Commentary on the Holy Quran
The awe-inspiring excellences of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم
Mufti Muhammad Qasim Attari
اَلَّذِیْنَ یَتَّبِعُوْنَ الرَّسُوْلَ النَّبِیَّ الْاُمِّیَّ الَّذِیْ یَجِدُوْنَهٗ مَكْتُوْبًا عِنْدَهُمْ فِی التَّوْرٰىةِ وَ الْاِنْجِیْلِ٘-یَاْمُرُهُمْ بِالْمَعْرُوْفِ وَ یَنْهٰىهُمْ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَ یُحِلُّ لَهُمُ الطَّیِّبٰتِ وَ یُحَرِّمُ عَلَیْهِمُ الْخَبٰٓىٕثَ وَ یَضَعُ عَنْهُمْ اِصْرَهُمْ وَ الْاَغْلٰلَ الَّتِیْ كَانَتْ عَلَیْهِمْؕ-فَالَّذِیْنَ اٰمَنُوْا بِهٖ وَ عَزَّرُوْهُ وَ نَصَرُوْهُ وَ اتَّبَعُوا النُّوْرَ الَّذِیْۤ اُنْزِلَ مَعَهٗۤۙ-اُولٰٓىٕكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُوْنَ۠(۱۵۷)
‘Those who will be in service to this Messenger (Prophet Muhammad) who is untutored (in any usual system of learning; rather, taught by Allah only); the Conveyor of the unseen news, whom they will find mentioned in the Torah and the Injeel (which is) with them. He commands them to do good and forbids them from evil, and he makes the clean things lawful for them and makes the filthy things unlawful for them, and he removes the burden and shackles around the neck which were upon them. So, those who believe in him, and honour him, and give him assistance, and follow the light (i.e. the Qur’aan) which was sent down with him; it is they who became successful.’ [Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 9, Surah Al-A’raaf, Verse 157)
Whilst reciting this verse, it appears as though the praise of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم is being read fluently in prose. Every word is expressing the greatness and elevated rank of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. There is a consensus amongst the commentators that in this verse, ‘Messenger’ [رسول] refers to Sayyiduna Muhammad صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. He صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم is stationed at the rank of messengership and is a means and an intermediary between the Creator and the creation. He conveys the commands and prohibitions of Allah Almighty, and His religious orders and rulings, to His bondsmen. He is honoured with the rank of prophethood and is one who makes the unseen matters apparent, and he is independent of the creation and learns from the Creator. His mention in the Torah and Bible is shining bright like the stars. He صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم is a propagator of good deeds and offers protection from hellfire by preventing people from committing bad deeds. His blessed, pure and virtuous personality makes pure things permissible and renders impermissible that which is impure, dirty and unclean. He صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم is the one who relieved people from the burden of ignorant customs and traditions, invalid rules and fallacious commands that were perennial for centuries, and he replaced them with comfort and peace. It is obligatory to bring faith in the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, to respect him, to advocate him, to follow him and to believe and follow the light that he brought, i.e. the Noble Quran. The one who fulfils these obligations will be accepted in the court of Allah Almighty, successful in the world and the hereafter and worthy of salvation and rewards.
Meaning of the word ‘اُمی’ [Ummi]
This word has been translated as ‘untutored’, because it does not mean that he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم was not capable of reading; his ability to read and write is proven from the books of Hadees and Seerah. ‘Ummi’ means that he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم did not learn to read and write from anyone in creation, rather the Creator taught him. Being ‘Ummi’ is one of the miracles of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم.
Aisa Ummi Kis Liye Minnat Kash-e-Ustad ho
Kiya Kifayat Is ko ‘اِقْرَأ رَبُّکَ الْاَکْرَمْ’ Nahin
The Scholars and Commentators have mentioned other meanings of ‘Ummi’ as well:
1. Ummi, i.e. the one who is linked to Umm Al-Qurra (Makkah).
2. Ummi, i.e. the one who belongs to a nation of unlettered people (but he himself knows how to read); just how in the Quran, the people of Makkah were referred to as unlettered, whereas there were many people amongst them who could read. But as they were from the same nation, they were called unlettered.
3. Ummi, i.e. the possessor of a nation/the one who has a nation.
The mention of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم in the Torah and the Bible
It is mentioned in this verse that the people of the book found the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم mentioned in the Torah and the Bible. ‘Allamah Mufti Na’eem-ud-Deen Muradabadi رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه states: ‘The people of the book tampered their scriptures in every era, and a lot of their effort was spent in completely erasing the mention of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم from their books. They had the Torah and the Bible in their hands, and so they had no difficulty in doing this. However, despite making thousands of alterations, the current Bible still contains some sign of the glad tiding of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. Hence, in the Bible published in 1931 by the British and Foreign Bible Society Lahore, the following is mentioned in the Gospel of John in Chapter 14, verse 16: ‘And I will request my father to bless you with another helper, who will remain with you eternally.’ (Gospel of John, Chapter 14, verse 16, British and Foreign Bible Society Lahore 1931)
The word ‘helper’ has a footnote, which states that the meaning is representative or intercessor. So, after Sayyiduna Eisa عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام, who will come as an intercessor and will remain eternally, i.e. his religion will never be abrogated, besides the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم? Then, in verse 29 and 30 it states: ‘And now, I have informed you prior to his arrival so that when he arrives, you will have certainty. After this, I will not mention many things, as the Leader of the world is about to arrive, and I do not posses anything that he has.’ (Gospel of John, Chapter 14, verses 29-30, British and Foreign Bible Society Lahore 1931)
How clear is this glad tiding? Moreover, notice how Sayyiduna Eisa عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام intrigued his nation and made them anticipate the birth of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. ‘Leader of the World’ [in the aforementioned verse] specifically refers to the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, and for the statement ‘I do not possess anything that he has’ to be said is an expression of his greatness صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and the utmost reverence and humbleness of the Sayyiduna Eisa عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام before him.
The one who makes permissible that which is pure and makes impermissible that which is impure
In the verse, an additional attribute of the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم was mentioned that he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم makes pure things permissible for people. As well as other things, this also includes those halal and pure things that were declared impermissible for the Children of Israel [Banu Israel] due to their disobedience. Likewise, the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has declared impure and filthy things as impermissible. The Ahadees mention these things in detail. Here, scholars have spoken extensively on a particular topic relating to whether or not the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم had authority concerning religious rulings, i.e. Could he declare something as obligatory for a person and declare another thing as forbidden for a specific person? The researched opinion on this matter is that Allah Almighty granted this authority to the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. In the verse itself, the wordings of tahleel (making things permissible) and tahreem (making things impermissible) are stated. The Ahadees also extensively cover this topic. If you wish to read a detailed and well-researched discussion on this topic, refer to Imam Ahmad Raza Khan’s رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه booklet titled ‘منیة اللبیب ان التشریع بید الحبیب’—This can be found in volume 30 of Fatawa Razawiyyah.
The one who removes the burden of people
The verse also mentions another attribute of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم: he removes the burden and the restrictions that were upon people. Burdens and restrictions refer to the great hardships and difficult rulings that were enforced on the Bani Israel. These restrictions included ignorant ways, customs and traditions, as well as rulings that were concocted by the priests and rabbis of the Bani Israel themselves, which they then imposed on the people. By means of the easy rulings of his shari’ah, the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم removed all this load from the people. The basic principle given by the Prophetic shari’ah was that the religion is easy. Hence, the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said to the companions: یَسِّرُوْا وَلَا تُعَسِّرُوْا ‘Create ease, and do not place hardship.’ (Bukhari, Hadees 6,125) And he said: اَحَبُّ الدِّیْنِ اِلَی اللهِ الْحَنِیْفِیَّةُ السَّمْحَةُ ‘The most beloved religion to Allah Almighty is the easy Hanafiyyah (Abrahamic) religion.’ (Bukhari, vol. 1, p. 16) He also said: اِنَّ الدِّیْنَ یُسْرٌ ‘The Religion is easy.’ (Bukhari, Hadees 39)
Attributes of the successful: At the end of the verse, the attributes of those who are successful and fortunate were mentioned.
The first attribute
Belief in the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم
The first condition for success and the first attribute of successful people is embracing faith in the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, because after the arrival of the Master of all Messengers, the Seal of prophets (صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم), there is no salvation for anyone without believing in him. He صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم arrived as a messenger for all Muslims, or rather for whole creation, just as it is stated in the Holy Quran:
قُلْ یٰۤاَیُّهَا النَّاسُ اِنِّیْ رَسُوْلُ اللّٰهِ اِلَیْكُمْ جَمِیْعَاﰳ
‘Say you (O Beloved),”O people! I am the Messenger of Allah towards you all”’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 9, Surah Al-A’raaf, Verse 158)
Allah Almighty has even commanded the prophets عَـلَـيْهِمُ السَّلَام to believe in His Messenger صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and aid him. The Quran states:
لَتُؤْمِنُنَّ بِهٖ وَ لَتَنْصُرُنَّهٗؕ-
‘You must believe in him, and you must aid him.’
So you should certainly, definitely believe in him and you should certainly, definitely help him.’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 3, Surah Aal-e-Imraan, Verse 81)
Reverence for the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم
Reverence for the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم is essential from a doctrinal, practical, verbal, physical and spiritual aspect, and it is the essence of faith. Every chapter of the Companions’ lives رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُم is adorned with incidents exemplifying this reverence.
ادب گاہیست زیر آسماں از عرش نازک تر
نفس گم کردہ می آید جنیدو بایزیدایں جا
Translation: ‘Beneath the skies, the court of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم is such a place of respect that even great Saints like Sayyiduna Junaid Baghdadi and Bayazeed Bastami رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْهِمَا visit it whilst pausing their breaths’ (i.e. they do not even breathe loudly due to respect.)
Helping the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم
Helping and assisting the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم is obligatory and a command from Allah Almighty. Allah Almighty states:
اَلنَّبِیُّ اَوْلٰى بِالْمُؤْمِنِیْنَ مِنْ اَنْفُسِهِمْ
‘This Prophet has greater ownership of the Muslims than their own selves.’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 21, Surah Al-Ahzaab, Verse 6)
(Note: Another translation for this verse is ‘This Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves.’)
Allah Almighty has also said:
مَا كَانَ لِاَهْلِ الْمَدِیْنَةِ وَ مَنْ حَوْلَهُمْ مِّنَ الْاَعْرَابِ اَنْ یَّتَخَلَّفُوْا عَنْ رَّسُوْلِ اللّٰهِ وَ لَا یَرْغَبُوْا بِاَنْفُسِهِمْ عَنْ نَّفْسِهٖؕ-
‘It was not proper for the people of Madinah and the people of the surrounding villages to stay behind the Messenger of Allah (i.e. not joining the Jihaad), nor to consider their own lives dearer than his life.’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 11, Surah Al-Tawbah, Verse 120)
For Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddeeq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ to allow the snake to bite him for the sake of the Prophet’s صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم rest, and for the Lion of Allah, Maula Ali رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه to present himself before the deadly attacks of the disbelievers by sleeping in the bed of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم on the night of migration are great examples of this very help and service. Similarly, blessed companions would stand in front of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم in the battlefield so that no arrow could harm the blessed body of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. All these were forms of acting upon this Quranic command.
Yeh ek jan kiya hay agar ho Karoron
Tayray naam par sab ko wara karon mayn
Karun Tayray Naam pay Jaan fida na bas aik Jaan do Jahan fida
Do Jahan Say Bhi Nahin Jee Bhara Karon Kaya Karoron Jahan Nahi
Following the light
This Light refers to the Quran by which the heart of a believer is illuminated, the darkness of doubt and ignorance is removed, and the radiance of knowledge and certainty is spread.
By means of the one created from light, Sayyiduna Jibra’eel عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام, the Lord who bestowed light to the heavens and the earth revealed this luminous speech (Kalam) to the Chosen One, the Illuminating Lamp, the Prophet of Light (صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم). The one who follows this Light will receive the light of guidance in this world, a light which radiates the grave in Barzakh and a light which shows the path to Paradise amidst the darkness of the Bridge of Siraat.
The possessors of all these attributes were given glad tidings that whoever believes in this Prophet, respects him, assists him and follows the light that was revealed along with him, they are indeed the successful ones.