The instances of Arabic words from the root: raa, seen and laam (ر س ل) occur 512 times in the Quran in 8 derived forms having similar meanings according to their morphological and grammatical forms, and the relationship between risaalat meaning “message” and rasuul meaning “messenger” is very straightforward to understand while to reflect message being messenger is difficult for many of us when God is our concern; and He has chosen messenger from humans and angels to guide humanity in right direction. The detailed review of these instances may help us to eliminate traces of personality cult in His given religion and to interpret His instruction appropriately in the guidance sent down for us. However, these 512 instances can broadly be grouped into 3 forms to review each group separately: 130 as the verb, 341 as the noun and 41 as the participle form as shown in the table below:
Note: The above table is populated with data obtained from the corpus.quran.com while 1 instance of rasuul in the verse, 9:128 has not been included in the table as the two verses, 128 and 129 of Surah 9 (Bara`ah) do not belong to the Quran even though these two verses still exist in the standard edition of the Quran.
Instances of arsala
There are 130 instances of arsala in the verb form in 127 verses across 47 suras in the Quran. Out of 130, 62 instances found in 61 verses across 17 suras are reviewed below:
[2:119] Indeed, we have sent you with the truth, a bearer of good news and warner (innaa arsalnaaka bil-haqqi basheeran wa-nadheeran), while you will not be asked about the people of the blazing Fire.
[2:151] As we have sent to you a messenger from you (kamaa arsalnaa feekum rasuulan minkum) to recite our revelations to you, and purify you, and teach you the scripture and the wisdom, and teach you what you did not know.
[4:64] And we have not sent any messenger except to be obeyed by God’s authorization (wa-maa arsalnaa min rasuulin illaa liyutaa`a bi-idh’ni). And if they were that when they wronged themselves had come to you, and asked God’s forgiveness, and the messenger asked forgiveness for them, they would have surely found God the merciful Redeemer.
[4:79] Whatever of good has befallen you (Muhammad) is from God and whatever of evil has befallen you is from yourself. And we have sent you (Muhammad) a messenger for the people (wa-arsalnaaka lil’nnaasi rasuulan) and it has sufficed with God as a witness.
[4:80] Whoever obeys the messenger has surely obeyed God; and whoever has turned away, then we have not sent you (Muhammad) a guardian over them (wa-man tawallaa fa-maa arsalnaaka `alayhim hafeezan).
[5:70] Certainly, we have taken a covenant of Children of Israel and we have sent messengers to them (wa-arsalnaa ilayhim rusulan). Whenever has come to them a messenger with what their souls do not desire, a group – they have denied and a group – they kill.
[6:6] Have they not seen how many of generations we have destroyed from before theirs? We established them in the earth what we have not established for you. And we sent abundant shower upon them of the sky (wa-arsalnaa al-samaa-a `alayhim mid’raaran) and made the rivers flow from underneath them; then we destroyed them for their sins, and established other generations after them.
[6:42] And we sent to communities from before yours (wa-laqad arsalnaa ilaa umamin min qablika), then we seized them with adversity and hardship that they may humble.
[6:48] And we did not send those who are sent except bearers of good news and warners (wa-maa nur’silu al-mur’saleena illaa mubashireena wa-mudhireena). So whoever has believed and has reformed, then there is no fear for them nor will they grieve.
[6:61] And He is the Supreme over His servants, and He sends guardians over you until our messengers take him when the death comes to any of you (wa-yur’silu `alaykum hafazatan hattaa idhaa jaa-a ahadakumu al-mawtu tawafathu rusulunaa), and they never fail.
[7:6] Then we will surely ask those to whom have been sent (fa-la-nasalanna alladheena ur’sila ilayhim), and we will surely ask those who have been sent.
[7:57] And He is the One who sends the winds of good tidings from His mercy (wa-huwa alladhee yur’silu al-riyaaha bush’ran bayna yaday rahmatihi), until when they have carried heavy cloud, we drive it to a dead land, as we send down the water of it, so we bring forth with it of every kind of fruits. It is thus that we will bring forth the dead that you may take heed.
[7:59] Certainly, we had sent Noah to his people, while he said (laqad arsalnaa nuuhan ilaa qawmihi fa-qaala): “My people, worship God, there is no other god for you other than Him. Indeed, I fear for you the retribution of a great day!”
[7:75] The leaders – those who had been arrogant among his people said to those who had been prevented for whoever believed among them, “Do you know that Saleh is sent one from his Lord?” They said, “Indeed, we are believers in that he has been sent with it.” (qaaluu innaa bimaa ur’sila bihi muminuuna).”
[7:87] “And when a group of you has believed in that what I (Shu`aib) have been sent with (wa-in kaana taaifatun minkum aamanuu bi-alladhee ur’sil’tu bihi), and a group who has not believed, so wait until God judges between us as He is the best Judge.”
[7:94] And we have not sent a prophet to any town (wa-maa arsalnaa fee qaryatin min nabiyyin), except we seized its people with adversity and hardship that they may humble.
[7:105] “It is not accepted that I (Moses) would say about God except the truth; I have certainly come to you with a clear proof from your Lord. So send the Children of Israel with me (fa-arsil ma`iya banee is’raa’eela).”
[7:111] They (Pharaoh’s leaders) said: “Respite him (Moses) and his brother (Aaron), and send gatherers to the cities (wa-arsil fee al-madaa’ini haashireena).”
[7:133] So we sent upon them the flood, and the locust, and the lice, and the frogs, and the blood as undeniable signs (fa-arsalnaa `alayhimu al-tuufaana wal-jaraada wal-qumala wal-dafaadi`a wal-dama aayaatin mufassalatin) while they turned arrogant as they were a criminal people.
[7:134] And when the plague fell upon them, they said: “O Moses, call on your Lord for us as He has promised with you. If you remove the plague from us, we will surely believe to you and we will surely send the Children of Israel with you (la’nu’minanna laka wa-la’nur’silanna ma`aka bane is’raa’eela).”
[7:162] Since those who were wicked among them changed word other than what was said to them, so we sent upon them plague from the sky as they had engaged them wrongdoing (fa-arsalnaa `alayhim rij’zan mina al-samaa-i bimaa kaanuu yaz’limuuna).
[9:33] He is the One who sent His messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth (huwa alladhee arsala rasuulahu bil-hudaa wa-deeni al-haqqi), to prevail it over any other religion, even if the idolaters dislike (it).
[11:25] And certainly, we had sent Noah to his people (wa-laqad arsalnaa nuuhan ilaa qawmihi): “Indeed, I am a clear warner to you.”
[11:52] “And O my people, ask forgiveness of your Lord, then turn to Him; He will send abundance upon you of the sky (rain) (ur’sili al-samaa-a `alaykum mid’raaran), and will increase you in strength to your strength. But do not turn away as criminals.”
[11:57] “So, if you turn away, then I have certainly delivered to you what I have been sent with (it) (fa-qad ablaghtukum maa ur’siltu bihi ilaykum). And my Lord will succeed to you a people other than you, and you will not harm Him in anything as my Lord is Guardian over all things.”
[11:70] But when he (Abraham) saw their hands not reaching to it, he felt strange of them and had a fear from them. They said: “Have no fear, indeed, we have been sent to the people of Lot (qaaluu laa takhaf innaa ur’sil’naa ilaa qawmi luutin).”
[11:96] And certainly, we sent Moses with our revelations and a clear authority (wa-laqad arsalnaa Muusaa bi-aayaatinaa wa-sultanin mubeenin).
[12:12] “Send him (Yusuf) with us (brothers of him) tomorrow to enjoy and play (arsil’hu ma`anaa ghadan yarta` wa-yal`ab), and surely, we will be good protectors for him.”
[12:19] And there came a caravan, then they sent their water drawer (wa-jaa’at sayyaaratun fa-arsaluu waaridahum), so he let down his bucket. He said: “Here is good news, this is a boy!” And they hid him as a merchandise while God is Knower of what they do.
[12:31] So when she heard of their scheming, she sent to them and prepared a banquet for them (fa-lamma sami`at bi-makrihinna arsalat ilayhinna wa-a`tadat la’hunna muttaka’an), and she gave each one of them a knife, and she said: “Come out to them.” So when they saw him they admired him too much and cut their hands, and they said: “God is blameless, this is not a human being but an honorable angel!”
[12:45] And the one of the two (his prison mates) who had been saved and remembered after a period said, I will inform you of its interpretation, so send me (anaa unabbi’ukum bi-taweelihi fa-arsiluuni).”
[12:63] So when they returned to their father, they said: “O our father, the measure of grain has been denied for us; so send our brother with us, we will get measure of grain (fa-arsil ma`anaa akhaanaa naktal), and certainly, we will be his protectors.”
[12:66] He said: “I will not send him with you until you give me a promise by God (lan ur’silahu ma`akum hattaa tu’tuuni mawthiqan mina allahi) that you will bring him back except that you are surrounded”. So when they had given him of their promise, he said: “God is a Guardian over what we say.”
[12:109] And we have not sent before yourself (Muhammad) except men (wa-maa arsalnaa min qablika illaa rijaalan), we revealed to them from the people of the towns. So have they not traveled in the earth and seen how has been the punishment of those who were before themselves? And certainly, the abode of the Hereafter is better for those who have feared. Then would you not reflect?
[13:13] And glorifies the thunder with His praise and the angels for fear of Him, and He sends the lightning and strikes with it whomever He wills (wa-ur’silu al-sawaa`iqa fa-yuseebu bihaa man yashaa-u). Yet they dispute about God, while He is the most powerful.
[13:30] Thus that, we have sent you (Muhammad) to a nation, certainly, has passed away nations of its before (kadhaalika arsalnaaka fee ummatin qad khalat min qablihaa umamun), that you may recite to them which we have revealed to you while they disbelieve in the Most Gracious. Say: “He is my Lord, there is no other god besides He. Upon Him I put trust, and to Him is my return.”
[13:38] And certainly, we have sent messengers from before yours and have made for them wives and offspring (wa-laqad arsalnaa rusulan min qablika wa-jaa’alnaa lahum azwaajan wa-dhurriyyatan). And it was not for a messenger that he come with any sign except by God’s leave. For every time it is a decree.
[14:4] And we have not sent any messenger except with the language of his people that he may clarify for them (wa-maa arsalnaa min rasuulin illaa bi-lisaani qawmihi li-yubayyina lahum). So God misguides whomever He wills and He guides whomever He wills. And He is the Almighty, the Wise.
[14:5] And certainly, we have sent Moses with our revelations that (wa-laqad arsalnaa muusaa bi-aayyaatinaa an) “Bring your people out from the darkness to the light, and remind them with the days of God.” In that, there are lessons for every patient, thankful.
[14:9] Has not come to you news of those of before yourself, the people of Noah, and ‘Aad, and Thamud, and those of after them? None knows them except God. Their messengers came to them with the clear proofs while they returned back having their hands in their mouths and said: “We certainly, have disbelieved in what you (their messengers) have been sent with it (innaa kafarnaa bimaa ur’siltum bihi), and we are certainly, in doubt about what you invite us to it is the distrustful.”
[15:10] And certainly, we have sent of before yourself to the people of the past (wa-laqad arsalnaa min qablika fee shiya`i al-awaleena).
[15:22] And we have sent the winds as pollinators (wa-arsalnaa al-riyaaha lawaaqiha), and we have sent down water from the sky as we have given it to you to drink. And you are not the retainers of it.
[15:58] They (angels) said: “Indeed, we have been sent to a people of criminals (qaaluu innaa arsalnaa ilaa qawmin muj’rimeena).”
[16:43] And we have not sent before yourself (Muhammad) except men (wa-maa arsalnaa min qablika illaa rijaalan), we inspired to them, so ask the people of the reminder (scripture) if you do not know.
[16:63] By God, certainly we have sent to nations before yourself (tallahu laqad arsalnaa ilaa umamin min qablika) , while the devil adorned their work for them. So he is their ally today, and for them there is a painful retribution.
[17:54] Your Lord is Knower of you. If He wills, He will have mercy on you, or if He wills, He will punish you. And we have not sent you (Muhammad) a guardian over them (wa-maa arsalnaaka `alayhim wakeelan).
[17:59] And we have not stopped that we send with the signs except that the previous people denied with them (nur’sila bil-aayaati illaa an kadhaba bihaa al-awluuna). And we gave Thamud the camel as sign while they wronged with her. And we do not send with the signs except a warning (wa-nur’sila bil-aayaati illaa takhweefan).
[17:68] Do you feel secure that He will not cause to swallow with you on the side of the land, or that He would not send a violent storm upon you (aw yur’sila `alaykum haasiban)? Then you will find no guardian for yourselves.
[17:69] Or do you feel secure that He would not send you another time in it, then He would send upon you a violent wind and cause you to drown because you disbelieved (fa-yur’sila `alaykum qaasifan mina al-reehi fa-yugh’riqakum bimaa kafartum)? Then you will not find an avenger against us.
[17:77] A system to whomever of our messenger certainly, we have sent before yourself (sunnata man qad arsalnaa qablaka min rusulinaa), and you do not find alternation to our system (wa-laa-tajidu lisunnatinaa tahweelan).
[17:105] And with the truth we have revealed it (Quran) and with the truth it has descended. And we have not sent you (Muhammad) except a bearer of good news and a warner (wa-maa arsalnaaka illaa mubashiran wa-nadheeran).
[18:40] “Then it maybe that my Lord may give me better than your garden, and He may send upon it a violent storm from the sky (wa-yur’sila `alayhaa has’baanan mina al-samaa-i), so it may become a barren land.”
[18:56] And we do not send those who have been sent except bearers of good news and warners (wa-maa nur’silu al-mur’saleena illaa mubashireena wa-mundhireena). And those who disbelieved argue with the falsehood to disapprove the truth with it. And they took My revelations and what they have been warned as mockery!
[19:17] When she (Mary) took a separation from them, then we sent our Spirit to her, so he appeared to her just like a human being (fa-arsalnaa ilayhaa ruuhanaa fa-tamathala lahaa basharan sawiyyan).
[19:83] Do you not see that we have sent the devils upon the disbelievers to drive them into evil (a-lam tara annaa arsalnaa al-shayaateena `alaa al-kaafireena ta-uzzuhum azzan)?
[20:47] So go to him (Pharaoh) and say: “Indeed, we (Moses and Aaron) are messengers of your Lord, so send the Children of Israel with us, and you are not to torment them (fa-arsil ma`anaa bane is’raa-eela wa-laa tu`adhib’hum). Certainly, we have come to you with a sign from your Lord. And peace be upon him who follows the guidance.”
[20:134] And if we had destroyed them with retribution before this, they would certainly have said: “Our Lord, if only You had sent a messenger to us then we could follow Your revelations before we were humiliated and shamed (rabbanaa lawlaa arsalta ilaynaa rasuulan fa-nattabi`a aayaatika min qabli an nadhilla wa-nakhzaa)!”
[21:5] No, they said: “Muddled dreams; no, he invented it; no, he is a poet. So let him bring us a sign like what was sent with the former ones (fal-yatinaa biaayatin kamaa ur’sila al-awaluuna).”
[21:7] And we have not sent before yourself except men (wa-maa arsalnaa qablaka illaa rijaalan), we reveal to them. So you shall ask people of the reminder if you have not done to know.
[21:25] And we have not sent any messenger from before yourself except we inspire to him that (maa arsalnaa min qablika min rasuulin illaa nuuhee ilayhi annahu) there is no god except I, so you shall worship Me.
[21:107] And we have not sent you (Muhammad) except a mercy for the worlds (wa-maa arsalnaaka illaa rahmatan lil`aalameena).
Here is the summary of 62 instances of arsala meaning “to send” in the verb form found in 61 verses across 17 suras:
- We have sent you (Muhammad) good news and warner having the truth, and you will not be asked about the consequences of the disbelieving people.
- A messenger is sent from among us to recite divine revelations to us to teach us the scripture and the wisdom in order to purify and teach us what we did not know.
- God has not sent a prophet to any town except He seized its people with adversity and hardship that they may humble
- He is the merciful Redeemer of those who wronged themselves but asked God’s forgiveness for themselves and the messenger asked forgiveness for them as well.
- We have sent you (Muhammad) for the people a messenger while God suffices witness.
- Whoever obeys the messenger has obeyed God but the messenger is not a guardian over those who have turned away.
- We sent messengers to the Children of Israel but some of them they denied and some of them they killed.
- We destroyed many established generations for their sins as well as to make them humble.
- The sent ones are not except the bearers of good news as well as the bearers of warning but whoever believed and reformed will have no fear nor will they grieve.
- God sends guardians over us until His messengers take us when the death comes to any of us.
- He will ask those who have been sent and also those to whom they have been sent.
- He sent messengers while He is the best Judge between those who had believed and who had not believed.
- Moses was sent to Pharaoh with a clear proof to bring back the Children of Israel with him.
- God is the One who sent His messenger with the guidance and the true religion to prevail it over any other religions.
- Huud who was sent to `Aad said: “I have certainly delivered to you what I have been sent with.”
- Moses was sent with divine revelations to bring people out of the darkness to the light.
- God has stopped sending of the visual signs as the previous people denied them.
- He has not sent those who have been sent except the bearers of good news and warners.
- He sent His Spirit to Mary, who appeared to her just like a human being when she isolated her.
- He had not destroyed any communities except sending a messenger to them with His revelations.
- He did not send any messenger before you (Muhammad) except inspiring him to worship Him.
In review, if we can reflect that like other messengers Muhammad delivered what was sent to him is a good news, warning and mercy for the worlds would help us avoid prevalent misinterpretation.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.