[9-10] Say to them, "I am not a novel Messenger, I do not know what shall befall you tomorrow nor what shall befall me. I only follow that which is revealed to me, and I am no more than a warner."12 O Prophet, say to them, "Have you ever considered that if this (Qur'an) were really from Allah, and yet you denied it, (what would be your end)?13 And a witness from among the children of Israel has already borne witness to the like of it; he believed while you showed arrogance.14 Allah does not show guidance to such wrongdoers."
12Its background is this: When the Holy Prophet presented himself as Allah's Messenger, the people of Makkah raised different kinds of objections against it. They said: "what kind of a Messenger he is who has a family, who moves about in the streets, eats and drinks and lives a common man's life. There is nothing special about him, which might distinguish him above the other people and therefore we may know that Allah has specially made this man His Messenger. " Then they said: "Had he ban appointed a Messenger by God, He would have sent an angel as an attendant with him who would have announced that he was God's Messenger, and would have punished with a scourge every such person who had behaved insolently Towards him. How strange that God should appoint a person as His Messenger and then should leave him alone to roam the streets of Makkah and suffer every kind of humiliation. If nothing else Allah should at least have created a magnificent palace and a blooming garden for His Messenger. He should not have been left to depend on his wife's resources so that 'when they exhausted the Messenger should be forced to go without food and should not even afford a conveyance to Ta'if." Besides, these people demanded different kinds of miracles from him and asked news of the unseen. They thought that a person's being God's Messenger meant that he should possess supernatural powers so that mountains should move at his bidding and deserts at once turn into green fields; he should have the knowledge of the past and the future events and of everything hidden from others.
An answer to the same has been given in these sentences, and each sentence contains a world of meaning.
First, it is said: 'Tell them: I am not a novel Messenger. " That is, "My being appointed as a Messenger is not a novel event of its kind in the world so that you may have some confusion about the characteristics of a Messenger. Many Messengers have come to the world before me, and I am not any different from them. Never has a Messenger come, who did not have a family, who did not eat and drink, or who did not live a common man's life. Never has an angel descended as an attendant with a Messenger, heralding his prophethood and carrying a whip before him. Never have gardens and palaces been created for a Messenger and never has a Messenger ban spared of the hardships which I am suffering. Never has a Messenger shown a miracle by his own power, or known everything by his own knowledge. Then, how is it that you are bringing forth these strange criteria only to judge my Prophethood?"
Then it is said: Tell them also : "I do not know what shall befall you tomorrow nor what shall befall me. I only follow that which is revealed to me." That is, "I am not a knower of the unseen so that everything of the past and present and future should be known to me, and I should have the knowledge of everything in the world. Not to speak of your future, I do not even know my own future. I only know that of which I am given knowledge by revelation. More than that I have never claimed to know, nor has there ever been a Messenger in the world, who made that claim. It is not a Messenger's job to tell the whereabouts of the lost articles, or tell whether a pregnant woman will deliver a boy or a girl, or whether a sick patient will live or die."
In conclusion, it is said: "Say to them: I am no more than a plain warner." That is, "I do not possess Divine powers so that I may show you the wonderful miracles that you demand from me every next day. My only mission is that I should present the right way before the people, and should warn of an evil end those who do not accept it. "
13This same theme has been expressed in another way in Surah Ha-Mim As-Sajdah: 62 above. For explanation, see E.N. 69 of the said Surah.
14A large number of the commentators have taken this "witness" to imply Hadrat 'Abdullah bin Salam, who was a famous Jewish scholar of Madinah, and who believed in the Holy Prophet after the migration. As this thing happened in Madinah, these commentators say that this verse was revealed at Madinah. This commentary is based on a statement of Hadrat Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas according to which this verse was sent down in respect of Hadrat `Abdullah bin Salam (Bukhari, Muslim, Nasa'i Ibn Jarir); and on the same basis have several major commentators like Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah, Dahhak, Ibn Sirin, Hasan Basri, Ibn Zaid and `Auf bin Malik al-Ashja`i accepted this commentary. But, on the other hand, 'Ikrimah and Sha`bi and Masruq say that this verse cannot be about `Abdullah bin Salam (may Allah be pleased with him) for this entire Surah was sent down at Makkah. Ibn Jarir Tabari also has preferred this view. He says: The whole previous discourse is an address directed to the pagans of Makkah and the following discourse also is directed to them. In this context it is not conceivable that a verse revealed at Madinah was inserted here. The later commentators who have accepted this second version, do not reject the tradition of Hadrat Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas, but have opined that as this verse also applies to Hadrat 'Abdullah bin Salam's affirmation of the faith, Hadrat Sa`d expressed the opinion, in the tradition of the ancients, that it was sent down with regard to him. This does not, however, mean that when he believed, it was revealed then about him only, but that this verse precisely applied to him and his acceptance of Islam.
Apparently, this second view seems to be more correct and reasonable. Now. the question that remains to be answered is: Who is implied by this witness?" Some of the commentators who have accepted the second view say that it implies the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), but the following sentence: 'He believed white you showed arrogance", bears no relevance to this explanation. What seems to be nearer the truth is that which the commentator Nisaburi and Ibn Kathir have stated. They say: Here, by "a witness" is not meant any particular person but a common Israelite.. The meaning is this; "The teachings that the Qur'an is presenting before you are not new so that you could deny them by offering the excuse that they were novel teachings which had never been presented before man in the past. Before this these very teachings have been similarly revealed and exist with the Israelites in the form of the Torah and other scriptures, and a common Israelite has already believed in them, and also admitted that Allah's Revelation is a means of the coming down of these teachings. Therefore, you cannot make the claim that Revelation and these teachings are incomprehensible. The only thing that hinders you from believing is your arrogance and baseless conceit. "