Chapter Two:
Universality of Muhammad’s Message
Universality of the message of Muhammad, sallallaahu alayhi wasallam is a matter of belief that all Muslims agree upon. In fact, knowing that he was sent to the entire mankind is a necessary knowledge in the religion of Islaam.1 He was sent to both mankind and jinn.

Allaah says, addressing His Messenger, Muhammad:
قُلۡ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ إِنِّى رَسُولُ ٱللَّهِ إِلَيۡڪُمۡ جَمِيعًا ٱلَّذِى لَهُ ۥ مُلۡكُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۖ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ يُحۡىِۦ وَيُمِيتُ‌ۖ فَـَٔامِنُواْ بِٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ٱلنَّبِىِّ ٱلۡأُمِّىِّ ٱلَّذِى يُؤۡمِنُ بِٱللَّهِ وَڪَلِمَـٰتِهِۦ وَٱتَّبِعُوهُ لَعَلَّڪُمۡ تَهۡتَدُونَ (١٥٨)
(Al-A‘raaf 7:158)
وَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَـٰكَ إِلَّا ڪَآفَّةً۬ لِّلنَّاسِ بَشِيرً۬ا وَنَذِيرً۬ا وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَڪۡثَرَ ٱلنَّاسِ لَا يَعۡلَمُونَ (٢٨)
“Say (O Muhammad (peace be upon him)) "O mankind! Verily, I am sent to you all as the Messenger of Allâh.” (Al-A‘raaf 7:158)
وَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَـٰكَ إِلَّا ڪَآفَّةً۬ لِّلنَّاسِ بَشِيرً۬ا وَنَذِيرً۬ا وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَڪۡثَرَ ٱلنَّاسِ لَا يَعۡلَمُونَ (٢٨)
(Saba 34:28)

“And We have not sent you (O Muhammad (peace be upon him)) except as a giver of glad tidings and a warner to all mankind.” (Saba 34:28)
أَكَانَ لِلنَّاسِ عَجَبًا أَنۡ أَوۡحَيۡنَآ إِلَىٰ رَجُلٍ۬ مِّنۡہُمۡ أَنۡ أَنذِرِ ٱلنَّاسَ وَبَشِّرِ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ أَنَّ لَهُمۡ قَدَمَ صِدۡقٍ عِندَ رَبِّہِمۡ‌ۗ قَالَ ٱلۡڪَـٰفِرُونَ إِنَّ هَـٰذَا لَسَـٰحِرٌ۬ مُّبِينٌ (٢)
(Yoonus 10:2)
1 See: Al-‘Aqeedah At-Tahaawiyyah p134

“Is it wonder for mankind that We have sent Our Inspiration to a man from among themselves (i.e. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)) (saying): "Warn mankind (of the coming torment in Hell), and give good news to those who believe (in the Oneness of Allâh and in His Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)) that they shall have with their Lord the rewards of their good deeds?"

(But) the disbelievers say: "This is indeed an evident sorcerer (i.e. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the Qur'ân)!” (Yoonus 10:2)

The above verses indicate that Muhammad, sallallaahu alayhi wasallam is a warner sent to the entire human race, and not only to the Arabs, though they were the first ones to receive his message.

If he had not been sent to the entire mankind, he would not have called the Jews and the Christians to accept his message and believe in him. When they refused, he fought against them.

Therefore, it is imperative for anyone who believes in the message of Muhammad to also believe in its universality. If he did not, that would be tantamount to belying him in his sayings and deeds.1

In the hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah –may Allaah be pleased with him, the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alayhi wasallam said, “By Him in Whose hand is the life of Muhammad, he who amongst the community of Jews or Christians hears about me, but does not affirm his belief in that with which I have
1 See: Al-Jawaab As-Saheeh 1/166

been sent and dies in this state (of disbelief), he shall be but one of the denizens of Hell-Fire.”1

Therefore, I have to point it out that those who attack the status and personality of the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wasallam are basically required to believe in him and surrender to his law, and that if they fail to do so, they shall be among the denizens of Hell even if they claim that they are People of the Scriptures. For, the religion of Islaam had abrogated all other previously divinelyrevealed religions. Even the jinn are required to believe in him.

As to the fact that his message covers also the jinn, the evidence is Allaah’s saying,
يَـٰقَوۡمَنَآ أَجِيبُواْ دَاعِىَ ٱللَّهِ وَءَامِنُواْ بِهِۦ يَغۡفِرۡ لَڪُم مِّن ذُنُوبِكُمۡ وَيُجِرۡكُم مِّنۡ عَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ۬ (٣١)
(Al-Ahqaaf 46:31)

“O our people! Respond (with obedience) to Allâh's Caller (i.e. Allâh's Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him)) and believe in him (i.e. believe in that which Muhammad (peace be upon him) has brought from Allâh and follow him). He (Allâh) will forgive you of your sins.” (Al-Ahqaaf 46:31)

In the above verse, Allaah informs us that one of the jinn addressed his fellows to believe in the Messenger, sallallaahu alayhi wasallam.

Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said, “Man must know that Allaah sent Muhammad, sallallaahu alayhi wasallam to the entire mankind and jinn and commanded them to believe in him and in
1 Muslim, Book of Faith

that which he has brought, and to obey him. This is a fundamental agreed upon by all the Companions, their righteous successors, the Muslim leaders and all Muslim groups from among Ahlus-Sunnah and others.”1

However, there is a disagreement as to whether this universality exclusively applied to Muhammad’s message or it applied to the message of other Prophets, especially that of Prophet Noah.

Al-Qurtubi wrote in his Tafseer, while commenting on the verse
1 of Soorah 25 (Al-Furqaan):
“Blessed is He Who sent down the criterion (of right and wrong, i.e. this Qur'ân) to His slave (Muhammad (peace be upon him)) that he may be a warner to worlds.”

He wrote: “The ‘worlds’ are the mankind and jinn. For, he was sent to them as a Messenger and Warner. Muhammad is the seal of all the Prophets and no message of any other Prophet was universal except Prophet Noah. The message of Noah applied to the entire mankind after the Flood.”2

This opinion of Al-Qurtubi contradicts the saying of the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wasallam that goes thus: “I have been given five things which were not given to any one else before me. Allah made me victorious by awe, (by His frightening my enemies) for
1 See: Majmu’ Al-Fatawa 19/9-10
2 See: Al-Jaami li-Ahkaam al-Qur’aan 13/2

a distance of one month's journey. The earth has been made for me (and for my followers) a place for praying and a thing to perform Tayammum, therefore anyone of my followers can pray wherever the time of a prayer is due. The booty has been made Halal (lawful) for me yet it was not lawful for anyone else before me. I have been given the right of intercession (on the Day of Resurrection). Every Prophet used to be sent to his nation only but I have been sent to all mankind.”1

In addition to this, there are verses that indicate that Prophet Noah was exclusively sent to his people.

Allaah says,
وَٱتۡلُ عَلَيۡہِمۡ نَبَأَ نُوحٍ إِذۡ قَالَ لِقَوۡمِهِۦ يَـٰقَوۡمِ إِن كَانَ كَبُرَ عَلَيۡكُم مَّقَامِى وَتَذۡكِيرِى بِـَٔايَـٰتِ ٱللَّهِ فَعَلَى ٱللَّهِ تَوَڪَّلۡتُ فَأَجۡمِعُوٓاْ أَمۡرَكُمۡ وَشُرَكَآءَكُمۡ ثُمَّ لَا يَكُنۡ أَمۡرُكُمۡ عَلَيۡكُمۡ غُمَّةً۬ ثُمَّ ٱقۡضُوٓاْ إِلَىَّ وَلَا تُنظِرُونِ (٧١)
(Yoonus 10:71)

“And recite to them the news of Nûh (Noah). When he said to his people: "O my people, if my stay (with you), and my reminding (you) of the Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allâh is hard on you, then I put my trust in Allâh.” (Yoonus 10:71)

He also says,
لَقَدۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا نُوحًا إِلَىٰ قَوۡمِهِۦ فَقَالَ يَـٰقَوۡمِ ٱعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ مَا لَكُم مِّنۡ إِلَـٰهٍ غَيۡرُهُ ۥۤ إِنِّىٓ أَخَافُ عَلَيۡكُمۡ عَذَابَ يَوۡمٍ عَظِيمٍ۬ (٥٩)
(Al-A‘raaf 7:59)
1 Al-Bukhaari, Book of Tayammum, hadeeth 427
“Indeed, We sent Nûh (Noah) to his people and he said: "O my people! Worship Allâh! You have no other Ilâh (God) but Him. (Lâ ilâha illallâh: none has the right to be worshipped but Allâh). Certainly, I fear for you the torment of a Great Day!"” (Al-A‘raaf 7:59)

A reader might be confused if he relates the above with the hadeeth of intercession in which the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alayhi wasallam informed us that Adam will direct mankind to turn to Noah on the Day of Resurrection for intercession because he was the first Messenger sent to mankind.1

One may argue that Allaah drowned all the inhabitants of the earth, and that if Noah was not sent to the entire mankind, they would not have all being drowned.

This argument could be responded to with the following:
Message of Prophet Noah to the people of the earth was in the context of the fact that the humans who were alive then were his own people. As for the message of Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu alayhi wasallam it encompasses his own people and others, as it encompasses the human race and the jinn both in his lifetime and after his death.2

The fact that the Qur’aan was revealed in Arabic language does not contradict the universality of the message of Islaam for following reasons:
1 The hadeeth is collected by Muslim 1/188
2 See: Fath al-Baari by Ibn Hajar 11/442

All the previously revealed Books were in languages spoken by the Prophets to whom they were revealed. The Qur’aan was only revealed in the language of the Arabs so that it could be firstly understood by them before they convey it to other peoples by translating it for them or teaching them the language through which they could understand it.

Understanding the meaning of each and every verse of the Qur’aan is not obligatory upon every Muslim. He is only required to know, in whatever language he understands, what Allaah commands him to do and what He prohibits him from doing.

There are non-Arabs from among the Jews, the Christians and even the polytheists who perfectly know Arabic language.1
1 See: Al-Jawaab As-Saheeh 1/189-195