From Merchant to Messenger
Not His Brother’s Keeper
17:15 He who is well-guided is well-guided for himself, and he who goes astray, goes astray to his own loss. No soul shall bear the burden of another soul, and We do not punish until We have sent a Messenger.
He’s “too” heavy, he’s my brother; with apologies to the Hollies.
35:18 No laden soul shall bear the burden of another; and if a heavy-burdened soul calls for its burden to be borne, not a whit of it will be borne, not even by one who is a kinsmen. You (Muhammad) only warn those who fear their Lord although He is unseen, and who perform the prayer. He who purifies himself purifies himself for his own good, and unto Allah is the ultimate return.
The Prophet may have been concerned (“grieve” in revelation 16:127 and 27:70, “… regrets “, 38:5) about the countless lives who would suffer an eternity of torment if he failed to convinced them to submit to the Will of Allah.
16:125 Call to the Way of Your Lord with wisdom and mild exhortation, and argue with them in the best manner. Your Lord surely knows best those who stray from His Path, and He knows well those who are rightly guided.
16:126 If you punish, then let your punishment be proportionate to the wrong done to you. Yet should you forbear, that is truly better for those who forbear.
16:127 Be patient; yet your patience is only through Allah. Do not grieve for them (the unbelievers), and do not be distressed on account of what they devise.
16:128 Allah is with those who are God-fearing and those who are beneficent.
27:67 The unbelievers say: “What then, will we and our fathers be raised up, once we have turned into dust?
27:68 “We have been promised that, we and our fathers before. These are only the legends of the ancients.”
27:69 Say: “Travel in the land and see what was the end of the criminals.”
27:70 Do not grieve for them and do not be distressed on account of what they contrive.
27:71 And they say: “When is this promise to be fulfilled, if you are truthful?”
27:72 Say: “Perhaps some of what you seek to hasten is drawing near.”
35:8 What of him whose evil work was made attractive to him and so he regarded it as fair? Allah surely leads astray [whomever] He wishes and guides [whomever] He wishes; so do not let your soul waste away in regrets for them. Allah is fully aware of what they do.
The Prophet’s concern for his fellow man included who would provide them with fresh water should their supply drain away, if Allah decided to do away with His Messenger and the believers.
67:28 Say: “Have you considered, what if Allah destroyed me and those with me or had mercy on us, who will protect the unbelievers from a painful punishment?"
67:29 Say: “He is the Compassionate, we believe in Him, and in Him we put our trust. You will then know who is in manifest error."
67:30 Have you considered who, if your water drains away, will bring you pure running water?
Allah would remind His Messenger on a number of occasions that he was simply a warner and what happened to those who did not heed his warning was none of his concern – he was not their keeper or guardian – and to do what he has been commanded to do.
6:104 Clear proofs have come to you from your Lord. Thus, he who perceives, perceives for his own advantage, and he who is blind, that is to his lost; and I am not your Keeper.
6:105 And thus We make clear the revelations so that they may say (to Muhammad): “You have studied (discussed this with the People of the Book)”, and that We make it clear to a people who know.
Moududi on who is the “Keeper” in revelation 6:104:
Even though this statement is from God, it is expressed through the mouth of the Prophet (peace be on him). We observe that in the Qur'an the speaker frequently changes - sometimes it is God Who is speaking, sometimes it is the angel who carries the revelation, and sometimes a group of angels; on some occasions it is the Prophet (peace be on him) who is speaking, while on others it is the men of faith. Likewise, those addressed by the Qur'an also change - sometimes it is the Prophet (peace be' on him); sometimes it is the men of faith; sometimes it is the People of the Book; sometimes it is the unbelievers and the polytheists; sometimes it is the Quraysh; sometimes it is the Arabs; and sometimes, mankind as a whole.
The statement 'I am not your keeper' signifies that the task of the Prophet is confined to carrying the light of true guidance to others, it is then up to them either to use it to perceive Reality for themselves or to keep their eyes closed.
Who is not their keeper is unambiguous in revelation 6:107.
6:106 Follow what has been revealed to you from your Lord; for there is no god but He; and turn away from the polytheists.
6:107 Had Allah pleased, they would not have associated [other gods]; and We have not made you their keeper, and you are not their guardian.
6:66 And your people deny it (the Qur’an), whereas it is the truth. Say: “I am not your guardian.”
6:67 For every event there is a fixed time, and you shall certainly know.
15:85 We have not created the heavens and the earth and what lies between them save in truth; and the Hour (Judgement Day) is surely coming. So forgive them (your detractors) magnanimously.
15:86 Your Lord is indeed the Creator, the Knower.
Not a keeper, but a plain warner …
15:87 And We have given you seven off-repeated (the seven oft-repeated verses of the Opening Surah of the Qur’an) [Verses] and the great Qur’an.
15:88 Do not strain your gaze towards what We gave certain groups of them to enjoy, and do not grieve for them, and lower your wing (be modest) to the believers.
15:89 And say: “I am truly the plain warner.”
15:90 Just as We sent down [punishment] upon the dividers (the Jews and Christians),
15:91 Who divided the Qur’an into parts (they accepted a part of it and rejected the rest).
15:92 By your Lord, We shall question them all,
15:93 Regarding what they used to do.
15:94 So proclaim what you are commanded and turn away from the polytheists.
15:95 Our support to you against the scoffers will be sufficient;
15:96 Those who set up another god with Allah. They will surely come to know.
15:97 And We know well that your heart is distressed at what they say.
22:49 Say: “O people (the Meccans), I am only a plain warner to you.”
… and perhaps a guide:
16:35 The idolaters say: “Had Allah pleased, neither we nor our fathers would have worshipped any [gods] besides Him; nor would we have forbidden anything against His will.” [But] thus did those who came before them. What should the Messengers do except to deliver the plain Message?
16:36 We have sent forth to every nation a Messenger saying: “Worship Allah and avoid the idols. Some of them Allah guided and others were justly left in error. Travel, then, in the land and see what was the end of the denyers (sic).
16:37 If you (Muhammad) are eager to guide them, Allah surely will not guide those whom He leads astray, and they will have no supporters.
The Prophet may have been embarrassed by the poor, the slaves, the petty criminals and the indigent who flocked to his banner, prompting Allah’s intervention.
6:52 And do not drive away those (people from the lower strata of society) who call upon their Lord morning and evening, seeking nothing but His Face. You are not in the least accountable for them, nor are they in the least accountable for you, so as to drive them away and become one of the wrongdoers.