Distinctive Features of the Prophethood of the Prophet of Islam
Hawzah News Agency – The prophetic mission of the Holy Prophet of Islam has certain distinctive features, of which four are the most important; these will be addressed in the following three articles.
The mission of the Prophet of Islam is universal, it is for all peoples, all places and all times, as the Qur’an says:
And We have not sent thee save as a bringer of good tidings and a warner unto all mankind ... (Sura Saba’, XXXIV: 28)
We sent thee not save as a mercy for the worlds. (Sura al-Anbiya’, XXII: 107)
We see here that his mission and call is to all ‘the people’ (alnas): O people! The messenger hath come unto you with the truth from your Lord, so believe, it is better for you. (Sura al-Nisa’, IV: 170)
Of course, at the time when he began his mission, it was natural that he first make his admonitions to his own people before warning a people to whom no previous Prophet had been sent:
... that thou mayst warn a folk to whom no warner came before ...(Sura al-Sajda, XXXII:3)
But this does not mean that he was sent only to a specific group. We occasionally see that the Qur>an, while clearly establishing a particular community as the recipient of the mission, immediately follows this with a statement indicating that all those who receive the message are invited to follow it:
And this Qur’an hath been inspired in me, that I may warn therewith you and whomsoever it may reach. (Sura al-An’am, VI: 19)
It is clear that all the Prophets were charged to invite first of all their own people to follow the religion revealed to them, whether the scope of their mission was universal or delimited. In this regard, the Qur’an states:
And We never sent a Messenger save with the language of his folk, that he might make [the message] clear for them. (Sura Ibrahim, XIV:4)
But, as we have said, the fact that the Prophet of Islam was sent with the language of his own people does not mean that his mission was limited to them alone.
Ayatollah Jafar Sobhani, Doctrines of Shii Islam, A Compendium of Imami Beliefs and Practices, Translated and Edited by Reza Shah-Kazemi, published by I.B.Tauris Publishers, london • new york 2003.