From Merchant to Messenger

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

The World Before and After the Messengers

From Merchant to Messenger2:213 Mankind was one nation. Then Allah sent forth the Prophets as bearers of good news and warners. He sent with them the Book (the Scriptures) in truth, to judge between people regarding what they differed on. And none differed on it (religion) except those to whom it (the Book) was given after clear proofs had reached them, out of envy for one another. Allah, by His Will, guided those who believe to the truth on which they had differed. Allah guides whom He wills to the Right path.

2:214 Or do you suppose that you will enter Paradise before the example of those who came before you had reached you? They were stricken by privation and affliction and were so shaken that the Messenger and those who believe along with him said: “When is Allah’s support coming?” Surely Allah’s Support is close at hand. ----- 10:19 Mankind were (sic) a single nation; then they differed. Had it not been for a prior order of your Lord, the matter over which they had differed would have been settled.

If only…

11:116 If only there had been among generations who preceded you (Muhammad) men possessing understanding and forbidding corruption in the earth, except for a few of them whom We saved! The wrongdoers continued to indulge in what they used to enjoy and, in fact, were wicked sinners.

11:117 And your Lord would not have destroyed the cities unjustly, had their inhabitants been righteous.

11:118 And had your Lord willed, He would have made mankind a single nation; but they will continue to differ among themselves,

11:119 Except for those on whom your Lord has mercy. To that end He created them, and the Word of your Lord has been accomplished: “I will surely fill up Hell with jinn and humans all together.”

11:120 And all We relate to you of the tidings of the Messengers is to strengthen your heart; and you have received in these the truth, admonition and a reminder for the believers.

11:121 And say to the unbelievers: “Continue with what you are doing, and We shall continue with ours.

11:122 "And wait; we too are waiting.”

11:123 To Allah belongs the Unseen in the heavens and on the earth, and to Him the whole affair shall be referred. So worship Him and put your trust in Him; your Lord is not unaware of the things you do.

Allah could have made humanity one nation again after the schisms, deaths and chaos caused by His Revelations, but chose not to.

42:8 Had Allah wished, He would have made them a single nation, but He admits whom He wishes into His Mercy. Yet, the wrongdoers have no protector or supporter.

42:9 Or have they taken, apart from Him, other protectors? Surely Allah is the Protector and He revives the dead and has power over everything.

Maybe that was His intention all along, as His angels suspected. From Shared Prophets: "Adam," Boreal Books:

2:30 When your Lord said to the angels: "I am placing a deputy on earth", they said: "Will you place one who will make mischief in it and shed blood, while we sing Your praise and glorify Your sanctity?" He said: "I know what you do not know."

Why No Roofs and Stairways of Silver

One way that Allah split up mankind into factions, apart from sending Messengers who sowed discord, was to deny people some of His Bounty such as “roofs of silver” and “adornment of gold” so that they would not be deluded into thinking the here-and-now was a better place than the Hereafter.

43:32 Do they apportion the Mercy of your Lord? It is We Who have apportioned their livelihood among them in the present life and raised some of them in rank above others; so that some would be subservient to the others. Your Lord’s Mercy is better than what they amass.

43:33 And were it not for fear that mankind would be a single nation, We would have assigned to those who disbelieve in the All-Compassionate, roof of silver for their houses and stairways upon which they ascend;

43:34 And portal for their houses and couches upon which they recline;

43:35 And adornment of gold; but all that is nothing but worldly enjoyment. Yet the Hereafter with your Lord is reserved for the God-fearing.

God was, in effect, afraid of a single nation of fun-loving people who would seek only to live the good life in the here-and-now instead of seeking a better life in the Hereafter. This interpretation is similar to Moududi’s:

That is, this silver and gold whose possession by somebody is the highest blessing and the very climax of good fortune in your sight, is so base and contemptible a thing in the sight of Allah that had there been no danger of all human beings being inclined towards unbelief, He would have made every disbeliever’s house of gold and silver.

Allah’s Covenant with His Prophets

Muhammad would have the Arabs swear to Allah’s covenant, thereby consecrating his authority over them.

3:81 And when Allah made His Covenant with the Prophets, [He said]: “I gave you the Book and the Wisdom. Then a Messenger (Muhammad) came to you confirming what you already possessed; so you must believe in him and give him support.” He said: “Do you affirm this and accept my covenant on this matter?” They said: “We do affirm it.” He said: “Bear witness and I will be with you one of the witnesses.”

3:82 “Whoever turns his back thereafter; such, are the true sinners.”

Allah confirmed His covenant with Muhammad, along with the other prophets.

33:7 And [remember] when We took from the Prophets their covenant and from you and from Noah, Abraham and Jesus, son of Mary, too; and We took from them a solemn covenant;

33:8 So as to question the truthful about their truthfulness, and He has prepared for the unbelievers a very painful punishment.