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Did Prophet Muhammad Have Doubts About His Message?

23 September, 2019
Q Assalam alikum I'm really stuck on this question why did Allah say go ask the people of the book who read their scriptures before when we believe the Bible and Torah are corrupted also is it possible Allah is saying go ask the people of the book who have already converted to Islam can we call Muslims who converted to Islam from Christianity and Judaism people of the book? Also, I was just wondering I know qiraat can't contradict but I can't figure how to answer this question in 18:39 it says garden in one qiraat and gardens in another qiraat so it sounds like they contradict, but I know they can't do. I was wondering if you could help me answer this sorry to keep bothering you it's just I do dawah see so I get a lot of questions and I don't know the answers myself. Where we live there are hardly any Muslims let alone an imam, so thanks.

Answer

Short Answer: The verse you mention was revealed after narrating the story of Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) with the Children of Israel and how Pharaoh was drowned. It supposes a situation in which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is told that if he is in doubt concerning what was revealed to him, he should ask those who had been reading the Scripture before him. The word ‘in” which is translated as if the conditional, means this is a mere hypothesis that did not occur at all. With regard to the different readings of the word jannataka, it does not make a difference whether it is read in the singular or the plural form. There is no contradiction at all. We should concern ourselves with the moral lesson of the story.

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Salam dear questioner,

Thank you for your question. 

Asking the People of the Book

With regard to the issue of asking the People of the Book, the verse you referred to in your question reads:

*{So if you are in doubt, [O Muhammad], about that which We have revealed to you, then ask those who have been reading the Scripture before you. The truth has certainly come to you from your Lord, so never be among the doubters.}* (Quran 10:94)

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The verse was revealed after narrating the story of Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) with the Children of Israel and how Pharaoh was drowned. 

The verse supposes a situation in which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is told that if he is in doubt concerning what was revealed to him, he should ask those who had been reading the Scripture before him. 

The word ‘in” which is translated as if the conditional, means this is a mere hypothesis that did not occur at all. 

Did Prophet Muhammad Have Doubts About His Message?

Imam Said ibn Jubair said commenting on this verse: “The Prophet never doubted what was revealed to him and never asked those who had been reading the Scripture.” 

Qatadah said commenting on this verse: “It was mentioned to us that the Prophet said: I never doubt and I never ask.”

The hypothesis is the same as the one mentioned in the following verse: 

*{And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah ?'” He will say, “Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen.}* (Quran 5:116)

Allah knows well that Jesus did not say to his people “‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah.”

‘The Scripture’ has been interpreted to mean the Torah and the Injeel. 

‘Those who had been reading the Scripture’ had been interpreted to mean the People of the Book. That is those who saw the Prophet and believed in him. Examples like Abdullah ibn Salam, Ka`b Al-Ahbar, Wahb ibn Munabbih, and others. 

At-Tabari said: “The verse refers to Abdullah ibn Salam who was from the People of the Book and accepted Islam.”  

Why should the Prophet ask those who had been reading the Scripture? 

According to the Quran, there was a mention of the Prophet Muhammad in the previous scriptures. We read in the Quran what means:

*{Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel, who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them. So they who have believed in him, honored him, supported him and followed the light which was sent down with him – it is those who will be the successful.}* (Quran 7:157)

According to the same verse, some of the People of the Book follow the messenger and believe in him based on their conviction that Muhammad is the same man mentioned in their Scriptures. 

The different readings of the word  jannataka

With regard to the different readings of the word jannataka, it does not make a difference whether it is read in the singular or the plural form. There is no contradiction at all. 

The verse reads: 

*{And why did you, when you entered your garden, not say, ‘What Allah willed [has occurred]; there is no power except in Allah ‘? Although you see me less than you in wealth and children.}* (Quran 18:39)

We should concern ourselves with the moral lesson of the story. The story runs in the form of a dialogue between two friends. One of them is wealthy and the other is less fortunate. The wealthy friend thinks that his wealth is a sign of Allah’s love. But Allah destroyed the wealth to tell us that wealth is not part of Allah’s pleasure and displeasure. Wealth is a test through which Allah tests the strength of one’s faith.

We read in the Quran what means: 

*{And his fruits were encompassed [by ruin], so he began to turn his hands about [in dismay] over what he had spent on it, while it had collapsed upon its trellises, and said, “Oh, I wish I had not associated with my Lord anyone.” And there was for him no company to aid him other than Allah, nor could he defend himself.}* (Quran 18:42-43)

And Allah knows best.

I hope this helps.

Salam and please keep in touch.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

What Is the Proof that Muhammad Was a Prophet?

3 Simple Examples Proving Muhammad’s Prophethood

Real Talk: Was Muhammad Actually a Prophet?

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Dr. Mohsen Haredy
Dr. Mohsen Haredy holds a PhD in Hadith literature from Leiden University, the Netherlands. He is the former Executive Manager and Editor-in-Chief of E-Da`wah Committee in Kuwait, and a contributing writer and counselor of Reading Islam. He graduated from Al-Azhar University and earned his MA in Hadith literature from Leiden University.