And, We sent, messengers We have told you of before, and messengers We have not told you of: it is related that God sent eight thousand prophets [in total], four thousand [of them] from [the Children of] Israel, and [the remaining] four thousand from other peoples, as stated by the Shaykh [Jalāl al-Dīn al-Mahallī] in [his commentary on] sūrat Ghāfir [Q. 40:78]; and God spoke directly, without mediation, to Moses,
Revelation Came to Prophet Muhammad, Just as it Came to the Prophets Before Him
Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Muhammad bin Abi Muhammad said that `Ikrimah, or Sa`id bin Jubayr, related to Ibn `Abbas that he said, "Sukayn and `Adi bin Zayd said, `O Muhammad! We do not know that Allah sent down anything to any human after Musa.' Allah sent down a rebuttal of their statement,
(Verily, We have inspired you (O Muhammad) as We inspired Nuh and the Prophets after him.)'' Allah states that He sent down revelation to His servant and Messenger Muhammad just as He sent down revelation to previous Prophets. Allah said,
(And Messengers We have mentioned to you before, and Messengers We have not mentioned to you) Before the revelation of this Ayah. The following are the names of the Prophets whom Allah named in the Qur'an. They are: Adam, Idris, Nuh (Noah), Hud, Salih, Ibrahim (Abraham), Lut, Isma`il (Ishmael), Ishaq (Isaac), Ya`qub (Jacob), Yusuf (Joesph), Ayyub (Job), Shu`ayb, Musa (Moses), Harun (Aaron), Yunus (Jonah), Dawud (David), Sulayman (Solomon), Ilyas (Elias), Al-Yasa` (Elisha), Zakariya (Zachariya), Yahya (John) and `Isa (Jesus), and their leader, Muhammad. Several scholars of Tafsir also listed Dhul-Kifl among the Prophets. Allah's statement,
وَرُسُلاً لَّمْ نَقْصُصْهُمْ عَلَيْكَ
(and Messengers We have not mentioned to you,) means, `there are other Prophets whom We did not mention to you in the Qur'an.'
The Virtue of Musa
وَكَلَّمَ اللَّهُ مُوسَى تَكْلِيماً
(and to Musa Allah spoke directly.) This is an honor to Musa, and this is why he is called the Kalim, he whom Allah spoke to directly. Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr bin Marduwyah recorded that `Abdul-Jabbar bin `Abdullah said, "A man came to Abu Bakr bin `Ayyash and said, `I heard a man recite (this Ayah this way): وَكَلَّمَ اللَّهَ مُوسَى تَكلِيمًا "and to Allah, Musa spoke directly.'' Abu Bakr said, `Only a disbeliever would recite it like this.' Al-A`mash recited it with Yahya bin Withab, who recited it with Abu `Abdur-Rahman As-Sulami who recited it with `Ali bin Abi Talib who recited with the Messenger of Allah,
وَكَلَّمَ اللَّهُ مُوسَى تَكْلِيماً
(and to Musa Allah spoke directly.)''' Abu Bakr bin Abi Ayyash was so angry with the man who recited the Ayah differently, because he altered its words and meanings. That person was from the group of Mu`tazilah who denied that Allah spoke to Musa or that He speaks to any of His creation. We were told that some of the Mu`tazilah once recited the Ayah that way, so one teacher present said to him, "O son of a stinking woman! What would you do concerning Allah's statement,
(And when Musa came at the time and place appointed by Us, and his Lord spoke to him,) 7:143'' The Shaykh meant that the later Ayah cannot be altered or changed.
The Reason Behind Sending the Prophets is to Establish the Proof
رُّسُلاً مُّبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ
(Messengers as bearers of good news as well as of warning,) meaning, the Prophets bring good news to those who obey Allah and practice the good things that please Him. They also warn against His punishment and torment for those who defy His commandments. Allah said next,
(in order that mankind should have no plea against Allah after the Messengers. And Allah is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise.) Allah sent down His Books and sent His Messengers with good news and warnings. He explained what He likes and is pleased with and what He dislikes and is displeased with. This way, no one will have an excuse with Allah. Allah said in other Ayat,
(And if We had destroyed them with a torment before this, they would surely have said: "Our Lord! If only You had sent us a Messenger, we should certainly have followed Your Ayat, before we were humiliated and disgraced.'') and,
(And if (We had) not (sent you to the people of Makkah) in case a calamity should seize them for (the deeds) that their hands have sent forth. ) It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that Ibn Mas`ud said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(No one is more jealous than Allah. This is why He prohibited all types of sin committed in public or secret. No one likes praise more than Allah, and this is why He has praised Himself. No one likes to give excuse more than Allah, and this is why He sent the Prophets as bearers of good news and as warners.) In another narration, the Prophet said,
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
This is to emphasize the fact that the Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace) has not come with a new thing and that he does not claim to present something for the first time, but he has, in fact, received Guidance from the same source of knowledge from which all the Prophets before him had received, and that he too is presenting the same Truth and Reality that has always been presented by the Prophets, who were raised from different corners of the Earth.
The literal meaning of wahi is: (1) to give hint of, (2) to communicate to the mind, (3) to convey by covert suggestion, and (4) to send a message.
Only a part of the Book of Psalms in the existing Bible consists of the Psalms of the Prophet David, and they bear his name. Its remaining constituent parts are the psalms of other people, and have been attributed to their authors. It should also be noted that the study of the real Zabur, the Psalms of David, shows that it is a Revelation of God. Likewise, additions have been made in the Book of the Proverbs of Solomon and the last two chapters were obviously added afterwards. But, in spite of this, the major portion of the Proverbs contains gems of Truth and Wisdom. The same is true of the Book of Job. A study of this reveals that, though it contains gems of wisdom, it is wrong to attribute the whole of it to the Prophet Job. Whereas the Qur'an and the introductory chapters of this very Book bear witness to the great fortitude shown by the Prophet Job, its subsequent chapters show that he was an embodiment of grievance against God, and that, in vain, did his companions try their best to convince him that God was not unjust.
Besides these, the major portions of the seventeen Books of the Israelite Prophets in the Old Testament are evidently genuine Revelations; especially the Books of Joshua, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos and some others contain many such passages that show the grandeur of Divine Revelation and move one to ecstasy. Their high moral teachings, their campaign against idolatry and their sound arguments prove the Oneness of God, and their strong criticism of the degeneration of Israel clearly shows that these and the sermons of Jesus Christ in the New Testament and the Qur'an came from one and the same source.
The way Revelation was communicated to the Prophet Moses was different from that of the other Prophets. They heard either a voice or a Message from an angel, but the Prophet Moses had this privilege that Allah Himself had a direct talk with him as in a dialogue, e.g., the dialogue cited in Ta Ha, XX :11-48 in the Qur'an. This privilege has also been mentioned in the Bible: "......And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend." (Exodus 33:11).
That is, all the Prophets had one and the same mission. They gave good news to those who believed in the Divine Message and mended their ways in accordance with it and warning to those who adopted wrong ways of thought and action that they would meet with serious sequences in the end.
The Prophets were sent with the sole object that they should set forth before mankind the Right Way, both theoretically and practically, so that on the Day of Judgment no evil-doer should be in a position to offer the excuse that he was ignorant of the Truth. That is why Allah appointed Messengers in different parts of the world and sent down Books. These Messengers imparted the knowledge of the truth to a large number of people and left behind them Books of which one or the other has always existed for the guidance of mankind. Now if one goes astray in spite of this arrangement, one cannot throw the blame on Allah and His Messengers. He himself is responsible for this because he did not accept the Truth when it came to him, or the responsibility is of those who had the knowledge of it but did not impart it to others who had gone astray.
And messengers We have told you of before and messengers We have not told you of; and God spoke directly to Moses. God's way sunna regarding his friends awliyāÌ is to veil some and to make others known. This is also His way with the prophets [عليه السلام]. He proclaims the names of some and refers to others in a general way. Belief is obligatory in all the prophets as a whole and individually just as respect is obligatory for all of the friends as a whole and individually. Likewise He veils some of the states of the servants and makes others apparent. He asks for purity and sincerity with regard to what He makes apparent to them. With regard to what He veils from them He jealously protects their hearts from viewing these states as an entitlement that gives them special claim to the meanings of the realities He has singled out for them. [His words] and God spoke directly to Moses tell of His selecting [Moses] to hear His speech without intermediary.