Renowned Islamic scholar and Nigeria’s Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami has offered rare insights into the difference between aayah (verses) revealed to Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in Makkah and those in Madinah.
Sheikh Pantami, in one of his tafsir (Quranic exegesis) session held recently at An-Nur Mosque, Abuja, engaged the view expressed by some Islamic scholars that verses that begin with ‘O mankind’ are of Makkah; while those that begin with ‘O you who believe’ are of Madinah.
Pantami said, “It is the view of some scholars that most of the verses that begin with, ‘O mankind’ were revealed in Makkah and that the verses of Madinah usually begin with, ‘O you who believe’. This is because when the Qur’an was revealed in Makkah, it was addressing the hypocrites, idolators and the sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them).
“But in Madinah, most of the verses were addressing the sahaba of the Prophet. *Due to this, some of the scholars of Quranic exegesis opine that this verse “…”O mankind, worship your Lord, who created you and those before you, that you may become righteous.” Quran 2: 21″ was revealed in Makkah but the chapter (Suratul Baqara) was revealed in Madinah.”
The Honourable Minister, who emerged Nigerian Muslim Personality of the Year 2020, however, noted that this idea does not apply in some cases as a verse could be revealed in Madinah, starting with ‘O mankind’.
“However, there is no strong point to support their argument because even in Madinah, there were believers, hypocrites and Jews, like the Banu Quraysah. Therefore, there is a high probability that a verse could be revealed in Madinah, starting with ‘O mankind’.”
‘Quran rehabilitates Mankind’
Sheikh Pantami, while speaking in the 9-minute video monitored by Muslim News said that the Qur’an was revealed to rehabilitate mankind and not to support their sentiments.
He added that as Muslims, we must accept the Qur’an wholeheartedly, whether it agrees with our sentiments or not, noting that only hypocrites reject the Qur’an whenever it does not fit into their narrative or buy their sentiments.
“The Qur’an was not revealed to support our sentiments, rather to improve and rehabilitate us. Qur’an comes to rehabilitate the mankind. So, because of this, if something is to rehabilitate you, it could disagree with your sentiments and your desires and that’s the wisdom behind the revelation of the Qur’an: not to come and agree with our sentiments, but to come and rehabilitate us morally, spiritually and otherwise. This is however what the hypocrites fail to realize. They only follow the Qur’an where it agrees with their desires and sentiments. Whenever the Qur’an disagrees with their sentiments and desires, they just reject it. Those who believe in Allah (SWT) wholeheartedly follow Him in whatever He says, whether it agrees with their sentiments or not. They accept it and implement it as well.
“The interpretation of Shaykh Muhammad el-Ameen el-Shinqeetiy agrees with the description of the hypocrites in Suratu-n-Nur where Allah says whenever the hypocrites are called to the cause of Allah and His messenger; meaning the Qur’an and Sunnah, in order to judge between them in any disagreement, you will see a part of them retreating. Why? Because the judgement disagrees with their sentiments. However, when truth is on their side, they will come to you willingly. Why? Because what Allah says agrees with their sentiments. That’s how the hypocrites behave. And this is not how we should behave as Muslims. This is not Ibaadah. Ibaadah means following Allah (SWT) in whatever He commands us, whether they agree with our sentiments or not. That’s how we should behave as Muslims. The Qur’an says the only saying of sincere believers when they are invited to Allah and His messenger is we hear and we obey. That’s what the Quran wants us to do.
“The Qur’an says again, Oh mankind, worship your Lord, the One Who created you and those before you so that you can be among the pious. May Allah count us among them.
“Secondly, if you can recall, from the beginning of the chapter, we discussed the qualities of those who believe in Allah (Al-Muttaquun), the disbelievers and the hypocrites. Now, Allah draws attention to this very important point; that is, calling the attention of the believers, disbelievers and hypocrites, by saying, ‘O mankind, worship your Lord’.
“The word, worship your Lord, teaches Tawheed-ul-Uluuiyyah (Oneness of Allah in Worship). Your ‘Lord’ in that verse represents three things: that He is your Creator; He is your Owner; and Sustainer. It also teaches Tawheed-ur-Rubuubiyyah (Oneness of Allah in Lordship).
“This verse reminds mankind, particularly those that are in doubt about resurrection. It is calling our attention to the fact that the One Who created us originally has the power to raise us again.”
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