his own father; a father belongs to a tribe, a people or a country. Similarly, a son is declared as belonging to the same tribe, people or country of his own father.
Prophet Nuh belongs to a father from his own people and that is why he belongs to them; Prophet Ibrahim belongs to his father Aazar from a given people and that is why he belongs to them, etc. However, one should ask: To whom does Prophet `Isa belong?
Surely he does not belong to any ‘people’ as he was miraculously born and came to life without a father.
This is the reason that Jesus Christ did not say even once to the Children of Israel: O my people!
And he had to address them as saying: O Children of Israel!
This is what the Qur’an exactly did as there is not a single ayah therein that constitutes an exception to this rule.
By analogy, we can raise the following question: What about Prophet Adam (Peace and blessings be upon him) who came to existence without a father or a mother as he was created by Allah the Creator out of dust? Does the Qur’an mention ‘the people of Adam’?!
Surely there is not a single ayah in the Qur’an in which the people of Adam were mentioned. If we search the whole Qur’an we won’t find any such ayah that speaks about the people of Adam. Instead, all ayahs speak about the Children or Sons of Adam; this stems from the absolute accuracy and meticulousness of the Qur’an and its text.
Thereupon, all men have ‘a people’ except for two honourable Prophets, Adam and Jesus Christ (Peace and blessings be upon them).
Another question: Did the Qur’an ignore this fact? The fact about Adam and Jesus Christ?
Surely no. Indeed, the Qur’an mentioned this fact in a single ayah in which Allah the Almighty says what may mean,
“Indeed, the example of Jesus to Allah is like that of Adam. He created Him from dust; then He said to him, “Be,” and he was.” (Aal `Imran 3: 59)
This is the sole ayah in the Qur’an in which the names of Adam and Jesus Christ are combined together.
Look at the accuracy and meticulousness of this divine book that was revealed by Allah, the Creator of everything, to guide men and take them out of the darkness of disbelief into the light of faith and monotheism.
*** This article was first published on: Oct 6, 2016.
Based on a widely circulated post on Facebook by an anonymous author.
Dr. Ali Al-Halawani is Assistant Professor of Linguistics and Translation, Kulliyyah of Languages and Management (KLM), International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He was Assistant Professor and worked for a number of international universities in Malaysia and Egypt such as Al-Madinah International University, Shah Alam, Malaysia (Mediu) and Misr University for Science & Technology (MUST), Egypt; Former Editor-in-Chief of the Electronic Da`wah Committee (EDC), Kuwait; Former Deputy Chief Editor and Managing Editor of the Living Shari`ah Department, www.islamOnline.net; Member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS); and member of the World Association of Arab Translators & Linguists (Wata). He is a published writer, translator and researcher. You can reach him at [email protected]