The Word Rusul in the Qur’ān

The Word Rusul in the Qur’ān


Queries

Question: In some of your articles in this journal you have referred to various usages of the word rusul in the Qur'ān. Can you please explain for me its literal meaning as well as the one when it is used as a term?

Answer: The word الّرُسُل (al-rusul) is a plural of الّرَسُوْل (al-rasūl). It has two connotations: one as a common Arabic word and the other as a term having a specific meaning. As a common Arabic word, it means a "messenger". So the rusul of the Almighty can be His angels and His Prophets since both bear His message.

Here are some usages of rusul in the Qur'ān as a common Arabic word signifying the angels and prophets:

i. Signifying Angels:

إِنَّهُ لَقَوْلُ رَسُولٍ كَرِيمٍ (19:18)

This is the word of a gracious and mighty messenger. (81:19)

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ فَاطِرِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ جَاعِلِ الْمَلَائِكَةِ رُسُلًا أُولِي أَجْنِحَةٍ مَّثْنَى وَثُلَاثَ وَرُبَاعَ (1:35)

Praise be to God, Creator of the heavens and the earth! He sends forth the angels as His messengers, with two, three or four pairs of wings. (35:1)

اللَّهُ يَصْطَفِي مِنَ الْمَلَائِكَةِ رُسُلًا وَمِنَ النَّاسِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ بَصِيرٌ (75:22)

God chooses messengers from the angels and from men. Indeed, God hears all and observes all. (22:75)

ii. Signifying Prophets:

آمَنَ الرَّسُولُ بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مِن رَّبِّهِ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ كُلٌّ آمَنَ بِاللّهِ وَمَلآئِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ (285:2)

The Messenger believes in what has been revealed to him by his Lord, and so do the faithful. They all believe in God and His angels, His scriptures, and His prophets. (2:285)

يَا مَعْشَرَ الْجِنِّ وَالإِنسِ أَلَمْ يَأْتِكُمْ رُسُلٌ مِّنكُمْ يَقُصُّونَ عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِي وَيُنذِرُونَكُمْ لِقَاء يَوْمِكُمْ (130:6)

Then He will say: 'Jinn and men! Did there not come to you prophets of your own who proclaimed to you My revelations and warned you of this day?' (6:130)

يَا بَنِي آدَمَ إِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُمْ رُسُلٌ مِّنكُمْ يَقُصُّونَ عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِي فَمَنِ اتَّقَى وَأَصْلَحَ فَلاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ (35:7)

Children of Adam! When prophets of your own come to proclaim to you My revelations, those that take warning and mend their ways will have nothing to fear or to regret. (7:35)

As a term of the Qur'ān, the word rasūl signifies a cadre among the prophets (anbiyā') of Allah. The difference between a prophet (nabī) and a rasūl is that the latter decides the fate of his immediate and direct addressees from among his nation in this world. The righteous among them are rewarded and wrongdoers punished. The Qur'ān says:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُحَادُّونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ أُوْلَئِكَ فِي الأَذَلِّينَكَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَأَغْلِبَنَّ أَنَا وَرُسُلِي إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ(58 :20-1)

Indeed, those who show hostility to Allah and His rasūl are bound to be humiliated. The Almighty has ordained that I and my rusul shall always triumph. (58:20-1)

In other words, the direct addressees of a rasūl cannot triumph over him, and they must be the losers in the end. This humiliation has various forms. In most cases, the addressees are destroyed in their capacity as a nation if they deny their respective rasūl. Take, for example, the case of Muhammad (sws). His opponents among the Idolaters of Arabia were destroyed by the swords of the Muslim believers until at the conquest of Makkah, the remaining accepted faith. In the case of Moses (sws), the Israelites never denied him. The Pharaoh and his followers however did. Therefore, they were destroyed. In the case of Jesus (sws), the humiliation of the Jews has taken the form of servitude to the Christians till the day of Judgment as referred to by the Qur'ān in 3:55 and 59:3. The 'A%d, nation of the rasūl Hūd (sws), the Thamūd, the nation of the rasūl Sālih (sws) as well as the nations of Noah (sws), Lot (sws) and Shu'ayb (sws) were destroyed through natural calamities when they denied their respective rasūl as is mentioned in the various sūrahs of theQur'ān. In this regard, Sūrah Qamar can be referred to since it summarizes the fate of the nations who denied their respective rasūl.




Articles by this author


Successful Parents

The “Successful Spouse” Test

Let us Value what We have

Dear Husbands … If I may say!

The “Blind Drill”

Life goes on all the same!

Prayers can Move Mountains!

Two types of “Junk Food”

Reforming Our Conduct

Supplications from the Hadith

Supplications from the Qur’an

A Small Act of Kindness

Respecting the Privacy of our Mature Children

Explanation of Some Jarh Terms

Selections from Hadith

Your Questions Answered

Two Tough Trials

Benefiting from Criticism

Your Questions Answered

The Cause of Truth

Your Questions Answered

Selections from Hadith

Restraining our Wounded Pride

Selections from Hadith

The Power of One

Preparing for the Inevitable!

Selections from Hadith

Let us Refuse to Lose!

The Sound of Silence

Selections from Hadith

Let us Enjoy every Moment of our Lives

Lets be Just, Come what May!

Selections from Hadith

Beware of the three C’s: Cynicism, Criticism and Complaint

Never Give Up!

Do We have a Spiritual Part of the Day?

Tears of Old Parents … for their Children

Life goes on all the same!

The Decorum of Criticizing Others

Tears that would not stop!

Selections from Hadith

Hobbies we must have!

Death in Innocence

“Thank you” Culture

Visit to an Old Home

We Owe it to Our Society

Experiencing God

Discovering our Inner Talent

The Battle for Honesty Continues!

Saintly Sinners

Secret to Inner Peace

Your Questions Answered

Small Acts of Kindness

Illness can be a Boon!

Philosophy of Animal Sacrifice on ‘Id

Tears of Gratitude!

Lookout to Leap for Others!

Charity

Turning Foes into Friends

Let us then Live for Others!

SPECIAL ISSUE

A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (1/4)

A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (2/4)

A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (3/4)

A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (4/4)

Abdus Sattar Ghauri (The Father Figure of Al-Mawrid!)

Brief Profile

Special Issue

Charity: Points to Ponder

Your Question Answered

“Dignity in Hard Labour Lies!”

Forgiveness

Never Lose Hope!

The Trials of Life

Anger Management

Handling Mature Children

Let us Promise…

An Introduction to Ghāmidī’s Mīzān

Visit to a Graveyard

Are We Ready to Die?

A Shame to Humanity[1]!

A Critical Evaluation of Variations found in the ‘Uthmānic Copies (Part 4/4)

A Critical Evaluation of Variations found in the ‘Uthmānic Copies (Part 3/4)

A Critical Evaluation of Variations found in the ‘Uthmānic Copies (Part 2/4)

A Critical Evaluation of Variations found in the ‘Uthmānic Copies (Part 1/4)

The Key to Successful Marriage

Taming the Tongue

Sexual Intimacy between Husband and Wife

Pretension and Pomposity

The Cause of Truth

Narrative on the Changes made in the Qur’ān by al-Hajjāj ibn Yūsuf

Sūrah Mā’idah (64-89)

Sympathy

A Man of Steel

Critical Evaluation of Ustuwānah al-Mushaf Narratives

Humility

Fasting in Extreme Conditions

How to overcome Selfishness

Nothing but the Truth, Please!

Narratives on the Collection of the Qur’ān by ‘Alī(rta) (part 1/3)

Narratives on the Collection of the Qur’ān by ‘Alī(rta) (part 2/3)

Narratives on the Collection of the Qur’ān by ‘Alī(rta) (part 3/3)

A Tribute to Brig (retd.) Noor Ahmed Husain (Quaid e Azam’s Last Military ADC)

Courage

Appendix C: A Brief Biographical Sketch of Hamīd al-Dīn al-Farāhī (1863-1930) [1]

Appendix B:  A Brief Summary of the Views of Traditional and Radical Western Scholars

Appendix A:  A Summary of the View of Traditional Muslim Scholars

A Critical Evaluation of Farahī’s View on the Collection of the Qur’ān

A Citizen of Paradise (Written on the Martyrdom of Dr Habib ur Rahman)

Forgiveness

Gratitude

Your Questions Answered

Reason and Revelation

Your Questions Answered

Explanation of Some Qur’ānic Words

Explanation of Some Jarh Terms

The Warrior who became a Martyr

A Narrative on the Placement of Sūrah Anfāl (8) and…

A Critical Analysis of the Narratives on the… (Part 1/2)

A Critical Analysis of the Narratives on the… (Part 2/2)

Your Questions Answered

Travelling Alone!

A Narrative on the Schematic Arrangement of the Qur’ān (Part 2/2)

A Narrative on the Schematic Arrangement of the Qur’ān (Part 1/2)

The Word Rusul in the Qur’ān

Your Questions Answered

Mustafā A‘zamī’s Critique on “The Dishonest Scribe” Narratives

A Passionate Preacher of the Qur’an passes away!

Animal Sacrifice

… And the List is Unending!

English Translation of the first volume of Tadabbur-i Qur’ān

Sūrah Ghāshiyah

Your Questions Answered

Jihād in the Qur’ān

Your Questions Answered

Your Questions Answered

Morals and Morality

Faith and Beliefs

The Religion of Islam

Coping with Sexual Desires at Adolescence

Fifty Common Misconceptions about Islam (X)

Fifty Common Misconceptions about Islam (IX)

Fifty Common Misconceptions about Islam (VIII)

Fifty Common Misconceptions about Islam (VII)

Fifty Common Misconceptions about Islam (VI)

Fifty Common Misconceptions about Islam (V)

Fifty Common Misconceptions about Islam (IV)

Fifty Common Misconceptions about Islam (III)

Fifty Common Misconceptions about Islam (II)

Fifty Common Misconceptions about Islam (I)