Moosaa, Muhammad & Adam – the Messengers to whom Allah spoke: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

In the latter part of surah al-Baqarah, Allah informs us:

تِلْكَ الرُّ‌سُلُ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۘ مِّنْهُم مَّن كَلَّمَ اللَّـهُ ۖ وَرَ‌فَعَ بَعْضَهُمْ دَرَ‌جَاتٍ

Those Messengers! We preferred some to others. Among them were those to whom Allah spoke, and He raised some of them in degree [2:253]

Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee commented at length on the contents of this ayah in his book of tafsir. What follows is the first of three sections in which he discussed the messengers to whom He spoke:

قوله تعالى : تلك الرسل فضلنا بعضهم على بعض منهم من كلم الله ورفع بعضهم درجات ، لم يبين هنا هذا الذي كلمه الله منهم وقد بين أن منهم موسى عليه وعلى نبينا الصلاة والسلام بقوله : وكلم الله موسى تكليما [ 4 \ 164 ] ، وقوله : إني اصطفيتك على الناس برسالاتي وبكلامي [ 7 \ 144 ] . ـ

Allah’s statement:

تِلْكَ الرُّ‌سُلُ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۘ مِّنْهُم مَّن كَلَّمَ اللَّـهُ ۖ وَرَ‌فَعَ بَعْضَهُمْ دَرَ‌جَاتٍ

Those Messengers! We preferred some to others. Among them were those to whom Allah spoke, and He raised some of them in degree [2:253]

Allah does not clarify here those of them to whom He spoke, but He did explain that among them was Moosaa (peace and blessings upon him and upon our prophet) by means of His statement:

وَكَلَّمَ اللَّـهُ مُوسَىٰ تَكْلِيمًا

And Allah spoke to Moses with [direct] speech. [4:164]

And His statement [to Moosaa]:

إِنِّي اصْطَفَيْتُكَ عَلَى النَّاسِ بِرِ‌سَالَاتِي وَبِكَلَامِي

I have chosen you over the people with My messages and My words [to you]. [7:144]

قال ابن كثير : منهم من كلم الله ، يعني موسى ومحمدا صلى الله عليهما وسلم ، وكذلك آدم كما ورد في الحديث المروي في ” صحيح ابن حبان ” عن أبي ذر رضي الله عنه . ـ

Ibn Kathir said:

“‘Among them were those to whom Allah spoke‘ – meaning Moosaa and Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon them both), and likewise Adam, as is narrated in the hadeeth narrated in Saheeh ibn Hibbaan on the authority of Abu Dharr.”

قال مقيده عفا الله عنه : تكليم آدم الوارد في ” صحيح ابن حبان ” يبينه قوله تعالى : وقلنا ياآدم اسكن أنت وزوجك الجنة [ 2 \ 35 ] ، وأمثالها من الآيات فإنه ظاهر في أنه بغير واسطة الملك ، ويظهر من هذه الآية نهي حواء عن الشجرة على لسانه ، فهو رسول إليها بذلك . ـ

And the author [Imam al-Shinqitiee] said: The speaking to Adam narrated in Saheeh ibn Hibbaan is clarified by Allah’s statement:

وَقُلْنَا يَا آدَمُ اسْكُنْ أَنتَ وَزَوْجُكَ الْجَنَّةَ

And We said, “O Adam, dwell, you and your wife [2:35]

And the likes of that from (other) ayaat. So it is apparent that this took place without the intermediation of an angel, and He made it clear in this ayah that he (i.e. Adam) forbade Hawwaa’ (Eve, his wife) from the tree with his own tongue, for he was a messenger (rasool) to her with that.

قال القرطبي في تفسير قوله تعالى : منهم من كلم الله ، ما نصه : وقد سئل رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – عن آدم أنبي مرسل هو ؟ فقال : ” نعم نبي مكلم ” ، قال ابن عطية : وقد تأول بعض الناس أن تكليم آدم كان في الجنة ، فعلى هذا تبقى خاصية موسى اهـ . ـ

al-Qurtubi said in the tafsir of Allah’s statement, ‘ Among them were those to whom Allah spoke‘:

“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was asked about Adam, was he a prophet sent?. So he replied, ‘Yes, a prophet to whom Allah spoke directly.’ Ibn ‘Atiyyah said, ‘And some of the people have interpreted Allah’s speaking to Adam as having taken place in al-Jannah, so according to this, it is still exclusive to to Moosaa.'” End quote.

وقال ابن جرير في تفسير قوله تعالى : فإما يأتينكم مني هدى [ 2 \ 38 ] ، في سورة ” البقرة ” ما نصه : لأن آدم كان هو النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – أيام حياته ، بعد أن أهبط إلى [ ص: 155 ] الأرض ، والرسول من الله جل ثناؤه إلى ولده ، فغير جائز أن يكون معنيا وهو الرسول – صلى الله عليه وسلم – بقوله : فإما يأتينكم مني هدى ، أي : رسل اهـ  ـ

And ibn Jarir (al-Tabari) said in the tafsir of Allah’s statement in surah al-Baqarah:

فَإِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُم مِّنِّي هُدًى

And when guidance comes to you (all) from Me… [2:38]

He mentioned what is narrated:

“This is because Adam was a prophet (ﷺ) during his lifetime, after he had been sent down to the Earth, and he was a messenger from Allah to his offspring. So it is not possible that he is intended (recipient of this speech) here since he is the messenger (ﷺ), according to Allah’s statement:

فَإِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُم مِّنِّي هُدًى

And when guidance comes to you (all) from Me… [2:38]

– meaning: messengers.” End quote.

محل الحجة منه بلفظه وفيه وفي كلام ابن كثير المتقدم عن ” صحيح ابن حبان ” التصريح بأن آدم رسول وهو مشكل مع ما ثبت في حديث الشفاعة المتفق عليه من أن نوحا عليه وعلى نبينا الصلاة والسلام أول الرسل ويشهد له قوله تعالى : إنا أوحينا إليك كما أوحينا إلى نوح والنبيين من بعده [ 4 \ 163 ] ، والظاهر أنه لا طريق للجمع إلا من وجهين : ـ

The outcome of this argument from him with what is in his words here and with what is in the previous speech of ibn Kathir from Saheeh ibn Hibbaan is a clear proof that Adam was a messenger (rasool).

But this is problematic in the face of what is affirmed in the authentically reported hadeeth of the intercession of the Day of Judgement that Nooh (peace and blessings upon him and upon our prophet) was the first of the messengers, and Allah’s statement supports that:

إِنَّا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ كَمَا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ نُوحٍ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ مِن بَعْدِهِ

Indeed, We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], as We revealed to Nooh and the prophets after him. [4:163]

And what is apparent is that there is no way to reconcile that other than from two angles:

الأول : أن آدم أرسل لزوجه وذريته في الجنة ، ونوح أول رسول أرسل في الأرض ، ويدل لهذا الجمع ما ثبت في ” الصحيحين ” وغيرهما ، ويقول : ” ولكن ائتوا نوحا فإنه أول رسول بعثه الله إلى أهل الأرض ” ، الحديث . فقوله : ” إلى أهل ” الأرض ، لو لم يرد به الاحتراز عن رسول بعث لغير أهل الأرض ، لكان ذلك الكلام حشوا ، بل يفهم من مفهوم مخالفته ما ذكرنا . ويتأنس له بكلام ابن عطية الذي قدمنا نقل القرطبي له . ـ

First: That Adam was sent (as a messenger) to his wife and his offspring in al-Jannah, while Nooh was the first messenger on the Earth. And what is narrated in the Saheehayn and elsewhere leads to  this reconciliation, where Adam said, “…but go to Nooh; for indeed he was the first messenger whom Allah sent to the people of the Earth” until the end of the hadeeth. So his statement, “to the people of the Earth” – so long as he did not intend it as prudent wording so as not to impinge on a messenger sent to other than the people of the Earth- however that is a marginal position; rather, what is understood is contrary to that understanding. And this is in accord with the statement of ibn ‘Atiyyah which we previously relayed from al-Qurtubi.

الوجه الثاني : أن آدم أرسل إلى ذريته وهم على الفطرة لم يصدر منهم كفر فأطاعوه ، ونوح هو أول رسول أرسل لقوم كافرين ينهاهم عن الإشراك بالله تعالى ، ويأمرهم بإخلاص العبادة له وحده ، ويدل لهذا الوجه قوله تعالى : وما كان الناس إلا أمة واحدة الآية [ 10 \ 19 ] . أي : على الدين الحنيف ، أي حتى كفر قوم نوح ، وقوله : كان الناس أمة واحدة فبعث الله النبيين الآية [ 2 \ 213 ] . والله تعالى أعلم . ـ

The second angle: That Adam was sent to his offspring while they were upon the fitrah (natural inclination towards monotheism); no kufr occurred from them so they obeyed him, while Nooh was the the first messenger sent to a disbelieving people; he forbade them from committing shirk with Allah and commanded them with ikhlaas (sincerity) in their worship to Him alone. And this angle is supported by Allah’s statement:

وَمَا كَانَ النَّاسُ إِلَّا أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً

And mankind was not but one [religious] community … [10:19]

until the end of the ayah. Meaning: upon the monotheistic religion – i.e. until the people of Nooh disbelieved. And His statement:

انَ النَّاسُ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً فَبَعَثَ اللَّـهُ النَّبِيِّينَ

Mankind was [of] one religion [before their deviation]; then Allah sent the prophets… [2:213]

until the end of the ayah. And Allah knows best.

[Adhwaa al-Bayaan 1/155-156]

See also part two: Those Messengers whom Allah Raised in Degree: Tafsit al-Shinqitee

See also part three: “Those Messengers, We have given precedence to some over others”: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

See also: The Difference between a Prophet and a Messenger: Imam al-Shinqitee

See also: ibn Taymiyah on the difference between a prophet and a messenger [forthcoming]

See also: The Distinction Between a Prophet-King and a Slave-Messenger

See also: Belief in the Messengers in brief: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: Preservation of the Wordings and Meanings of the Qur’an among the Salaf: Tafsir ibn Kathir

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5 thoughts on “Moosaa, Muhammad & Adam – the Messengers to whom Allah spoke: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

  1. Pingback: The Difference between a Prophet and a Messenger: Imam al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: Those Messengers whom Allah Raised in Degree: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: “Those messengers, We have given precedence to some over others”: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: Why Allah began listing the prophets with Nuh: Tafsir al-Baghawi | Tulayhah

  5. Pingback: Preservation of the Wordings and Meanings of the Qur’an among the Salaf: Tafsir ibn Kathir | Tulayhah

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