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Message vs. Messenger

Introduction

Many of us are not clear on the concept of the message and the messenger, and are confused whether they should focus on the message or the messenger, while in most cases, the human figure becomes the central point in our religion being a satanic trick as the Satan has always been active to make us losers acting like a best friend of us. We may have already learned that the Satan being a temporary god on the earth (2:30) has hired many learned people of religion to move forward his agenda: “I will possess all his descendants, except a few” (17:62) while God has respited Satan ensuring an equitable requital for Satan as well as his followers (17:63):

[2:30] And when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed Me, I am placing a representative (a temporary god) in the earth.” They said, “Will You place therein one who will spread evil in it and shed blood, while we glorify with Your praise, and sanctify for You?” He said, “Indeed Me, I know what you do not know.”
[17:62] He (Satan) said, “Do You see this whom (Adam) You have honored him over me? That if You respite me till a Day of the Resurrection, surely, I will possess all his descendants, except a few.”
[17:63] He (God) said, “Go, then whoever has followed you among them, then Hell is your recompense – an enough recompense.

Note: All the above statements took place in the High Society before the descent of the human being on the earth. Our awareness and attention may help many of us to avoid a miserable requital NOT being allies of Satan or just being with the majority (Ummah).

Angels come down with God’s message

God sends down angels with His message to guide humanity (16:2) according to His promise at the time of our descent from Heaven to earth and His promise is repeated twice in the Quran (2:38, 20:123). We also see in the promise that He is the only source of guidance for humanity to lead to the right direction. As such, He chooses messengers and prophets among us to deliver the message to guide the believers in the straight path (7:35) and has confirmed us this is His system from the past that will continue until the end of the world (17:77):
[16:2] He sends down the angels with the Spirit (Gabriel) with His commands, to whomever He chooses from among His servants that you shall warn that there is no god except I (laa-ilaaha illaa anaa). So, you shall fear Me.
Note: Many messengers but only one message to worship Him alone has been confirmed. The double negative with first person singular pronoun has been used to affirm the crucial statement “laa-ilaaha illaa anaa” in the verse.

[2:38] We said, “Go down from here, all of you. So, when guidance comes to you from Me, then whoever has followed My guidance, has no fear for them, nor will they grieve.
[20:123] He said: “Go down from here, all of you, one of you enemy to another. So, when guidance comes to you from Me, then whoever has followed My guidance, will not go astray nor will he suffer.”

Note: God has used first person singular pronoun in His promise, i.e., ‘Me’ and ‘My guidance’ to confirm that He is the only the source of guidance or message while angels are sent down with His message and commands.

[7:35] O Children of Adam, when comes to you messengers from you to narrate My revelations to you; then whoever has feared (Me) and has reformed, has no fear for them nor will they grieve.
[17:77] A system to whomever certainly, we have sent before yourself (Muhammad) of our messengers, and you cannot find that our system has any change.

Note: This statement can be verified from the mention of Messenger of Covenant in (3:81 & 33:7) to confirm delivery of all scriptures and of Zul Qarnain just before the end of the world for assigning Zul Qarnain messenger-like duty to protect the believers from two corruptors of earth, Gog and Magog in the Quran (18:83, 18:86 & 18:94) after Muhammad.

Focus on the message not on the messenger

There are many messengers but only one message to worship God alone while God sent down each scripture having appropriate details for each community. However, the Quran, the final edition of God’s scripture has been sent down to guide the most advanced community of the world from the time of prophet Muhammad to the end of the world containing clear instructions for us whether we should make focus on the message or the messenger, the human being that are detailed out below to confirm:

1. The Quran has been revealed through prophet Muhammad is a message for all of us (21:10), while the messenger has no duty except delivering the message (5:99, 42:48) directly indicates that focus is on the message:
[21:10] Certainly, We have sent down to you (all) a scripture, in it is your message. Then do you not use intelligence?
[5:99] Not upon the messenger except the conveyance while God knows what you reveal and what you conceal.
[42:48] So, if they have turned away, then we have not sent you (prophet) a guardian over them, nor upon you except the conveyance. And indeed, when we have caused to taste the human being with mercy from us, he has rejoiced with it, and if evil befalls them for what has sent forth their hands that indeed, the human being is ungrateful.

Note: The key role of the messenger is to deliver the message which has been confirmed with the double negative in the Arabic text to emphasize the focus on the message.

2. The message is recited (18:27, 29:45 ), followed (6:50, 6:106, 7:3) and preached (3:79, 6:51 & 16:2) by the messenger as revealed to him means the focus is on the message:
[18:27] You (Muhammad) shall recite what has been revealed to you from your Lord’s scripture. There is no change for His words, and you cannot not find a refuge other than Him.
[29:45] You (Muhammad) shall recite what has been revealed to you of the scripture, and shall observe the Contact Prayer (al-salata); indeed, the Contact Prayer prevents from the wickedness and the evil deeds, and surely, God’s remembrance is great. And God knows what you all do.
[6:50] Say, “I (Muhammad) do not say to you there are God’s treasures with me, nor do I know the unseen, nor do I say to you that I am an angel. I do not follow except what is revealed to me.” Say, “Can the blind be equal to the seeing? Then do you not think?”
[6:106] You (Muhammad) shall follow what has been inspired to you from your Lord, there is no god except He, and shall turn away from the idol worshipers.
[7:3] You (all) shall follow what has been revealed to you from your Lord, and you are not to follow any allies other than Him. Little is what you remember.
[3:79] It has not been for a human that God gives him the scripture, and the wisdom, and the prophethood, then he says to the people, “You shall be worshippers of me other than God, but (he says) you shall be Lord’s worshippers of what you have been the scripture to teach, and of what you have been to study.”
[6:51] And you (Muhammad) shall warn with this (Quran) of those who fear that they will be gathered to their Lord; it has not been for them any protector other than Him nor an intercessor that they may be righteous.
[16:2] He sends down the angels with the Spirit (Gabriel) with His commands, to whomever He chooses from among His servants that you shall warn that there is no god except I; So, you shall fear Me.”

3. The believers reflect on the message before accepting the messenger indicates the focus on the message (7:75):
[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.”

4. There are many straightforward verses in the Quran that directly indicate focus on the message. The scripture – the Quran was revealed in order to lead the people out of darkness into light which means the focus is directly on the message:
[14:1] Alif.Laam.Ra. A scripture we have revealed it to you (Muhammad) that you may bring out the people from the darkness into the light by their Lord’s permission to the path of the Almighty, the Praiseworthy.
[5:49] And that you (Muhammad) shall judge between them with that which God has revealed to you, and you are not to follow their desires, and shall be aware of them lest they divert you from that which God has revealed to you. So, if they have turned away, then know that God intends that He will afflict them for their sins. And indeed, most of the people are surely disobedient.
[6:50] Say, “I (Muhammad) do not say to you there are God’s treasures with me, nor do I know the unseen, nor do I say to you that I am an angel. I do not follow except what is revealed to me.” Say, “Can the blind be equal to the seeing? Then do you not think?”

5. God has ordered us to “Obey God and obey or follow the messenger” more than 25 times in the Quran but NOT a single time He has ordered us to “Obey God and obey Muhammad”. The order to obey the messenger means to follow the message that is given to him, the Quran. So to obey the messenger is conditional on having the message that he has, is the Quran. Since Muhammad without the Quran is just another human being like us, God wants it to be very clear to obey the person that has the message, the Quran, for what he has, not for who he is (64:12 & 7:157-158):
[64:12] And you (all) shall obey God and shall obey the messenger. Then if you have turned away, is only upon our messenger is the conveyance.
[7:157] Those who follow the messenger, the gentile prophet (Muhammad), whom they find written in the Torah and the Gospel with them. He directs them to the right and prevents them from the evil, and permits for them the good things and forbids for the bad things, and relieves from them their burden and the shackle which has been upon them. Thus, those who have believed in him, respect him, support him, and follow the light that has been sent down with him, those – they are the successful ones.
[7:158] Say, “O the people, indeed, I (Muhammad) am a messenger of God to you all; the One to Him belongs dominion of the heavens and the earth. There is no other god except He. He gives life and causes death.” So, you shall believe in God and His messenger, the gentile prophet, who has believed in God and His words, and you shall follow him that you may guide.

6. There are also many verses in the Quran that are intricate but indicate the focus on the message:
[11:1] Alif.Laam.Raa. A scripture has been perfected its verses, then has been explained in detail from One is Wise, Cognizant.
[11:2] “That you do not worship except God. Indeed, I am a warner and a bearer of good news to you from Him.
[11:3] “And that you shall seek forgiveness of your Lord, then shall repent to Him; He will grant you a good enjoyment for an appointed term and will give His grace to every owner of grace. And if you turn away, then I fear for you the punishment of a great day.”

Note: The opening statement (11:1) followed by an oath of God refers to the Quran which has been perfected and explained by the Wise, the Cognizant as a warner and a bearer of good news. If we can use it for our forgiveness being repented to God can avoid the retribution on Day of Judgment, and the later statement “I fear for you” refers to the messenger, the message instead of referring to the messenger, the human being.

[27:1] Ta. Seen. That is of signs of the Quran, a clear scripture.
[27:2] A guidance and good news for the believers.

Note: The statement in (27:2) followed by an oath of God referring to a set of Quranic initials, Ta. Seen is a confirmation of the message from God as guidance and good news for the believers. Since God has informed us that the scripture guides and brings good news to the believers, the statement is as same as the order to follow the messenger.

[32:1] Alif.Laam.Meem.
[32:2] A revelation of the scripture, there is no doubt in it, from Lord of the worlds.
[32:3] Or do they say, “He has fabricated it?” No, this is the truth from your Lord that you may warn a people has not come to them any warner before yourself that they may guide.

Note: The statements in (32:2-3) followed by an oath of God referring to a set of Quranic initials, Alif.Laam.Meem is a confirmation that this scripture is infallible and is not a fabrication of a human being. Since it is a revelation from God as a warner that they may guide, such statement is same as the order to obey the messenger.

[34:6] Those who have been given the knowledge will see that which has been revealed to you (Muhammad) from your Lord is the truth, and it guides to a path of the Almighty, the Praiseworthy.
Note: This revelation is from God, which is the truth from Him. Since this revelation (message) guides the people in the straight path, such statement is as same as the order to obey the messenger.
[42:52] And thus that we have inspired to you an inspiration by our command. You have not been to know what the scripture was nor was the faith. And we have made it a light; we guide with it whomever we will of our servants. Indeed, you surely, guide to a straight path.

Note: The messenger, the human being who has been inspired with the scripture had no idea about it to guide the people in a straight path according to God’s will. Hence, the statement like “you guide in a straight path” is as same as the order to obey the messenger because of the message what has been inspired with.

7. God sent down the Quran through the Gabriel (2:97, 17:106 & 26:193) from the original master tablet preserved at Him (85:21-22) while He has promised to protect the revealed Quran from any distortion as well (15:9), and has provided with a method for us to verify the accuracy of the Quran (74:30-35). These information without any doubt indicate that we must focus on the message (Quran), and we cannot link any of these facts to the messenger, the human being:

[85:21-22] Nay, it is a glorious Quran. In a preserved master tablet.

[2:97] Say, “Whoever has been enemy to Gabriel, then indeed, he has brought it down by God’s permission into your heart, confirming what was of its before, and a guidance and good news for the believers.”
[17:106] And Quran we have divided it that you (Muhammad) can read it to the people over a period of time; and we have revealed it is a revelation.
[26:193] The Trustworthy Spirit (Gabriel) has descended with it.

[15:9] Indeed, we have revealed the reminder (Quran), and indeed, we will certainly, be protector of it.
[27:82] And when has fulfilled the punishment upon them, we have brought forth for them a creature from the earth speaks to them that the people have been with our revelations do not ascertain.

[74:30] Over it is nineteen
[74:31] And we have not made guardians of the Fire except angels, and we have not made their number except a warning for those who disbelieved, that it may ascertain those who have been given the scripture (Jews and Christians) and may increase faith of those who have believed (Muslims), and may not doubt those who have been given the scripture (Jews and Christians) and the believers (Muslims). And that may say those in their hearts there is a disease (hypocrites) and the disbelievers, “What has God meant by this allegory?” Thus, God misguides whomever He wills and He guides whomever He wills. And none knows your Lord’s soldiers except He. And it is not except a reminder for the human race.
[74:32-34] Absolutely, (I swear) by the moon, the night as it passes and the morning as it shines.
[74:35] Indeed, it is undoubtedly, one of the great (signs).
[74:36-37] A warning for the human race. For whoever has willed among you that he may proceed, or he may stay behind.

8. God has called the Quran “Rasuul” in many occasions to confirm the message to be the messenger to eliminate any confusion from our hearts. But it is a regret that these verses are misinterpreted to make most of us a figure worshiper under the disguise of prophet’s sayings and sunnah. However, let us confirm the meaning of the word “Rasuul” with respect to the message and the messenger from Him who has sent down the message (Quran) to guide, warn and bring the believers out of darkness into light, and has also chosen the messenger among the people to do the same job:
[5:15] O people of the scripture, our messenger (rasuulunaa in Arabic) has come to you to proclaim for you many things you have concealed in the scripture, and to pardon many other transgressions you have committed. A guidance has come to you from God, and a profound scripture.
Note: The Jews and Christians are told to follow the messenger sent down from God as guidance informing what has been concealed in the previous scripture. The last part of the verse has clarified what has come to us is guidance. Hence, our messenger as mentioned in the above verse without any doubt is a profound scripture – the message (Quran) that has come to us in the oral form from God as guidance through the Gabriel. In addition, the messenger, the human being was not aware of what has been concealed as he was gentile (62:2). The word, gentile is translated from the Arabic word, “ummy” which means who do not know the previous scripture, is defined in (2:78).

[65:10] God has prepared a severe punishment for them. So, you shall fear God, O possessors of the understanding, those who have believed. Indeed, God has sent down to you (all) a message (dhikran in Arabic)-
[65:11] A messenger (rasuulan in Arabic) recites God’s revelations to you is clear that it may bring those who have believed and have done the righteous deeds out of the darkness into the light. And whoever believes in God and does as righteous, He will admit him into gardens, flowing the rivers of their underneath, is abiding therein forever. Certainly, God has made good provision for him.

Note: The above verses are very straightforward as we know that the messenger has been chosen among the people while the message has been sent down. So the messenger here is the message (Quran) that recites God’s revelations to the people to lead them out of darkness into light until the end of the world as the final message from God.

9. When God teaches us to implore Him for His blessing as promised through His messengers, He informs us to make focus on the message instead of the messenger to be successful on a Day of the Judgment:
[3:194] “Our Lord, shower us with the blessings You promised us through Your messengers, and do not forsake us on a Day of the Resurrection. You never break a promise.”

10. Prophet had a direct contact with many contemporary people as well as the believers when the Quran was revealed to him. Hence, the order for them to follow the message (Quran) that we find in the following verse. But none can find any logic to interpret it to be an order from God for the contemporary believers or the believers of subsequent generations to follow his sayings or how he had led his family life:
[3:31] Proclaim: Say: “If you have committed to love God, then you shall follow me, God will love you and He will forgive your sins for you. And God is Forgiving, Merciful.
Note: There should not be any doubt that this order from God for the believers to follow the prophet for the message what has been sent down to him i.e., the Quran when he had a direct contact with the people as well as for the believers of the subsequent generations when he is no more among them. Hence, the order for us now to follow the message (Quran) what he left for us.

11. Messengers are chosen by God from us to deliver His message. Thus, He teaches us how we should respect them for successful delivery of His message as long as they lived with us i.e., for the contemporary believers (49:1-4):
[49:1] O you who believe, do not place your opinion above that of God and His messenger. You shall reverence God. God is Hearer, Omniscient.
Note: Since the messenger delivered the God’s message and he strictly followed His commands, the believers should not have any opinion and plan other than God and His messenger.

[49:2] O you who believe, do not raise your voices above the voice of the prophet, nor shall you shout at him as you shout at each other, lest your works become nullified while you do not perceive.
[49:3] Surely, those who lower their voices at the messenger of God are the oneswhose hearts are prepared by God to become righteous. They have deserved forgiveness and a great recompense.

Note: Obviously, they could not possibly raise their voices above the prophet’s voice. In addition, respecting the prophet helps outsiders and visitors in coming to God’s message.
[49:4] As for those who call on you from outside the walls, most of them do not understand.
Note: As the prophet was a fatherly figure among the believers, it was not befitting for them to call him from the other side of the wall.

12. Prophet had to face strong opposition to deliver God’s message and he required both physical and financial support for spreading God’s message. As such, God ordered the contemporary believers to help and support him and to respect him as he should be respected that we find in (33:56). But there is no command for the believers to send blessings (Durut) for him at his lifetime or after his death as claimed. Hence, the order for us now is to follow the message (Quran) what he left for us:
[33:56] God and His angels help and support the prophet. O you who believe, you shall help and support (salloo) him (alayhi), and regard him as he should be regarded.
Note: The order in the above verse is the root of idolizing Muhammad while the order is only for the contemporary believers to support the prophet as well as to respect him as he should be respected at his lifetime. We know that he had to face strong opposition to deliver the God’s message, even he had to emigrate from Mecca to Medina and had to fight many battles in his lifetime. As such, both physical and financial support was required in spreading of God’s message. History indicates that many early Muslims including his first wife Khadija and her sons (prophet’s step sons), Abu Bakr, Omar and Ali et al are mention-worthy who supported him for the sake of Islam.

We also know that Muhammad was a messenger of God as well as a prophet but he has been consistently referred to prophet in about three dozen of verses in the Quran during his life not after his death. Hence, the interpretation of the Arabic word, “Salloo” to “send blessings” for the prophet instead of “help and support” is obviously a misinterpretation. However, when he is not among us we can respect him just to follow the message (Quran) that he left for us.

Conclusion

The key role of the messenger is to deliver the message as received from God through the Gabriel. When God has ordered us to follow the message we are clear what we need to do but when we have been ordered to obey the messenger or to follow the messenger we are confused. The Satan took this opportunity and diverted most of us to think and interpret it to follow the messenger as a person who has been chosen to deliver the message to make us idol worshippers. Since God is aware that we would be in such a situation, He has used the Arabic word “Rasoolan” that means both the message and the messenger to make His order very clear for us. Thus, He has focused on the message (Quran) to be the messenger in many instances in the Quran to strengthen our beliefs to remove any traces of doubts from our hearts to protect us from idol worshiping. In fact, the role of the messenger is as same as the role of the message being guidance, warner, reminder, bearer of good news, mercy and healing of the people for bringing the believers out of darkness into light as both are inseparable. When the messenger, the human being is dead, the message becomes the true messenger. However, the prophet was a leader and a commander-in-chief. He had dealt with war plans, captives and the distribution of war spoils as he had to fight many battles. As such, It was required for the contemporary believers to carry out his plans and commands to support the prophet to maintain discipline among the believers as well as to make success of his plans for the spreading of God’s message against strong opposition. Now those who reverence God should not have any confusion to follow the true messenger- the message (Quran) will reflect on its verses which come to us for understanding, accepting and following its message (19:64) to avoid an equitable requital NOT being the followers of Satan as well as his incumbents hired for moving his agenda forward:
[19:64] We do not come down except by the command of your Lord. To Him belong our past, our future, and everything between them. Your Lord is never forgetful.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.
Tafazzal (9/4/2015)