Why does the Prophet receive a warning from Allah though it is certain that he will not follow anyone but Allah?

The Details of the Question

(Al-Baqara 120: Never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with thee unless thou follow their form of religion. Say: “The Guidance of Allah,-that is the (only) Guidance.” Wert thou to follow their desires after the knowledge which hath reached thee, then wouldst thou find neither Protector nor helper against Allah.)
- In the verse above, Allah warns our Prophet. Our Prophet receives divine revelations from Allah through Jibril, knows that his path is correct and that he is a prophet, and it is certain that he will not follow anyone else but Allah; then, why does he still receive warnings from Allah?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The meaning of the verse in question is as follows:

“Never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with thee unless thou follow their form of religion. Say: “The Guidance of Allah,-that is the (only) Guidance.” Wert thou to follow their desires after the knowledge which hath reached thee, then wouldst thou find neither Protector nor helper against Allah.” (al-Baqara, 2/120)

Scholars state that the verse above refers to many things. One of them is like a response to the issue in the question:

It is permissible for Allah to threaten a servant about something He knows that the servant will not do. For example, Allah knew that the Prophet (pbuh) would not conform to the desires and requests of Jews and Christians. However, He threatened him because of that. Something similar to it is the following verse: “If thou wert to join (gods with Allah), truly fruitless will be thy work (in life)” (az-Zumar, 39/65) Due to the possibility that this threat was what prevented or one of the things that prevented the Prophet from doing so, that threat was appropriate. (see Razi, Mafatih, the interpretation of the verse in question)

In addition, there are two forms of that address:

1. The verse addresses the Prophet (pbuh) since it is aimed at the Prophet (pbuh) from the beginning.

2. Although it is aimed at the Prophet, his ummah is meant by that address. (see Qurtubi, Tafsir, the interpretation of the verse in question)

The word millah translated as “religion” means “the way that Allah revealed to people through His prophets, bringing them closer to Allah; the religious principles and rules adopted and traditionalized by a society”.

According to another definition, millah (nation) refers to the rules and principles determined by Allah, and din (religion) refers to the rules and principles applied by a person.

On the other hand, the original form of religion, as well as its more or less corrupted form, can be called millah. As a matter of fact, we see in the verse that the word millah is used for Judaism and Christianity, both of which have been corrupted.

Another difference between millah and din is that it can be attributed to only one prophet or a community. For example, it can be said “Ibrahim’s millah, Christian millah and Islamic millah” but it cannot be said “Ahmad’s millah and Ali’s millah”; on the other hand, the word din is used in all cases. Besides, the phrase the religion of Allah (dinullah) can be used but the phrase the nation of Allah (millatullah) cannot be used. (Ragib al-Isfahani, al-Mufradat, “mll” item.)

“Verily We have sent thee in truth as a bearer of glad tidings and a warner: But of thee no question shall be asked of the Companions of the Blazing Fire.” As it is stated in the previous verse (verse 119), although the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was sent as a true messenger, a guide, a herald and a warner for all people, the Jews in Madinah took a stand against the Prophet (pbuh) and Islam with full bigotry and fanaticism. Although they should have followed him and the new religion he brought and ­adopted the innovations of this religion, on the contrary, they showed that they would never be satisfied with the Prophet unless he adopted their own religion.

However, what matters in the sight of Allah is not to get the consent of this or that person or group, but to be guided truly and to follow the right path that leads to salvation.

That path is the path of Allah, to adopt and practice the principles of belief, worship and lifestyle informed by Him. After the knowledge about them came, that is, after Allah informed His Messenger about the true religion and its principles through revelation, it is no longer possible to follow the desires of Jews or Christians, and to adopt beliefs, worship and lifestyles that are incompatible with Islam; anyone who does so loses the friendship and help of Allah.

In the part that expresses this warning in the verse, although the Prophet (pbuh) is addressed, the main addressees are Muslim individuals and communities since it is not possible for him to deviate like that.

This determination of the Quran that Jews and Christians will not be satisfied or pleased with Muslims unless they follow their religions is a historically proven fact.

As a matter of fact, although Muslims displayed an extremely just and humane attitude toward the People of the Book in their own land, and even though Islamic land was a shelter for them from time to time, Jewish and Christian administrations often followed policies of oppression, intimidation and exploitation leading to brutality in all Islamic countries they invaded, starting with the occupation of Muslim Spain (Andalusia).

In addition, the Christian Western world adopted the Christianized Turks like the Hungarians but never considered the Turks who preserved Islam as friends. The efforts of the Turks to get closer to the Western world, especially since the Era of Tanzimat, were always fruitless because of their negative attitudes and they turned out to harm the Turks.

The attitude of the Christian world toward other Muslim nations and even all non-Christian societies is no different. Christian Westerners’ perception of Islam as a dangerous force against Christianity and Muslims against Christians results in their displaying more cruel and unjust attitudes toward Islam and Muslims; therefore, interfaith dialogue and similar attempts, some of which are based on goodwill, either remain inconclusive or bear signs that justify the suspicion of a conspiracy against Muslims.

All these determinations show that it is wrong to adopt an impersonal and submissive behavior toward Jews and Christians by blindly harboring a sense of friendship, and to repeat their mistake and to engage in unfair acts by feeling blind enmity.

Both extremes are against the teachings of the Quran in the first place. For, on the one hand, the Quran addresses Muslims as follows: “Let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice.” (al-Maida 5/8) On the other hand, the following is stated as it is seen in the verse we deal with, “Wert thou to follow their desires after the knowledge which hath reached thee, then wouldst thou find neither Protector nor helper against Allah.”

In that case, what Muslims need to do is to refrain from displaying oppression or humiliation under the influence of feelings such as friendship and enmity, to be equipped with mental and moral virtues such as belief, intellect, knowledge, wisdom, honesty and justice in accordance with the general teaching of Islam, and to create an environment of dignified and personal relationship by activating a will for cultural, political and economic competition and development in the most efficient way supported by those virtues. (See Kur'an Yolu, the interpretation of the verse in question)

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