Sura Al-Imran (Tafseer-ul-Maariful Quran), Part-58

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This tells us that his status is not restricted to his being simply the prophet of his community; he is the prophet of prophets as well. So, he himself says in a hadith: 'If Mussa (Moses) was living today, he too would have had no option but to follow me.'

At yet another occasion, he said: 'When 'Isa (A), (Jesus) will come, he too will act in accordance with the noble Qur'an and the rules set forth by your prophet'. (Tafsir ibn Kathir)

Thus, from here we learn that his prophethood is 'universal and in elusive' and that all previous religious codes stand absorbed in his Shari'ah. What is being said here also brings into a bright focus the correct meaning of his saying: بعثت إلى الناس كافة  (I have been sent to all human beings). It shows that taking this hadith to mean that his prophethood extends from his time to the Day of Judgement is not correct. Instead, the time duration of his prophethood is so extensive that it begins before the prophethood of Sayyidna Adam (A) as the Holy Prophet (SM) has himself said in a hadith كنت نبيا وادم بين الروح والجسد  (I was a prophet even when Adam was in a state between spirit and body). That he will be the first to step forward for intercession on the Day of Resurrection, and that the entire progeny of Adam (A) will assemble under his flag and that he led the prayers at a congregation of all prophets in Bayt al-Maqdis on the Night of Ascenst (Miraj) are all signs of this leadership which is great and universal.

Verse 85
[٨٥]وَمَن يَبْتَغِ غَيْرَ الْإِسْلَامِ دِينًا فَلَن يُقْبَلَ مِنْهُ وَهُوَ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ

And whoever seeks a faith other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, is among the losers. [85]

Commentary
The literal meaning of 'Islam' is 'submission and obedience.' As a term 'Islam' stands for submission to that particular religion which Allah Almighty has sent through his prophets to guide human beings, because fundamental principles are the same in the religious codes of all prophets (A)

Correspondingly, there are occasions when 'Islam' is used in that general sense, while there are other occasions when it is used exclusively to identify the Last Sharpah which was revealed to the Last of the Prophets (A). Both these kinds of application are present in the Holy Qur'an. That the past prophets called themselves 'Muslim' and their communities, the 'Muslim' community, stands proved under the authority of several wordings of the Qur'anic text. Concurrently, this name has also been used as a particular name of the community the Last of the Prophets:

هُوَ سَمَّاكُمُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ مِن قَبْلُ وَفِي هَـٰذَا

It was He who named you Muslims before, and in this (Qur'an). (22:78)

In short, every Divine religion which came through a prophet is also called 'Islam'. Then, it is also used as a particular title for the Muslim community. Now, the question is as to which sense does the word, 'Islam', carry at this place in the Holy Qur'an?

The correct position is that, no matter which of the two meanings is taken, it does not make much of a difference in terms of the outcome, since the name of 'Islam' given to the religion of past prophets was for a limited group of people and a specified period of time.

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