Is the Qur’an only for the Arabs?

Question

In surah 42 Ayah 7 it is mentioned that Allah revealed the Quran to Prophet (pbuh) for the Arabs and the area around Arabia then how can we be sure that the Quran and Prophet (pbuh) was for other lands Australia, US etc. And in anotherr verse surah Ibrahim Allah says in verse 4 that He sends a revelation to every nation in its own language so was the Quran only for Arabs? What about the other countries such as China. Their language is Chinese. How can they accept that this the Quran is for them too?


Answer

Salaam

Thank you for writing to us.

This verse does not actually mention that the Qu'ran was revealed for the Arabs and the area around Arabia. The verse says

وَكَذَٰلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لِّتُنذِرَ أُمَّ الْقُرَىٰ وَمَنْ حَوْلَهَا

"And We have, similarly, revealed an Arabic Qur'an toward you so that you warn the inhabitants of the Chief Town – Makkah – and its surrounding areas..." (42:7)

Now, there is no territorial extent provided for the areas surrounding Makkah except the linguistic extent i.e. the people speaking Arabic.

But does this mean that the inzaar (warning/cautioning) of the Qur'an is only for the people speaking Arabic? This verse only describes the people who were the primary addressees of the Holy Prophet (sws) and to whom the 'inzaar' of the Qur'an was made in their own tongue by the Holy Prophet (sws) himself, which would then lead to the manifestation of the minitature day of judgment on those people.

The Qur'an has informed us of this unalterable practice of the Almighty (Sunnatullah) where a Rasool is sent to the central settlement or central town of the place. This is because the message effectively has maximum reach when it is promulgated from the central settlement of the nation. God says:

وَمَا كَانَ رَبُّكَ مُهْلِكَ الْقُرَى حَتَّى يَبْعَثَ فِیْ أُمِّهَا رَسُوْلًا يَّتْلُوْ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِنَا وَمَا كُنَّا مُهْلِكِي الْقُرَى إِلَّا وَأَهْلُهَا ظَالِمُوْنَ

"In reality, your Lord was not One to destroy these settlements unless He sends a messenger in their focal settlement who recites out Our revelations to them. At the same time, this too is a fact that We destroy settlements only when their people become unjust to themselves." (Qur'an 28:59)

Now, that does not mean that the basic message about the truth of divine accountability is only for the central settlement and the surrounding areas. However, the worldly manifestation of the divine judgment happens for the people directly warned by the Rasool. The same happened in the case of the immediate addressees of Prophet Muhammad (sws) as it happened with the immediate addressees of the previous Rusul.

Now, let us see what was it that they were being cautioned about in 42:7.

The next part of the verse says

وَتُنذِرَ يَوْمَ الْجَمْعِ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ ۚ فَرِيقٌ فِي الْجَنَّةِ وَفَرِيقٌ فِي السَّعِيرِ

"... And warn [especially] about the Day of Gathering, of which there is no doubt, when some shall be in the Garden and some in the blazing Flame." (42:7)

I trust you would agree with me that this warning is a universal warning for all humans and not just for the Arabs. Yes, the Arabian Peninsula did witness the manifestation of the miniature Day of Judgement for reasons that I have already cited. However, the message of the accountability in the hereafter cannot be restricted to the Arabic speaking people alone.Of course, when the Rasool is raised among a people, the message will be delivered to them in their own language so that no ambiguity remains. This also plays a role in leading to the consequences of sending Rasool of a people that I have already alluded to. But, this does not mean that the message that the Rasool communicates is restricted to those people only. For example, if a French scientist writes a paper on a new mode of treatment in French, it does not mean that implications of that research are not useful for the rest of the world. Of course, the paper would then get translated into other languages.

Whatever message the Qur'an carries in it, is by and large universal, with some exceptions that are specific. These specific directives are only era specific or specific to a territory as they are made clear by the Qur'an and its context. There is no reason why the non-Arabs are not the addressees of the message of the Qur'an now.

Hope this helps.

Regards,

About the Author

Mushafiq Sultan


Mushafiq Sultan, born in Kashmir in 1988, has been studying world religions from his school days. In 2009 Mushafiq came across the works of Ustaz Javed Ahmad Ghamidi and since then has been highly influenced by his thought. He has an exceptional interest in world religions, their philosophies and their mutual relations. He formally joined Al-Mawrid in 2016 as Assistant Fellow (Honorary). Presently, he is in charge of Al-Mawrid’s query service. In 2016, he published his first book ‘Muhammad (sws) in the Bible- An Exposition on Isaiah 42’. He has written articles on Islam, Christianity and Hinduism. He has also translated several articles of Javed Ahmad Ghamidi into Hindi.

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