Was Messenger Muhammad for All Nations and All Times?
There is no source, no evidence, which indicates that the Messengerhood of Muhammad was peculiar to Arabs or only to those who lived during his lifetime. Quite the contrary, all available sources and evidence confirm that his Messengeric mission is for all times and for all beings. Even his own life, during which he strove to disseminate Islam all over the world proves that it is so.
The Messenger Muhammad ordered his followers to spread Islam all over the world, his aim was to remove the obstacles which prevent human beings from happiness in this world and the next, to prevent them (who are created as the pearl of creation but can sink to the lowest of the low) from rolling down to the pit of hell, and to enable them, instead, to recover values they had lost and regain the purity they were born with. As the final Messenger of God, always under His Guidance and Command, he strove as long as he lived, before it became too late for others, to stretch the light of Islam as far as possible so that those others might hear the Divine Message. Certainly he succeeded in the universality of his mission. See Messengerhood, Its Meaning and Functions
While he himself was still in Mecca, he sent some of the Muslims into Abyssinia. Through the efforts of those believers many Abyssinians had the chance to know and embrace Islam. The Muslims going there was, outwardly, an escape from the intense persecution of the pagans, however, the fact that the king Negus and other nobles around him converted to Islam was one of the first signs and evidence of the universality of the Messengerhood of Muhammad.
Would it be wise now to claim that the Messengerhood of Muhammad is peculiar to Arabs? Does not such a claim require that the people of Hira, Damascus and Persia were Arabs? There are many Messengeric traditions and verses from the Holy Book, which indicate very explicitly this Messengerhood was for all nations and all times.
In one tradition, the Messenger says: Each Messenger was sent to his own nation. I was sent to all mankind. In another tradition, it is narrated as ‘to blacks and whites’. Confirming this, al-Tabari narrates a different tradition
“I was sent to all both as a mercy and a Messenger. Do complete my mission. May God’s mercy be on you.”
When Chosroes’ envoy visited him, the Messenger said to him:
“In the near future, my religion and its sovereignty will reach Chosroes’ throne.”
The verses related to the Messenger’s mission in the Holy Book are all clear, and need no explanation and interpretation. They say unmistakably that the Divine Revelation, through the Messenger, was not meant for one family or tribe, or one race or group of people, but for all mankind. The Messenger Muhammad, was commissioned to warn all the living, whether jinn or man. Those who reject him and the truth he brought will endure the fate of unbelievers. For instance:
“This is no less than a message to (all) the worlds…We have not sent you but to all men as a whole, giving them glad tidings, and warning them, but most men understand not.”
“…Say: ‘O Men! I am sent unto you all, as the Messenger of God, to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth…”
The Holy Book expressly tells us that the former messengers were sent each to his particular community or nation, and draws our attention to the difference between them and the Messenger Muhammad. For instance:
“We sent Noah to his people. He said: ‘O my people! Worship God! You have no other God but Him…
To the Ad; We sent Hud, one of their own brethren. He said: ‘O my people! Worship God! You have no other god but Him…
To the Thamud; We sent Salih, one of their own brethren. He said: ‘O my people! Worship God! You have no other god but Him…
We also sent Lot; He said to his people….
To the people of Madyan We sent Shu’ayb, one of their own brethren….”
Moreover, almost wherever these Messengers are mentioned in the Holy Book, it is stated that they were raised from among their own brethren and sent to their own nation. In this way, the Holy Book leaves no ground for ambiguity on who was a Messenger for his own nation and the one who was for all mankind.
Since the day he was given the first revelation, Muhammad, has been heard and respected almost all over the world. His teachings, which have established a way of life for peoples as far apart as China and Morocco, and touched the hearts of millions in every part of the world, have been and remain the most enduring model for a balanced, civilized life, and given the lead to human development in every field. In spite of the most vicious and sustained oppression of Muslims, the vandalizing of their culture, the misrepresentation of their values and their history, the principles and the ideals of Islam remain fresh and vivid in the hearts of the great majority of Muslims everywhere. Indeed, they are looked up to everywhere, with many, even non-Muslims, agreeing that the grave problems which face mankind can only be resolved by applying those principles. The sheer endurance of Islam, among a great diversity of peoples and languages, cultures and climates, is irreversible proof that the mission of the Messenger Muhammad was not meant for one time but for all peoples and all times.
By M. Fethullah Gulen