Is being a city dweller one of the conditions of being a prophet? If yes, was Hz. Adam a city dweller?

Details of the Question
Is being a city dweller one of the conditions of being a prophet? If yes, was Hz. Adam a city dweller?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The verse regarding the issue is as follows:

“Nor did We send before thee (as Messengers) any but men, whom We did inspire― (men) living in human habitations. Do they not travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those before them? But the home of the Hereafter is best, for those who do right. Will ye not then understand?”(Yusuf, 12/109)

That is, We did not send any prophets to the people of that land except the ones to whom we sent revelations. The prophets before you were not angels, women, Bedouins, or people who came from distant places. The people to whom we sent revelations were the people of that city, civilized people and brave, valiant men like you.

Ibrahim, Ishaq and Yaqub were city dwellers and civilized people like all other prophets. They sometimes lived in the country in order to guide the people in the countryside and desert or they lived there permanently for other reasons. Hz. Adam was created in Paradise together with his wife; he was sent to the world afterwards. He was a civilized person naturally and spiritually. When the word "prophet" is used, one should not think that he is an angel that does not eat, drink and need any human requirements. (Tafsir of verse 9 of al-An'am; see Elmalılı, Tafsir)

The scholars of Islam understood from the biographies of the prophets that they were city dwellers. What is meant by it is to emphasize that they settled in a place and lived in a civilized, and social environment and that they did not have a nomadic life. These settlements are not necessarily big cities. Even a village can be regarded as a symbol of social life in the periods when there were few people in the world.   

It is not sociologically wrong to regard the place where Hz. Adam lived as a small family-state. It is certain that Hz. Adam, who was engaged in farming and agriculture, had a settled, not nomadic, life. This is evidence that he lived in a civilized environment. However, even if Hz. Adam is an exception, he does not violate this rule as the first man.  

Besides, the places where the prophets lived were described as "qarya" in the Quran. Qarya means village but it is also used to describe towns and cities. 

As a matter of fact, Makkah is defined both as “al-Baladu’l-Amin = the safe city” and “Ummu’l-Qura = the center of villages” in the Quran.

This shows that the places where prophets live are not necessarily cities in the sense that we use; a village and small town is also regarded as sufficient since they represent settled life.

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