The Prophet Muhammad was Sent to All Mankind: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Allah says in surah Aal ‘Imran:

فَإِنْ حَاجُّوكَ فَقُلْ أَسْلَمْتُ وَجْهِيَ لِلَّـهِ وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِ ۗ وَقُل لِّلَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ وَالْأُمِّيِّينَ أَأَسْلَمْتُمْ ۚ فَإِنْ أَسْلَمُوا فَقَدِ اهْتَدَوا ۖ وَّإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْكَ الْبَلَاغُ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ بَصِيرٌ بِالْعِبَادِ

So if they argue with you, say, “I have submitted myself to Allah, and so have those who follow me.” And say to those who were given the Scripture and to the unlearned, “Have you submitted yourselves?” And if they submit, they are rightly guided; but if they turn away – then only notification is required of you. And Allah is Seeing of His servants. [3:20]

Commenting on this in his book of tafsir, al-haafidh ibn Kathir wrote:

قال تعالى : ( فإن حاجوك ) أي : جادلوك في التوحيد ( فقل أسلمت وجهي لله ومن اتبعن ) أي : فقل أخلصت عبادتي لله وحده ، لا شريك له ولا ند [ له ] ولا ولد ولا صاحبة له ( ومن اتبعن ) على ديني ، يقول كمقالتي ، كما قال تعالى : ( قل هذه سبيلي أدعو إلى الله على بصيرة أنا ومن اتبعني [ وسبحان الله وما أنا من المشركين ] ) [ يوسف : 108 ] . ـ

Allah said:

فَإِنْ حَاجُّوكَ

So if they argue with you …

i.e. if they argue with you regarding Allah’s sole right to be worshiped

فَقُلْ أَسْلَمْتُ وَجْهِيَ لِلَّـهِ وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِ

… then say, “I have submitted myself to Allah, and so have those who follow me.”

i.e. then say, “I have made my worship exclusively for Allah alone, without making any partner, counterpart, offspring, or spouse for Him

وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِ

“… and so have those who follow me.”

i.e. follow me in my religion – they will also say the same thing.

This is like Allah’s statement:

قُلْ هَـٰذِهِ سَبِيلِي أَدْعُو إِلَى اللَّـهِ ۚ عَلَىٰ بَصِيرَةٍ أَنَا وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِي ۖ وَسُبْحَانَ اللَّـهِ وَمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ

Say, “This is my way; I invite to Allah with insight, I and those who follow me. And exalted is Allah; and I am not of those who associate others with Him.” [12:108]

ثم قال تعالى آمرا لعبده ورسوله محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم أن يدعو إلى طريقته ودينه ، والدخول في شرعه وما بعثه الله به الكتابيين من الملتين والأميين من المشركين فقال : ( وقل للذين أوتوا الكتاب والأميين أأسلمتم فإن أسلموا فقد اهتدوا وإن تولوا فإنما عليك البلاغ ) أي : والله عليه حسابهم وإليه مرجعهم ومآبهم ، وهو الذي يهدي من يشاء ، ويضل من يشاء ، وله الحكمة في ذلك ، والحجة البالغة ، ولهذا قال : ( والله بصير بالعباد ) أي : هو عليم بمن يستحق الهداية ممن يستحق الضلالة ، وهو الذي ( لا يسأل عما يفعل وهم يسألون ) [ الأنبياء : 33 ] وما ذاك إلا لحكمته ورحمته . ـ

Allah then commands His servant and messenger Muhammad to call people to His way and religion and to embrace His divinely legislated way and what He had sent in His two previous scriptures to the followers of those religions as well as the illiterate mushrikoon. He said:

وَقُل لِّلَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ وَالْأُمِّيِّينَ أَأَسْلَمْتُمْ ۚ فَإِنْ أَسْلَمُوا فَقَدِ اهْتَدَوا ۖ وَّإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْكَ الْبَلَاغُ

And say to those who were given the Scripture and to the unlearned, “Have you submitted yourselves?” And if they submit, they are rightly guided; but if they turn away – then only notification is required of you.

i.e. Allah is responsible for taking them to account, and it is to Him that they will ultimately be returned and will remain. It is Allah who guides whomever He wishes and misguides whomever He wishes, and He has wisdom and impeachable judgement for what He does.

وَاللَّـهُ بَصِيرٌ بِالْعِبَادِ

And Allah is Seeing of His servants.

i.e. He is fully-knowing of who deserves guidance and who merits misguidance. He is the one who

لَا يُسْأَلُ عَمَّا يَفْعَلُ وَهُمْ يُسْأَلُونَ

He is not questioned as to what He does, but they will be questioned. [21:33]

and that is due to His wisdom and mercy.

وهذه الآية وأمثالها من أصرح الدلالات على عموم بعثته ، صلوات الله وسلامه عليه ، إلى جميع الخلق ، كما هو معلوم من دينه ضرورة ، وكما دل عليه الكتاب والسنة في غير ما آية وحديث ، فمن ذلك قوله تعالى : ( قل يا أيها الناس إني رسول الله إليكم جميعا ) [ الأعراف : 158 ] وقال تعالى : ( تبارك الذي نزل الفرقان على عبده ليكون للعالمين نذيرا ) [ الفرقان : 1 ] وفي الصحيحين وغيرهما ، مما ثبت تواتره بالوقائع المتعددة ، أنه بعث كتبه صلى الله عليه وسلم يدعو إلى الله ملوك الآفاق ، وطوائف بني آدم من عربهم وعجمهم ، كتابيهم وأميهم ، امتثالا لأمر الله له بذلك . وقد روى عبد الرزاق ، عن معمر ، عن همام ، عن أبي هريرة ، عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال : ” والذي نفسي بيده ، لا يسمع بي أحد من هذه الأمة يهودي ولا نصراني ، ومات ولم يؤمن بالذي أرسلت به ، إلا كان من أهل النار ” رواه مسلم . ـ

This and other similar ayaat are some of the clearest and most explicit evidences that the Prophet was sent to all creation. This is a well-known fact of the religion, as is shown by both the Qur’an and the Sunnah in multiple places. Some examples include Allah’s statement:

قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّـهِ إِلَيْكُمْ جَمِيعًا

Say, “O mankind, I am a messenger of Allah sent to all of you!” [7:158]

and His statement:

تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي نَزَّلَ الْفُرْقَانَ عَلَىٰ عَبْدِهِ لِيَكُونَ لِلْعَالَمِينَ نَذِيرًا

Blessed is He who sends down the criterion to His slave so that He could be a warner to all creation. [25:1]

And one can also find authentic mass-transmitted reports of numerous events in both al-Bukhari and Muslim, as well as elsewhere, that the Prophet sent letters to the various rulers of the earth calling them to the worship of Allah, regardless of whether they were Arab or non-Arab, people who hasd received previous scriptures or otherwise. He did this in compliance with Allah’s command to do so.

‘Abd al-Razzaq narrated … that the Prophet said:

I swear by the One who holds my soul in His hand, any Jew or Christian of this ummah who hears of me and then dies without believing in the message that I have been sent with will be one of the people of the Hellfire.

This is recorded by Muslim.

وقال صلى الله عليه وسلم : ” بعثت إلى الأحمر والأسود ” وقال : ” كان النبي يبعث إلى قومه خاصة وبعثت إلى الناس عامة ” . وقال الإمام أحمد : حدثنا مؤمل ، حدثنا حماد ، حدثنا ثابت عن أنس ، رضي الله عنه : أن غلاما يهوديا كان يضع للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وضوءه ويناوله نعليه ، فمرض ، فأتاه النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فدخل عليه وأبوه قاعد عند رأسه ، فقال له النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم : ” يا فلان ، قل : لا إله إلا الله ” فنظر إلى أبيه ، فسكت أبوه ، فأعاد عليه النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ، فنظر إلى أبيه ، فقال أبوه : أطع أبا القاسم ، فقال الغلام : أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وأنك رسول الله ، فخرج النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وهو يقول : ” الحمد لله الذي أخرجه بي من النار ” أخرجه البخاري في الصحيح إلى غير ذلك من الآيات والأحاديث . ـ

The Prophet said:

I have been sent to both light-skinned and Black.

and he said:

The prophets used to be sent exclusively to their own peoples but I was sent to all mankind.

Imam Ahmad narrated … that Anas said:

There was a Jewish child who used to bring the Prophet water for wudhoo’ and fetch his his sandals who then fell ill. The Prophet went to visit him and when he arrived he found the boy and his father and sat down next to the boy and said, “O so-and-so, say ‘Laa ilaaha illallaah‘ – ‘there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah’.” The boy looked at his father, who remained silent, so the Prophet repeated this again. The boy looked to his father, who then said, “Obey Abu’l-Qassim,” so the boy said, “I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that you are the messenger of Allah.” The Prophet departed while saying, “All praise is due to Allah who has removed you from the Hellfire by way of me.”

al-Bukhari reported this in his Saheeh collection, and there are many other ayaat and hadeeth narrations on this topic.

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 2/26-27]

See also: “O Mankind, a Proof Has Come to You From Your Lord”: Tafsir al-Tabari

See also: The Prophet Muhammad is the fulfillment of Ibrahim’s du’a : Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

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