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MuhammedAli

Answering Objection: If Prophet Is Hadhir Nazir Why Was He Not Witness To Prophet Musa Being Given The Law?

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Introduction:

Muslims believe Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) was witness upon actions of all nations before his birth and after his birth he was sent as a witness upon entire mankind. The opponents of Islam categorically reject Hadhir Nazir and term it polytheistic belief. They present various arguments to refute Hadhir Nazir and this argument will focus on one such argument.

Argument Against Hadhir Nazir:

The argument presented is; if Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) is Hadhir and Nazir (i.e. present and seeing) on actions of Jinn and mankind then why does the Quran state Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) was not amongst the Shahideen (i.e. witnesses) at the event of Prophet Musa (alayhis salaam) receiving the Law (i.e. Taurat) and this is established from the following verse: “And you, [O Muhammad], were not on the western side [of the mount] when We revealed to Moses the command, and you were not among the Shahideen [to that].” [Ref: 28:44] This establishes Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) was/is not Hadhir and Nazir at these events which he should be if he was witnessing the actions of mankind before he was sent as a last and final prophet.

Linguistic Meaning Of Shahid And Shahideen:

Linguistically the words Shahid in singular form and Shahideen in plural form are used in meaning of witness/witnesses and as present (i.e. Hadhir/Hadhireen). In funeral prayers words are: اللهُـمِّ اغْفِـرْ لِحَيِّـنا وَمَيِّتِـنا وَشـاهِدِنا ، وَغائِبِـنا ، وَصَغيـرِنا وَكَبيـرِنا ، In this supplication each word has been is opposite of the other. They are opposites; living (i.e. لِحَيِّـنا) and the deceased (i.e. مَيِّتِـنا), the present (i.e. شـاهِدِنا) and the absent (i.e. غائِبِـنا). In fact in online translation of Ahadith which contain this supplication of funeral all of them have translated the word Shahidina (i.e. our present) as present.[1] Now coming to the verse 28:44; the verse states, during the event of Prophet Musa (alayhis salaam) was unfolding, you were not amongst the Shahideen on the Western side of mountain. As demonstrated earlier the word Shahid can be used to mean Hadhireen/Hadhir (i.e. present) and in this context Hadhireen (i.e. present people). Now if Shahideen is in meaning of Hadhireen then according to this meaning physical presence from amongst Hadhireen is negated not the witnessing of the event.

Explaining The Verse Of 28:44 By Itself:

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states: “And you were not on the western side [of the mount] when We revealed to Moses the command, and you were not among the Shahideen.” [Ref: 28:44] Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) stated denying the presence of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam): “And you were not on the western side [of the mount] …” And for further emphasis on denying the presence of  Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) on the western side of mountain Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states: ”… and you were not among the Shahideen.” In other words the presence is being negated in both places but the wording is different. Alhasil following parts of verses are saying the same thing in their unique way: “And you were not on the western side [of the mount] …” ”… and you were not among the Shahideen.”

Explaining The Verse Of 28:44 Quran With Other Verses:

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) stated: “And you were not on the western side [of the mount] when We revealed to Moses the command, and you were not among the Shahideen (i.e. Hadhireen).” [Ref: 28:44] In verse forty-six of same chapter, Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) clarifies in which meaning the presence amongst Shahideen was negated for him, i.e. present: “And you were not at the side of the mount when We called [Moses] but [were sent] as a mercy from your Lord to warn a people to whom no warner had come before you that they might be reminded.” [Ref: 28:46] To be on a site, on a mountain, presence is fundamental because one can be witness without directly being at a place. As an example, Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is witness to everything yet his presence on every place and in every place isn’t believed. Comprehensively, Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is indicating that Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) was not amongst those who were present on the mountain nor he witnessed the events directly like the present people did. In the following verse Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states that Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) was not resident among the people of Madian: “But We produced [many] generations [after Moses], and prolonged was their duration. And you were not a resident among the people of Madyan, reciting to them Our verses, but We were senders [of this message].” [Ref: 28:45] Here again the physical presence amongst people of Madian is being negated because Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) negated his residence amongst the people of Madian and there can be no residence amongst a people if you are not alive and physically present in a community. So in the context witnessing is not being negated but presence amongst people is being negated. This is also in line with other verses such as: "This story which We have revealed to you is a tale of the unseen; for you were not there with them when they collectively conspired and schemed against him" [Ref: 12:102] “This is of the announcements relating to the unseen which We reveal to you; and you were not with them when they cast their pens (to decide) which of them should have Mary in his charge, and you were not with them when they contended one with another.” [Ref: 3:44] Al-hasil Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) was negating physical presence on the site of events not witnessing of events nor knowledge of events stated in these verses.

Verse 28:44 According Understanding Of Commentators:

Numerous commentators of Quran have understood the verse 28:44 in meaning of Hadhireen/Hadhir and some of them will be referenced in footnote with text of commentaries.[2] And other I will mention here without referencing material but providing link to their Tafasir. Zamashkari a Mutazili, widely believed to be one of the great Arabic grammarians, explained Shahideen in meaning of Hadhir in his Tafsir Al Kashf, click. Shaykh Tabrasi a Shia scholar in his Majma Al Bayan, interpreted Shahideen to mean Hadhireen, click. Imam Qurtubi in his understood Shahideen to mean Hadhireen, click. Author of Tafsir Al Kashful Bayan, Allama Muhammad Al-Thalabi interpreted the Shahideen in meaning of Hadhireen, here.  Altogether ten commentators have taken the meaning of Shahideen in meaning of Hadhireen and if detailed research was carried dozen or more could be found in support of understanding of Muslims.

Objective Of Verse 28:44 Was To Establish Divine Knowledge:

The implications of the verse is that, even though he was not present while the events at Western side of mountain were unfolding but despite that he knows what transpired and he knows the events because: “This is of the announcements relating to the unseen which We reveal to you; and you were not with them when they cast their pens (to decide) which of them should have Mary in his charge, and you were not with them when they contended one with another.” [Ref: 3:44] In addition to what is already mentioned in verse 3:44 the following event of Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) is also from news of Ghayb: “And you were not on the western side [of the mount] when We revealed to Moses the command, and you were not among the Shahideen (i.e. Hadhireen).” [Ref: 28:44] The objective of such verses was to argue that Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) was not amongst the people therefore he could not know the events by hearing or seeing them. Nor he could have heard from any other, nor read in any book because he was not able to read and write, therefore it has to be news [of Ghayb] given to him by Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala)[3] and this meaning is confirmed from the following verse: “We recite to you from the news of Moses and Pharaoh in truth for a people who believe.” [Ref: 28:3]

Belief Of Muslims And Implications Of Interpretation Of Verse:

We Muslims believe Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) was not Hadhir with his jism (i.e. body) on the Western side of the mountain mentioned in the verse. Hence negation of his physical presence is not refutation of our creed of Hadhir Nazir. It is obvious that Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa  aalihi was’sallam) could not have been physically present at the mountain like companions and followers of Prophet Musa (alayhis salaam) were present because he was not born yet.

Conclusion:

Ahle Sunnat believe word Shahideen has been used in the meaning of Hadhireen in the verse in discussion and commentators have explained its meaning in accordance with understanding of Ahle Sunnat. The verse is part of set of other verses which negate physical presence in one place or another for Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam).  Negation of physical presence does not refute the position and understanding of Ahle Sunnat because we do not believe he was physically present at the events stated in the verse in dicussion.

Footnotes:

- [1] “When the Messenger of Allah  prayed over a dead person, he said: O Allah, forgive those of us who are living and those of us who are dead, those of us who are present and those of us who are absent, our young and our old, our male and our female. O Allah to whosoever of us Thou givest life grant him life as a believer, and whomsoever of us Thou takest in death take him in death as a follower of Islam. O Allah, do not withhold from us the reward (of faith) and do not lead us astray after his death.” [Ref: Abu Dawood, B20, H3195] “When the Messenger of Allah prayed a funeral prayer, he would say, "O Allah! Forgive those of us who are alive, and those who are dead, those present and those absent, those who are young and those who are male and those who are female. O Allah! Let those of us to whom You have given life, live in Islam, and let those of us You take back die in a state of faith. O Allah! Do not deprive us of our reward for (supplicating for) him, and cause us not to go astray after him." Narrated by Muslim and the four Imams.” [Ref: B.A. Maram, B3, H590] It was narrated from Abu Ibrahim Al-Ansari, from his father; he heard the Prophet say, when offering the funeral prayer for one who had died: ‘O Allah, forgive our living and our dead, those who are present among us and those who are absent, our males and our females, our young and our old.’” [Ref: Nisa’i, B21, H1988]

- [2] وَمَا كُنتَ بِجَانِبِ ٱلْغَرْبِىّ } أي: ما كنت يا محمد بناحية الجبل من قبل المغرب { إِذْ قَضَيْنَا إِلَىٰ مُوسَى ٱلأَمْرَ } يعني: إذ عهدنا إليه بالرسالة ويقال: أحكمنا معه وعمدنا إليه بأمرنا ونبينا { وَمَا كنتَ مِنَ ٱلشَّـٰهِدِينَ } يعني: حاضرين لذلك الأمر” [Ref: Tafsir Bahrul Uloom, 28:44]وَمَا كُنتَ } يا محمد، { بِجَانِبِ ٱلْغَرْبِىِّ } ، يعني بجانب الجبل الغربي، قاله قتادة والسدي، وقال الكلبي: بجانب الوادي الغربي. قال ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما: يريد حيث ناجى موسى ربَّه، { إِذْ قَضَيْنَآ إِلَىٰ مُوسَى ٱلأَمْرَ } ، يعني عهدنا إليه وأحكمنا الأمر معه بالرسالة إلى فرعون وقومه، { وَمَا كنتَ مِنَ ٱلشَّـٰهِدِينَ } ، الحاضرين ذلك المقام فتذكره من ذات نفسك [Ref: Tafsir Malim Ul Tanzeel, 28:44] إِذْ قَضَيْنَآ إِلَىٰ مُوسَى ٱلأَمْرَ } إذ كلفناه أمرنا ونهينا، وألزمناه عهدنا. وقيل: أي إذ قضينا إلى موسى أمرك وذكرناك بخير ذكرٍ. وقال ابن عباس: { إِذْ قَضَيْنَا } أي أخبرنا أن أمة محمد خير الأمم. { وَمَا كنتَ مِنَ ٱلشَّاهِدِينَ } أي من الحاضرين  [Ref: Tafir Qurtubi,  28:44] { وما كنت } الخطاب للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أي وما كنت يا محمد { بجانب الغربي } يعني بجانب الجبل الغربي قال ابن عباس يريد حيث ناجى موسى ربه { إذ قضينا إلى موسى الأمر } يعني عهدنا إليه وأحكمنا الأمر معه بالرسالة إلى فرعون { وما كنت من الشاهدين } يعني الحاضرين ذلك المقام الذي أوحينا إلى موسى فيه فتذكره من ذات نفسك [Ref: Tafsir Khazin, 28:44] { لِلنَّاسِ } لبني إسرائيل { وَهُدىً } من الضلالة { وَرَحْمَةً } لمن آمن به { لَّعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ } لكي يتعظوا فيؤمنوا به { وَمَا كُنتَ } يا محمد { بِجَانِبِ ٱلْغَرْبِيِّ } الجبل { إِذْ قَضَيْنَآ إِلَىٰ مُوسَى ٱلأَمْرَ } حيث أمرنا موسى الإتيان إلى فرعون { وَمَا كنتَ مِنَ ٱلشَّاهِدِينَ } من الحاضرين هناك { وَلَكِنَّآ أَنشَأْنَا } خلقنا { قُرُوناً } قرناً بعد قرن وبيّنا قصة الأول للآخر كما بيّنا لك { فَتَطَاوَلَ عَلَيْهِمُ ٱلْعُمُرُ } الأجل فلم يؤمنوا فأهلكناهم قرناً بعد قرن [Ref: Tafsir Ferozabadi, 28:44] “(And thou) O Muhammad (wast not on the western side (of the Mount) when We exposited unto Moses the commandment) when We commanded Moses to go to Pharaoh, (and thou wast not among those present) there;  (But We brought forth) We created (generations) generation after generation, and explained the event of the former to the latter, just as We explained it to you, (and their lives dragged on for them) their lives were prolonged, and when they did not believe We destroyed them. (And thou wast not) O Muhammad (a dweller in Midian, reciting unto them Our revelations) reciting the Qur'an to your people, (but We kept sending (messengers to men)) to past generations and exposited to them the events of those who preceded them just as We explained the events of the people of old to you. [Ref: Tanwir Al Miqbas Min Tafsir Ibn Abbas, 28:44/45]

- [3]
If someone else had informed Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) he would have bore witness to people that he educated him and therefore his claim of receiving revelation is false and consequently his Prophet-hood. If he was able to read and write before the Prophet-hood it would have known to his family members and to people of Makkah with whom he lived all his lives including his friends. Combination of these facts with magnificence of Quranic expression and unchallenged beauty which even the master Arab poets could not contend with. All this combines as a massive argument in favor of beloved Prophet of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) that he indeed did receive revelation from Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala).

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