54. Lord knows you best; if He wills, He will have mercy on you, or if He wills, He will punish you. And We have not sent you as a guardian over them. 55. And your Lord knows best all who are in the heavens and the earth. And indeed, We have preferred some of the Prophets above others, and to Dawud We gave the Zabur.) Allah says:
(Your Lord knows you best;) O mankind, meaning, He knows best who among you deserves to be guided and who does not deserve to be guided.
(if He wills, He will have mercy on you,) by helping you to obey Him and turn to Him.
(or if He wills, He will punish you. And We have not sent you) - O Muhammad -
(as a guardian over them.) meaning, `We have sent you as a warner, so whoever obeys you, will enter Paradise and whoever disobeys you, will enter Hell.'
(And your Lord knows best all who are in the heavens and the earth.) meaning, their status or level of obedience or disobedience.
(And indeed, We have preferred some of the Prophets above others.) As Allah says:
(Those Messengers! We preferred some of them to others; to some of them Allah spoke (directly); others He raised to degrees (of honor.)) ﴿2:253﴾ This does not contradict the report in the Two Sahihs which says that the Messenger of Allah said:
(Don't give superiority to any Prophet among (Allah's) Prophets.) What is meant in this Hadith is giving a superiority based on whims and fanaticism or sectarian feelings, not on the basis of evidence. If there is solid evidence, we have to follow it. There is no dispute that the Messengers are better than the rest of the Prophets, and that the mighty Messengers of Great Resolve are the best of all. They are the five mentioned in two Ayat of the Qur'an, in Surat Al-Ahzab:
(And (remember) when We took from the Prophets their covenant, and from you and from Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa and `Isa son of Maryam.) ﴿33:7﴾ and in Surat Ash-Shura:
(He has ordained for you the same religion which He ordained for Nuh, and that which We have revealed to you, and that which We ordained for Ibrahim, Musa and `Isa saying you should establish religion and make no divisions in it.) ﴿42:13﴾ There is no dispute that Muhammad is the best of them, then Ibrahim, then Musa, then `Isa (peace be upon them all), according to the best-known view. We have discussed the evidence for this in detail elsewhere, and Allah is the source of help. Allah's saying,
(and to Dawud We gave the Zabur.) is an indication of his virtue and honor. Al-Bukhari recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said:
(The Qur'an (i.e. revea- led Scripture of Zabur) was made easy for Dawud, so he would call for his mounts to be saddled, and he would finish reciting it (i.e., the Zabur) be- fore the job was done.)