From Merchant to Messenger

The Prophet Muhammad's struggle for legitimacy as revealed in the Koran

The Medium and the Messenger

What About a Foreign Messenger?

From Merchant to MessengerMuhammad may, at one time, have doubted his ability to deliver Allah’s Revelations to the people who mattered, to the point of asking God if a foreign messenger might do a better job convincing people that a terrible punishment awaited them if they failed to heed his warning. It would not have made any difference. As Allah never tires of reminding us, He deliberately makes some people oblivious to His Message for His own ends.

14:4 And we have sent forth no Messenger except in the tongue of his own people so that he may expound to them clearly. Then Allah leads astray whom He pleases and guides whom He pleases. He is the Mighty, the Wise.


26:198 Had We sent it down on some foreigner;

26:199 And he had read it to them; they would still not have believed in it.

26:200 Thus We have insinuated it into the hearts of the criminals.

26:201 They will not believe in it until they witness the very painful punishment.

26:202 It will come upon them suddenly, while they are unaware.

26:203 Then, they will say: “Are we given any respite?”

26:204 Do they, then, seek to hasten Our Punishment?

26:205 Do you see, if We were to allow them some enjoyment for some years?

26:206 Then, they are visited by what they were promised.

26:207 What would that whereof they derived enjoyment avail them.

What About a Foreign Koran?

41:40 Those who turn away from Our Signs are not hidden from Us. Is he, then, who is cast into the Fire better than he who comes forward safely on the Day of Resurrection? Do what you please; He is Fully Aware of what you do.

41:41 Nor are those who have disbelieved the Reminder when it came to them [hidden from Us]. It is surely a noble Book,

41:42 To which falsehood does not come from its front nor from behind it – a revelation sent down from the Wise, Praiseworthy.

41:43 You are not told except what was told to the Messengers before you. Surely, your Lord is a Master of Forgiveness and a Master of Painful Retribution[19].

41:44 Had we made it a foreign Qur’an, they would have said: “If only its verses were well expounded.” What, whether foreign or Arabic, say: “It is for the believers a guidance and a healing; but for those who do not believe, it is a heaviness in their ears, and for them it is a blindness. It is as if, those (unbelievers) were called from a distant place.”


[19] Threatening to hurt people is what gods do to get their way, but Allah is special in taking pride in being good at inflicting unimaginable pain. .

Angels as Messengers?

Angels, for many who listened to Muhammad, would have made more believable envoys.

41:13 If they turn away, then say: "I warn you against a thunderbolt like the thunderbolt of 'Ad and Thamud."

41:14 When the Messengers came to them from their front and their rear saying: "Do not worship any one but Allah", they said: "Had our Lord wished, He would certainly have sent down angels. Therefore, we disbelieve in the Message you have been sent with."

It is not that Allah does not chose angels as messengers, the obvious being Gabriel, God’s Messenger to the Messenger.

22:75 Allah chooses from angels and men Messengers; Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.

22:76 He knows what is before them and what is behind them, and to Allah are all things returned.

What about an angel messenger to the earth-bound angels? It’s just that there aren’t enough of them strolling the earth in peace (if you don’t count the two angels perched on the shoulders of every man, woman, and child recording their good and bad deeds) for God to send them as messengers to stir things up.

17:94 Men are not prevented from believing, once the guidance has come to them, except that they say: “Has Allah sent forth a human messenger?”

17:95 Say: “Were there on earth angels strolling in peace, We would have sent down upon them from heaven an angel as a Messenger.”

17:96 Say: “Allah suffices as a witness between me and you. He is, indeed, fully Apprised and Observant of His servants.”