Is This Ayat Contrary To Islam Being Universal?
By: Ayatullah al-Uzma Shaykh Nasir Makarim Shirazi
& Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani
Question: According to the verse: And never did We destroy a town but it had a term made known.
There was no Prophet from any community who did not stand up and did not talk in their own language. And the heavenly book also used to be in the language of those people.
Therefore if the apostleship of a Prophet is specially for that community, then that system would have been very much likeable, but if his apostleship is universal and for the people of the whole world, then why it is necessary that his book should be in the language of those people say for example, the book brought by the Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.a.) is in the Arabic language?
Answer: Those Prophets who were sent for the guidance of the people since their very first concern was with their own people, therefore it was necessary that the heavenly book which they brought should be in the language of their people and then he should do propagation of his message and in other communities in different other ways.
Nowadays the knowledgeable personalities of every country are trying that their books be written in the language of the people of that country. However what is entered into those books is never solely especially for the people of those areas.
Since the Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.a.) came from the Arab community and in the initial stage he had to deal with Arab clans and tribes therefore, his book is in one of the world's comprehensive and living language; that is Arabic. Whereas its laws and commands are connected to all the human beings.
If at the time of the prophet hood of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) a universal and international language had existed and if all the people were knowing and understanding that language and spoke in that language, then in that case it would have been most appropriate that the Prophet's heavenly book was also in that language. There was no such language in those days, nor is to this date, and there is no further progress till now in this regard.
On the basis of whatever is stated above the Holy Qur’an being in Arabic language, is not at all negating that Islam is a universal religion. In more clear words it should be said that the above-mentioned verse says that Allah has sent every Prophet to his community with the message in their own language, but that does not mean that, the apostleship of the Prophet and guidance was limited specifically for that community only.
Any Prophet or his book being in the language of his people is never the proof that his Prophet hood was limited to this people only. But, his religion being specific or general should be decided by other means.
It is also evident that Islam is above race and language and it takes the whole world as its home and the Holy Qur’an is in Arabic because there is no international language. Therefore the allegation that Islam is a religion of a particular race is not a correct stand.
That Islam is a universal is known through many ways, but here it is not possible to give all the details. For details refer to Din-e-Hikmat published by Jamea-e-Ta'alimate Islami.
 Surah Ibrahim 15:4
Why Allah Has Used Plural Pronouns For Himself?
Question: When the Almighty Allah is One, unique and peerless, and knows about His oneness, then why in the Holy Qur’an he uses the plural pronoun (We) for Himself?
Answer: The use of first person plural noun (We) is the sign of greatness and magnificence of the person (entity) who is speaking and this use is most appropriate and befitting to Allah. Arabs say that the reason for the use of first person plural noun is considered as proof of greatness that great people generally are not alone. The servants, attendants and other people are always around them to fulfill their needs. That is why they always used the pronoun We and the use of this word is a metaphor for greatness.
In this respect, wherever in the words of Allah plural noun is used it reminds us about His greatness and magnificence and we start thinking about those apparent and hidden powers of the universe, which are subordinate to Him. In this way our belief in Tauheed become stronger and our attention towards the sanctified self becomes more.
Hearing And Sight In The Holy Qur’an
Question: What is the reason that in the following verse of the Holy Qur’an the word “Samaa” is in singular, but “Qalb” and “Basar” are used in plural form.
“Allah has set a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing and there is a covering over their eyes.”
Answer: Some commentators say that here, “Sama” is in the sense of noun of action and when on some word there is an increase of noun of action, then that noun of action gives the meaning of totality and generality. And it is not dependant on that word to be plural. But the other two words i.e. “Qalb” and “Basar” are used in the sense as a name of a specific organ. That is why they have come in plural form.
Some research scholars have described this difference that every person understands the things of various types with his heart and imagination. And in the same way he perceives colors, faces, shapes and measurements with eyes.
The perception of those two organs are numerous and exceptionally of various kinds. According to this every person from among us has, so to say, numerous hearts and eyes. But everyone from among us can hear only the sound waves and for that reason the word “Sama” is used as a singular.
It is true that voices are also of many varieties, but not that much as those things, which can be seen with the eyes. In the same way those things are also exceptionally various and diverse, whom man imagines and understands.
 Surah Baqarah 2:7
Why Would The False Gods Be Put In The Fire?
Question: In Surah Anbiya, Ayat no. 98, it is said regarding those gods whom the polytheist worshipped: “Surely you and what you worship besides Allah are the firewood of hell, to it you shall come”.
On this basis the false gods will burn in the fire of hell, whereas the connection of some false gods is with the living things. (For example, the animals whom the ignorant communities worshipped). What is their sin that they be burnt in fire?
Answer: As the venerable Shia Mufassereen Marhum Tabarsi has said in his famous Tafseer Majmaul Bayan, this Ayat is addressed to the country of polytheists. And all the Ayats of Surah Anbiya were revealed in Mecca.
The false gods of the people of Mecca were made of wood, metal and stone. And those gods which are the firewood of Hell, they are these idols, etc, who at the time of revelation of Qur’an, people used to worship, those living gods are not included in this Ayat whom some people worshipped. It is also interesting that in those days the idol worshippers of the Arabian Peninsula were not worshipping any living things.
Here the point worth attention is that Allah will burn those false gods in hell and they will become firewood for hell, so that the polytheist may know that those false gods who were sacred in their eyes in the end became fire for their own lives and they became the cause of their misfortune and wretchedness. And they get to know that these false gods whom the foolish man considered to be powerful do not even have a little power to defend themselves.
Is It Allowed To Prostrate Before Anyone Or Anything Other Than Allah?
Question: The Almighty Allah states in Surah Yusuf, Ayat No. 100: And he raised his parents upon the throne and they fell down in prostration before him and he said: O my father! This is the significance of my vision of old; my Lord has indeed made it to be true: It was because Yusuf (a.s.) has seen in his first dream that, the Sun and the Moon, and eleven stars are prostrating in front of him.
We read in history that when Amir al-Mu’mineen (a.s.) was going towards Siffeen people of a group, who were standing at the roadside, according to the system for the Sassanid kings fell down in prostration as soon as they saw Hazrat.
Amir al-Mu’mineen saw this spectacle and felt too much of anguish and said: “What kind of unpleasant sin are you committing. Go and do your work, because I am also a creation of Allah, just like you.”
Is this historical fact, not contrary to the above-mentioned Ayat?
Answer: Prostration by way of worship is specifically only for the Almighty Allah and is not permitted for any and other than Him. As is related by Imam as-Sadiq and Hazrat Imam Hadi (a.s.), in tafseer of this Ayat, Hazrat Yusuf's (a.s.) father and mother and brothers had prostrated in front of Allah by way of thanking Him. And as the writer of Majmaul Bayan has said: In Arabic words, personal pronoun of 'Lahu' is not towards Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.), but it revolves towards Allah. Meaning they prostrated in front of Allah.
As far as the prostration of Angels towards Hazrat Adam (a.s.) is concerned, it has the same meaning i.e. prostration was actually for Allah and Hazrat Adam's (a.s.) position was that of Qibla.
In view of this narration in the mentioned Ayat, there is no dispute in the historical meaning is related by Imam Ali (a.s.).