و رفعنا لک ذکرک محمدﷺ

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Messengers of Allah Being a Human Being- 2

16 Aug 2018
Messengers of Allah Being a Human Being- 2

By Syed Abul A'ala Maududi (b.1903 –d.1979)

We initiated your creation, then We gave you each a shape, and then We said to the angels: 'Prostrate before Adam.') . They all prostrated except Iblis: he was not one of those who fell Prostrate. (Al-Quran 7:11)

These verses should he read in conjunction with (al-Baqarah 2: 30-9). The words in which the command to prostrate before Adam is mentioned may give rise to the misapprehension that it was Adam as such who is the object of prostration. This misapprehension should be removed by what has been said here. The text makes it very clear that prostration before Adam was in his capacity, as the representative of all mankind and not in his personal capacity. 

The successive stages of man's creation mentioned in the present verse ('We initiated your creation, then We gave you each a shape'), means that God first planned the creation of man, made ready the necessary materials for it, and then gave those materials a human form. Then, when man had assumed the status of a living being, God asked the angels to prostrate before him. The Qur'an says: And recall when your Lord said to the angels: 'I am about to create man from clay. When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit then fall You down in prostration before him' (Sad 38: 71-2). 

Mention has been made in these verses, though in a difterent way, of the same three stages of creation: man's creation from clay; giving him a proportionate human shape; and bringing Adam into existence by breathing into him God's spirit. The following verses also have the same import: 

And recall when your Lord said to the angels: 'I am about to create man, from sounding clay moulded into shape from black mud. When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit, fall you all down in prostration before him' (al-Hijr 15: 28-9). 1

Noah (A.S.) as a Human Being

“I do not say to you that I possess Allah's treasures, nor that I have access to the realm beyond the ken of sense-perception, nor do I claim to be an angel. Nor do I say regarding those whom you look upon with disdain that Allah will not bestow any good upon them. Allah knows best what is in their hearts. Were I to say so I would be one of the wrongdoers.'” (Quran: 11:31)

 

This is the answer to their objection that he was no more than a man like themselves. Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) admitted this: In fact I am a man and I never claimed to be more than this. My only claim is that God has shown me the right way of knowledge and action and you are welcome to test this in any way you like. But instead of this, you are asking me questions about the Unseen, though I never claimed to have its knowledge. You ask me to produce such things as can be produced only by that person who possesses God’s treasures and I never claimed to possess them. You object that my physical life is like that of other men, though I never claimed that I was an angel and not a man. The true test of my claim is that you should ask me about the true creeds, the principles of morality and culture and not about frivolous things about the future events for I never claimed to possess their knowledge.2

“But the notables among his people had refused to believe, and said: "This is none other than a mortal like yourselves who desires to attain superiority over you. Had Allah wanted (to send any Messengers) He would have sent down angels. We have heard nothing like this in the time of our forebears of old (that humans were sent as Messengers). He is a person who has been seized with a little madness; so wait for a while (perhaps he will improve)." (Al-Quran 23:24-25)

 

There has been a common deviation that a human being cannot be a Prophet, and a Prophet cannot be a human being. That is why the Quran has refuted this wrong conception over and over again, and has stated forcefully that all the Prophets were human beings and that a human being only could be sent as a Prophet to human beings. For details, see (Suras Al-Aaraf Ayats 63, 69); (Yuonus, Ayat 2); (Houd, Ayats 27-31); (Yousuf, Ayat 109); (Ar- Raad, Ayat 38); (Ibrahim, Ayats 10-11); (An-Nahl, Ayat 43), (Bani Israil, Ayats 94-95); (Al-Kahf, Ayat 110); (Al-Anbiya, Ayats 3, 34); (Al-Mominoon, Ayats 33-34, 47); (Al-Furqan, Ayats 7, 20); (Ash-Shuara, Ayats 154, 186); (Ya-Sin, Ayat 15), (Ha Mim Sajdah, Ayat 6) along with the relevant E.Ns. 3

The notables among Noah's own people, who had refused to follow him, responded: 'We merely consider you a human being like ourselves.31 Nor do we find among those who follow you except the lowliest of our folk, the men who follow you without any proper reason. (Al-Quran 11:27)

The same foolish objection was being raised by the people against the Prophet (peace be upon him). They argued like this: You are a man like us: you eat and drink, you walk and sleep and have a family, and there is nothing in you that might show that you have been sent by God. (See E. N. Surah Yaseen).4

“Do you wonder that admonition should come to you from your Lord through a man from amongst yourselves that he may warn you, that you may avoid evil and that mercy may be shown to you?”  (Al-Quran 7:63)

Hud (A.S.) as a Human Being

The notables among his people who had refused to believe and who denied the meeting of the Hereafter, and those whom We had endowed with ease and comfort in this life,35 cried out: "This is no other than a mortal like yourselves who eats what you eat and drinks what you drink. If you were to obey a human being like yourselves, you will certainly be losers. (Al-Quran 23:33-34)

Some commentators have wrongly opined that the chiefs exchanged these remarks against the Messenger between themselves. These remarks in fact were addressed to the common people. When the chiefs felt that the message was spreading among the common people and there was a real danger that they would be influenced by the pure character of the Messenger and that their superiority then would automatically come to an end, they began to delude them by raising such objections against him. It is worthwhile to note that both the chiefs of the people of Noah and the chiefs of the people of Aad accused their Messengers of the lust for power but as regards to themselves, they thought that power and prosperity were their inherent rights and they were in every respect entitled to be the chiefs of their people.5

He said: '0 my people! There is no folly in me; rather I am a Messenger from the Lord of the universe. I convey to you the messages of my Lord, and I give you sincere advice. Do you wonder that an exhortation should come to you from your Lord through a man from amongst yourselves that he may warn you? (7:67-69)

They said: “Had our Lord so willed, He would have sent down angels. So we deny the Message you have brought.” (Al-Quran 41:14).

Salih and Shoeb  (A.S.) as Human Beings

They replied: "You are nothing but one of those who are bewitched; you are no different from a mortal like us. So produce a sign if you are truthful. (Al-Quran 26:153-154)

“They said: "You are no more than one of those who have been bewitched, you are only a mortal like us. Indeed we believe that you are an utter liar.” (Al-Quran 26:185-186)

Musa and Haroon (A.S.) As a Human Being

Pharaoh and his notables said about Musa (Moses) and Haroon (Aaron);

They said: "Shall we put faith in two mortals like ourselves1 when their people are slaves to us?" (Al Quran 23:47)

All Prophets (A.S.) as Human Beings

“Their Messengers told them: "Indeed we are only human beings like yourselves, but Allah bestows His favour on those of His servants whom He wills. (Al-Quran-14:11)

That is, "No doubt we are human beings like you but it is Allah's will that He has chosen us from among you and blessed us with the knowledge of the Truth and keen discernment. And this is Allah's will and He has full powers to bestow anything on anyone He wills. We are not in a position to ask Him to send that blessing to you or to anyone else: nor can we deny the realities which have been shown to us." 6

“They replied: "You are only a human being like ourselves. You seek to prevent us from serving those whom our forefathers have been serving all along. If that is so, produce a clear authority for it."- (Al-Quran-14:10)

The disbelievers meant to imply: You are a human being like us in every respect: you eat, drink and sleep like us and have wife and children like us. You feel hungry and thirsty, and suffer from heat and cold, disease and calamities like us. In short, you have every human limitation like us, and we see nothing unusual and extraordinary in you to induct us to accept you as a Prophet and believe that God communicates with you and sends His angels to you.7

  1. Surah Al-A'raf, Explanatory Note 10
  2. Surah Hud E. N. 37
  3. Surah Al-Muminun N. 26
  4. Surah Hud E. N. 31
  5. Surah Al-Muminun N. 36
  6. Surah Ibrahim (14) E.N. 21
  7. Surah Ibrahim (14) E.N. 19

 (Translated from Urdu book Seerat e Sarwar Alam, Vol. 1)

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