Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Revisiting the Quranic Contradiction concerning
Allah sending Warners to all Mankind Before Muhammad

Sam Shamoun

Bassam Zawadi has taken a stab at trying to refute my article concerning the gross mistake in the Quran on the issue of whether Allah had sent prophets/messengers to the Arabs before the advent of Muhammad.

Zawadi summarizes my point and then proceeds to attack me personally.

In summary, Shamoun argues that the first set of verses: Surah 10:47; 16:35-36; 22:34,67; 35:24 & 40:5-6, which state that Allah has sent to every nation a Messenger before the time of Muhammad contradicts the second set of verses: Surah 28:46; 32:3 & 36:6, which state that a Messenger was never sent to the people Muhammad was sent to.

This is the problem with Shamoun. He thinks he is qualified to critique a book that he doesn't know the language of without providing proper sound academic scholarship to back him up.

Apart from committing several fallacies such as ad hominem, “poisoning the well,” non-sequitur etc., Zawadi again displays his blatant inconsistency. If knowing the language of a specific book is a necessary prerequisite for critiquing it then what are we to make of Zawadi’s criticisms of the Holy Bible when he has no specialized training in any of the Biblical languages, i.e. Hebrew, Aramaic and Koine Greek?

If Zawadi’s point is that I needed to quote recognized authorities to confirm my argument since I am not an expert of the Arabic language then this simply provides further evidence that he has a problem reading carefully. As anyone having read my article can I attest I did quote some of Islam’s premiere exegetes and scholars which makes Zawadi’s assertion all the more ironic.

More importantly, Zawadi’s comments presuppose that he does know the language of the Quran fairly well which means that we are to hold him to a higher standard of scholarship than someone such as myself who is so ignorant of the language. And yet, as we shall see, Zawadi makes a huge mistake in his attempt of harmonizing this blatant contradiction of the Quran.

Zawadi goes on to say:

In the first set of verses, the Arabic word ummah (أمة) is used, while in the second set of verses the Arabic word qawm (قوم) is used. The word ummah means:

nation, people; generation. (Hans Wehr, A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, Third Edition, 1976, page 25)

While qawm means:

Fellow, tribesmen, kinsfolk, kin, kindred; tribe, race, people. (Ibid. page 800)

So we see that ummah is more general than qawm and that a particular qawm could be part of a particular ummah.

The first set of verses state that the message was sent to all the previous ummah, while the second set of verses is specifically speaking about the qawm that the Prophet was sent to. Hence, there is no contradiction.

Zawadi’s “response” is brimming with errors. In the first place, Zawadi didn’t even bother to address the entire article. Rather, he only summarizes the argument into two words and makes a new interpretation out of them. Unfortunately for him, no commentator on these verses of the Quran made such a distinction as he did.

Secondly, his assertion that, “ummah is more general than qawm and that a particular qawm could be part of a particular ummah,” makes his problem worse. By arguing that qawm is part of an ummah Zawadi has basically proven that all of those prophets who were sent to their respective ummah were also sent to their qawm. In other words, since the word ummah encompasses a qawm this means that any messenger who was sent to a specific ummah was sent to a qawm as well. If the Quran wanted to make the distinction that Zawadi is making it would have been better to have those before Muhammad sent to their qawm only instead of their ummah. More on this shortly.

Thirdly, it seems that I am not alone in asserting that other messengers did warn the Arabs before the time of Muhammad. Al-Tabari in his commentary of Q. 36:6 states the following:

Arabic Linguists had different opinions on whether this verse meant that their fathers were warned from before or not. (Source)

Thus, even some of the Arab linguists of the Quran weren’t certain and had doubts whether the Quran means that Muhammad’s people had never been warned previous to Muhammad’s advent.

In addition, the author of the Quran assumes that his hearers have prior knowledge of previous messages that were sent by the former messengers and were therefore expected to heed Muhammad’s message or face divine judgment as the people before them did. Q. 16:36 serves as an example of such admonition:

And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): "Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghut (all false deities, etc. i.e. do not worship Taghut besides Allah)." Then of them were some whom Allah guided and of them were some upon whom the straying was justified. So travel through the land and see what was the end of those who denied (the truth).

Again, we will have more to say regarding this point shortly.

Fourthly, Zawadi erroneously assumes that just because two different words are used this somehow means that they do not carry the same meaning. But this overlooks what even his own lexical source says. Here it is once again:

… The word ummah means:

nation, PEOPLE; generation. (Hans Wehr, A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, Third Edition, 1976, page 25)

While qawm means:

Fellow, tribesmen, kinsfolk, kin, kindred; tribe, race, PEOPLE. (Ibid. page 800) (Capital emphasis ours)

Seeing that the lexical source which Zawadi quotes from admits that qawm and ummah can both mean “people” on what basis does Zawadi assume that the use of two distinct words somehow implies that the meanings are necessarily different? Since the meaning of a word is determined by the context in which it is used it is therefore possible that these words actually have the same precise meaning.

This leads us to the fifth problem with Zawadi’s assertion. Zawadi conveniently overlooks the fact that the Quran itself uses qawm and ummah in similar contexts where they virtually function as synonyms.

This means that Zawadi’s comments demonstrate that he is grossly ignorant of the language of the Quran. Or, worse still, Zawadi’s reply demonstrates his blatant dishonesty since he does understand the language but chooses to hide the facts from his readers.

For instance, even though Zawadi is correct that Muhammad is said to have been sent to a qawm:

Or say they: “He (Muhammad) has fabricated it?" Nay, it is the truth from your Lord, that you may warn a people (qawman) to whom no warner has come before you (O Muhammad), in order that they may be guided.” S. 32:3

Zawadi must have either forgotten or failed to reveal to his readers that the Quran expressly says that all the messengers were sent to their own qawm:

And We have sent no Messenger save with the tongue of his people (qawmihi), that he might make all clear to them; then Allah leads astray whomsoever He will, and He guides whomsoever He will; and He is the All-mighty, the All-wise. S. 14:4

This is why the Quran refers to prophets and messengers such as Noah, Lot, Moses etc., being sent to their qawm:

And (remember) when Musa (Moses) said to his people (liqawmihi): "O my people (ya qawmi)! Verily, you have wronged yourselves by worshipping the calf. So turn in repentance to your Creator and kill yourselves (the innocent kill the wrongdoers among you), that will be better for you with your Lord." Then He accepted your repentance. Truly, He is the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful. S. 2:54

And (remember) when Musa (Moses) said to his people (liqawmihi): "O my people (ya qawmi)! Remember the Favour of Allah to you, when He made Prophets among you, made you kings, and gave you what He had not given to any other among the 'Alamin (mankind and jinns, in the past). O my people (ya qawmi)! Enter the holy land (Palestine) which Allah has assigned to you, and turn not back (in flight) for then you will be returned as losers." They said: "O Musa (Moses)! In it (this holy land) are a people of great strength, and we shall never enter it, till they leave it; when they leave, then we will enter." He [Musa (Moses)] said: "O my Lord! I have power only over myself and my brother, so separate us from the people who are the Fasiqun (rebellious and disobedient to Allah)!" (Allah) said: "Therefore it (this holy land) is forbidden to them for forty years; in distraction they will wander through the land. So be not sorrowful over the people who are the Fasiqun (rebellious and disobedient to Allah)." S. 5:20-26

And (remember) when Ibrahim (Abraham) said to his father Azar: "Do you take idols as aliha (gods)? Verily, I see you and your people in manifest error." When he saw the moon rising up, he said: "This is my lord." But when it set, he said: "Unless my Lord guides me, I shall surely be among the erring people." When he saw the sun rising up, he said: "This is my lord. This is greater." But when it set, he said: "O my people (ya qawmi)! I am indeed free from all that you join as partners in worship with Allah. Verily, I have turned my face towards Him Who has created the heavens and the earth Hanifa (Islamic Monotheism, i.e. worshipping none but Allah Alone) and I am not of Al-Mushrikun (see V.2:105)". His people (qawmuhu) disputed with him. He said: "Do you dispute with me concerning Allah while He has guided me, and I fear not those whom you associate with Allah in worship. (Nothing can happen to me) except when my Lord (Allah) wills something. My Lord comprehends in His Knowledge all things. Will you not then remember? And that was Our Proof which We gave Ibrahim (Abraham) against his people (qawmihi). We raise whom We will in degrees. Certainly your Lord is All-Wise, All=Knowing. S. 6:74-83

And to Thamud (people, We sent) their brother Salih (Saleh). He said: "O my people (ya qawmi)! Worship Allah! You have no other Ilah (God) but Him. (La ilaha ill-Allah: none has the right to be worshipped but Allah). Indeed there has come to you a clear sign (the miracle of the coming out of a huge she camel from the midst of a rock) from your Lord. This she camel of Allah is a sign unto you; so you leave her to graze in Allah's earth, and touch her not with harm, lest a painful torment should seize you. And remember when He made you successors after 'Ad (people) and gave you habitations in the land, you build for yourselves palaces in plains, and carve out homes in the mountains. So remember the graces (bestowed upon you) from Allah, and do not go about making mischief on the earth." The leaders of those who were arrogant among his people (qawmihi) said to those who were counted weak - to such of them as believed: "Know you that Salih (Saleh) is one sent from his Lord." They said: "We indeed believe in that with which he has been sent." Those who were arrogant said: "Verily, we disbelieve in that which you believe in." So they killed the she camel and insolently defied the Commandment of their Lord, and said: "O Salih (Saleh)! Bring about your threats if you are indeed one of the Messengers (of Allah)." So the earthquake seized them, and they lay (dead), prostrate in their homes. Then he [Salih (Saleh)] turned from them, and said: "O my people (ya qawmi)! I have indeed conveyed to you the Message of my Lord, and have given you good advice but you like not good advisers." And (remember) Lout (Lot), when he said to his people (liqawmihi): "Do you commit the worst sin such as none preceding you has committed in the 'Alamin (mankind and jinns)?” S. 7:73-80

And the people of Musa (Moses) (Wa-ittakhatha qawmu moosa) made in his absence, out of their ornaments, the image of a calf (for worship). It had a sound (as if it was mooing). Did they not see that it could neither speak to them nor guide them to the way? They took it for worship and they were Zalimun (wrong-doers). S. 7:148

And indeed We sent Nuh (Noah) to his people (qawmihi) (and he said): "I have come to you as a plain warner." S. 11:25

And if they belie you (O Muhammad), so were belied the Prophets before them, (by) the people of (qawmu) Nuh (Noah), 'Ad and Thamud, And the people of (wa-qawmu) Ibrahim (Abraham) and the people of Lout (Lot), And the dwellers of Madyan (Midian); and belied was Musa (Moses), but I granted respite to the disbelievers for a while, then I seized them, and how (terrible) was My Punishment (against their wrong-doing). And many a township have We destroyed while it was given to wrong-doing, so that it lies in ruins (up to this day), and (many) a deserted well and lofty castles! 22.42-45

Before them (were many who) belied Messengers, the people of (qawmu) Nuh (Noah); and 'Ad; and Fir'aun (Pharaoh) the man of stakes (with which he used to punish the people), And Thamud, and the people of (wa-qawmu) Lout (Lot), and the dwellers of the wood; such were the confederates. Not one of them but belied the Messengers, therefore My Torment was justified, S. 38:12-14

Denied before them (i.e. these pagans of Makkah who denied you, O Muhammad) the people of (qawmu) Nuh (Noah), and the dwellers of Rass, and the Thamud, S And 'Ad, and Fir'aun (Pharaoh), and the brethren of Lout (Lot), And the dwellers of the Wood, and the people of (wa-qawmu) Tubba'; everyone of them denied (their) Messengers, so My Threat took effect. 50:12-14

Verily, We sent Nuh (Noah) to his people (qawmihi) (Saying): "Warn your people (qawmaka) before there comes to them a painful torment." He said: "O my people (qawmi)! Verily, I am a plain warner to you, That you should worship Allah (Alone), be dutiful to Him, and obey me, He (Allah) will forgive you of your sins and respite you to an appointed term. Verily, the term of Allah when it comes, cannot be delayed, if you but knew. He said: "O my Lord! Verily, I have called my people (qawmee) night and day (i.e. secretly and openly to accept the doctrine of Islamic Monotheism),” S. 71:1-5

There are more passages:

The people of (qawmu) Nuh (Noah) belied the Messengers. When their brother Nuh (Noah) said to them: "Will you not fear Allah and obey Him? I am a trustworthy Messenger to you. So fear Allah, keep your duty to Him, and obey me. No reward do I ask of you for it (my Message of Islamic Monotheism), my reward is only from the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists). So keep your duty to Allah, fear Him and obey me." They said: "Shall we believe in you, when the meanest (of the people) follow you?" He said: "And what knowledge have I of what they used to do? Their account is only with my Lord, if you could (but) know. And I am not going to drive away the believers. I am only a plain warner." They said: "If you cease not, O Nuh (Noah)! You will surely be among those stoned (to death)." He said: "My Lord! Verily, my people (qawmee) have belied me. Therefore judge You between me and them, and save me and those of the believers who are with me." And We saved him and those with him in the laden ship. Then We drowned the rest (disbelievers) thereafter. Verily, in this is indeed a sign, yet most of them are not believers. S. 26:105-121

The people of (qawmu) Lout (Lot) (those dwelt in the towns of Sodom in Palestine) belied the Messengers. When their brother Lout (Lot) said to them: "Will you not fear Allah and obey Him? Verily! I am a trustworthy Messenger to you. So fear Allah, keep your duty to Him, and obey me. No reward do I ask of you for it (my Message of Islamic Monotheism), my reward is only from the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists). Go you in unto the males of the 'Alamin (mankind), And leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your wives? Nay, you are a trespassing people!" They said: "If you cease not. O Lout (Lot)! Verily, you will be one of those who are driven out!" He said: "I am, indeed, of those who disapprove with severe anger and fury your (this evil) action (of sodomy). My Lord! Save me and my family from what they do." So We saved him and his family, all, Except an old woman (his wife) among those who remained behind. Then afterward We destroyed the others. And We rained on them a rain (of torment). And how evil was the rain of those who had been warned. Verily, in this is indeed a sign, yet most of them are not believers. S. 26:160-174

And that it is He (Allah) Who destroyed the former 'Ad (people), And Thamud (people). He spared none of them. And the people of (wa-qawma) Nuh (Noah) aforetime, verily, they were more unjust and more rebellious and transgressing [in disobeying Allah and His Messenger Nuh (Noah)]. And He destroyed the overthrown cities [of Sodom to which Prophet Lout (Lot) was sent]. So there covered them that which did cover (i.e. torment with stones). Then which of the Graces of your Lord (O man!) will you doubt. This (Muhammad) is a warner (Messenger) of the (series of) warners (Messengers) of old. The Day of Resurrection draws near, None besides Allah can avert it, (or advance it, or delay it). S. 53:50-58

The people of (qawmu) Nuh (Noah) denied (their Messenger) before them, they rejected Our slave, and said: "A madman!" and he was insolently rebuked and threatened. Then he invoked his Lord (saying): "I have been overcome, so help (me)!" So We opened the gates of heaven with water pouring forth. And We caused the earth to gush forth with springs. So the waters (of the heaven and the earth) met for a matter predestined. And We carried him on a (ship) made of planks and nails, Floating under Our Eyes, a reward for him who had been rejected! And indeed, We have left this as a sign, then is there any that will remember (or receive admonition)? Then how (terrible) was My Torment and My Warnings? S. 54:9-16

The people of (qawmu) Lout (Lot) belied the warnings. Verily, We sent against them a violent storm of stones (which destroyed them all), except the family of Lout (Lot), whom We saved in last hour of the night, As a Favour from Us, thus do We reward him who gives thanks (by obeying Us). And he [Lout (Lot)] indeed had warned them of Our Grasp, but they did doubt the warnings! And they indeed sought to shame his guest (by asking to commit sodomy with them). So We blinded their eyes, "Then taste you My Torment and My Warnings." And verily, an abiding torment seized them early in the morning. "Then taste you My Torment and My Warnings.” S. 54:33-39

In this last reference we see the author(s) using qawm and ummah synonymously:

The people of (qawmu) Nuh (Noah) and the confederates after them denied (their Messengers) before these, and EVERY (disbelieving) NATION (kullu ummatin) plotted against their Messenger to seize him, and disputed by means of falsehood to refute therewith the truth. So I seized them (with punishment), and how (terrible) was My punishment! Thus has the Word of your Lord been justified against those who disbelieved, that they will be the dwellers of the Fire. S. 40:5-6

And just in case Zawadi has forgotten, the Quran emphatically says that all the messengers were givers of glad tidings and warners:

And We send not the Messengers but as givers of glad tidings and as warners. So whosoever believes and does righteous good deeds, upon such shall come no fear, nor shall they grieve. S. 6:48

But it gets worse for Zawadi. The Quran actually says that the entire mankind was one ummah and that Allah then sent prophets to them to give them glad tidings and warnings:

Mankind were one COMMUNITY (Kana al-nasu UMMATAN wahidatan) and Allah sent Prophets with glad tidings and warnings, and with them He sent the Scripture in truth to judge between people (al-nasi) in matters wherein they differed. And only those to whom (the Scripture) was given differed concerning it after clear proofs had come unto them through hatred, one to another. Then Allah by His Leave guided those who believed to the truth of that wherein they differed. And Allah guides whom He wills to a Straight Path. S. 2:213

If mankind was one ummah then this surely proves that Muhammad was also sent to a particular ummah, which is precisely what the Quran says!

Thus have We sent you (O Muhammad) to a community (ummatin) before whom other communities (umamun) have passed away, in order that you might recite unto them what We have inspired to you, while they disbelieve in the Most Beneficent (Allah) Say: "He is my Lord! La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He)! In Him is my trust, and to Him will be my return with repentance." S. 13:30

Furthermore, the Quran expressly says that Muhammad was like the messengers before him who were rejected by their ummah:

Nor are (alike) the living (believers) and the dead (disbelievers). Verily, Allah makes whom He will hear, but you cannot make hear those who are in graves. You (O Muhammad) are only a warner (i.e. your duty is to convey Allah's Message to mankind but the guidance is in Allah's Hand). Verily! We have sent you with the truth, a bearer of glad tidings, and a warner. And there never was a nation (ummatin) but a warner had passed among them. And if they belie you, those before them also belied. Their Messengers came to them with clear signs, and with the Scriptures, and the book giving light. Then I took hold of those who disbelieved, and how terrible was My denial (punishment)! S. 35:22-26

This presupposes that Muhammad’s experience was similar to the messengers in that he too was rejected by his very own ummah.

The Quran further likens Muhammad to the previous messengers by saying that the people whom they were sent to are one ummah, i.e. all the people should follow their respective messengers since they are a single community or ummah and should not be divided over following the warner that has been sent to them:

'Surely this community of yours is one community (ummatukum ummatan wahidatan), and I am your Lord; so serve Me.' S. 21:92 Arberry

'O Messengers, eat of the good things and do righteousness; surely I know the things you do. Surely this community of yours is one community (ummatukum ummatan wahidatan), and I am your Lord; so fear Me.' But they split in their affair between them into sects, each party rejoicing in what is with them. So leave thou them in their perplexity for a time. S. 23:51-54 Arberry

Moreover, some of Muhammad’s followers are said to be the best ummah since they call people to righteousness:

You [true believers in Islamic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad and his Sunnah (legal ways, etc.)] are the best of peoples (ummatin) ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma'ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden), and you believe in Allah. And had the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) believed, it would have been better for them; among them are some who have faith, but most of them are Al-Fasiqun (disobedient to Allah - and rebellious against Allah's Command). S. 3:110

Ye are the best community that hath been raised up for mankind... Pickthall

Now if what Muhammad was sent to is "a qawm" (Q. 32:3, see above), and those who believed are certainly only part of those Muhammad was sent to, and those that believe are called "the best ummah" (Q. 3:110), then clearly here (this) ummah is part of the qawm which Muhammad was sent to, i.e. in this case the ummah is part of a qawm, and therefore the inclusion goes exactly the other direction to what Zawadi argues. [Again, we are not claiming that ummah is part of qawm in general. On the contrary, qawm and ummah are basically used synonymously in the Quran, but these two passages show clearly that Zawadi's alleged solution has no basis in the Quran.]

Thus, Muhammad was sent to an ummah much like the true messengers before him. And since Allah sent warners to every ummah and since each and every single messenger was sent to his own respective qawm and ummah long before Muhammad showed up this means that warners must have also been sent to Muhammad’s people before he ever came to them.

Amazingly, this is precisely what the hadith literature suggests just as the following examples prove:

Narrated 'Aisha:

(the wife of the Prophet) that Allah's Apostle said to her, "Do you know that when your people (Quraish) rebuilt the Ka'ba, they decreased it from its original foundation laid by Abraham?" I said, "O Allah's Apostle! Why don't you rebuild it on its original foundation laid by Abraham?" He replied, "Were it not for the fact that your people are close to the pre-lslamic Period of ignorance (i.e. they have recently become Muslims) I would have done so." The sub-narrator, 'Abdullah (bin 'Umar ) stated: 'Aisha 'must have heard this from Allah's Apostle for in my opinion Allah's Apostle had not placed his hand over the two corners of the Ka'ba opposite Al-Hijr only because the Ka'ba was not rebuilt on its original foundations laid by Abraham. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 26, Number 653)

Narrated 'Abdullah bin Zaid:

The Prophet said, "The Prophet Abraham made Mecca a sanctuary, and asked for Allah's blessing in it. I made Medina a sanctuary as Abraham made Mecca a sanctuary and I asked for Allah's Blessing in its measures the Mudd and the Sa as Abraham did for Mecca. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 34, Number 339)

Narrated Ibn Mirba' al-Ansari: Yazid ibn Shayban said: We were in a place of stationing at Arafat which Amr (ibn Abdullah) thought was very far away from where the imam was stationing, when Ibn Mirba' al-Ansari came to us and told (us): I am a messenger for you from the Apostle of Allah. He tells you: Station where you are performing your devotions for you are an heir to the heritage of Abraham. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 10, Number 1914)

Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah:

The Prophet sacrificed two horned rams which were white with black markings and had been castrated. When he made them face the qiblah, he said: I have turned my face towards Him. Who created the heavens and the earth, following Abraham's religion, the true in faith, and I am not one of the polytheists. My prayer, and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death are all for Allah, the Lord of the Universe, Who has no partner. That is what I was commanded to do, and I am one of the Muslims. O Allah it comes from Thee and is given to Thee from Muhammad and his people. In the name of Allah, and Allah is Most Great. He then made sacrifice. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 15, Number 2789)

In these hadiths Muhammad asserts that he and his followers are to follow the religion of their forefather Abraham who supposedly built the Kabah and instituted the rites of pilgrimage. This shows that the Meccans (allegedly) knew and believed that Abraham had traveled there and were therefore aware that Allah had (supposedly) revealed and made known the true religion to their ancestors long before Muhammad was born.

There is more. According to the follow narratives there were pictures of Mary, Abraham and Ishmael in the Kabah:

Narrated Ibn Abbas:

The Prophet entered the Ka'ba and found in it the pictures of (Prophet) Abraham and Mary. On that he said' "What is the matter with them (i.e. Quraish)? They have already heard that angels do not enter a house in which there are pictures; yet this is the picture of Abraham. And why is he depicted as practicing divination by arrows?" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 570)

Narrated Ibn Abbas:

When Allah's Apostle arrived in Mecca, he refused to enter the Ka'ba while there were idols in it. So he ordered that they be taken out. The pictures of the (Prophets) Abraham and Ishmael, holding arrows of divination in their hands, were carried out. The Prophet said, "May Allah ruin them (i.e. the infidels) for they knew very well that they (i.e. Abraham and Ishmael) never drew lots by these (divination arrows). Then the Prophet entered the Ka'ba and said. "Allahu Akbar" in all its directions and came out and not offer any prayer therein. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 584)

This shows that the Arabs of Mecca (as well as Medina) knew of and were aware of the Biblical characters such as Abraham and Ishmael. These next hadiths indicate that they also knew that they were (supposedly) descendants of Ishmael and that both he and his mother had (allegedly) settled in Mecca:

Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:

The Prophet said, "May Allah be merciful to the mother of Ishmael! If she had left the water of Zam-Zam (fountain) as it was, (without constructing a basin for keeping the water), (or said, "If she had not taken handfuls of its water"), it would have been a flowing stream. Jurhum (an Arab tribe) came and asked her, 'May we settle at your dwelling?' She said, 'Yes, but you have no right to possess the water.' They agreed." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 40, Number 556)

Narrated Salama:

Allah's Apostle passed by some people from the tribe of Aslam practicing archery. He said, "O children of Ishmael! Throw (arrows), for your father was an archer. I am on the side of Bani so-and-so," meaning one of the two teams. The other team stopped throwing, whereupon the Prophet said, "What has happened to them?" They replied, "How shall we throw while you are with Bani so-and-so?" He said, "Throw for I am with all of you." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 710)

Narrated Abu Huraira:

I have not ceased to like Banu Tamim ever since I heard of three qualities attributed to them by Allah's Apostle (He said): They, out of all my followers, will be the strongest opponent of Ad-Dajjal; 'Aisha had a slave-girl from them, and the Prophet told her to manumit her as she was from the descendants of (the Prophet) Ishmael; and, when their Zakat was brought, the Prophet said, "This is the Zakat of my people." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 652)

These reports conclusively establish the fact that Allah had already sent revelation to the Meccans and that they were aware of the true religion LONG BEFORE Muhammad was born.

Ummah = Generation?

Zawadi’s comments seem to suggest that what he is actually arguing for is that the Quran claims that Muhammad was sent to his own generation since they never had a warner sent to them. But such an explanation is nonsense since this would imply that Allah would have to constantly be sending warners to each new generation of people in order to warn them, i.e. any generation born after the previous one which had a messenger sent to them would also require a warner coming to them as well.

This would also mean that Allah was required to send prophets to each new generation of Israelites after Christ’s ascension into heaven. However, this did not happen since the Islamic sources say that there were no prophets between Jesus and Muhammad:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

I heard Allah's Apostle saying, “I am the nearest of all the people to the son of Mary, and all the prophets are paternal brothers, and there has been no prophet between me and him (i.e. Jesus).” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 651)

Allah failed to send warners to Israel after the ascent of Christ which shows that he is both cruel and unjust since he left countless number of people without a witness to the truth.

Zawadi's argument further contradicts the assertion that the messengers were sent to their own qawm:

And We have sent no Messenger save with the tongue of his people (qawmihi), that he might make all clear to them; then Allah leads astray whomsoever He will, and He guides whomsoever He will; and He is the All-mighty, the All-wise. S. 14:4

Thus, if Allah sent messengers to their own qawm and yet messengers were sent to all peoples this means that every generation of mankind had warners sent to them before Muhammad showed up!

After all, the following passages expressly say that Allah sent every nation a warner,

To every people (kulli ummatin) (was sent) a messenger: when their messenger comes (before them), the matter will be judged between them with justice, and they will not be wronged. S. 10:47

The worshippers of false gods say: "If Allah had so willed, we should not have worshipped aught but Him - neither we nor our fathers,- nor should we have prescribed prohibitions other than His." So did those who went before them. But what is the mission of messengers but to preach the Clear Message? For We assuredly sent amongst every People (kulli ummatin) a messenger, (with the Command), "Serve Allah, and eschew Evil": of the People were some whom Allah guided, and some on whom error became inevitably (established). So travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who denied (the Truth). S. 16:35-36

This indicates that according to Zawadi's reasoning Allah must have sent a warner to each respective generation of human beings that lived up to the time of Muhammad. This also suggests that Allah must have been sending warners to each successive generation of the pagan Arabs of Mecca long before Muhammad was born!

It further implies that Allah is required to send additional messengers even after Muhammad's death to all new nations and generations. In fact, if Allah is to really be fair he must also raise up warners from all the various Arabic lands in order to communicate to them in their various Arabic dialects!

But we know Allah won't do this since Muhammad is said to be the final prophet (Q. 33:40). Therefore, in making Muhammad the final messenger, Allah has yet again revealed his cruelty for his unwillingness to save these new generations (especially when we consider that anyone who does not speak Arabic is required to learn it to be able to understand Allah’s message in the Quran, thereby violating what Q. 14:4 says).

And a final observation before we conclude. With only one or two exceptions among all the verses quoted, the general rule or usage seems to be: When the statement focuses on the messenger, then qawm is used to refer to “his people”, whether it is one specific messenger that is mentioned by name (see the MANY passages quoted above), or a general statement about messengers like Q. 14:4. On the other hand, when the focus of the statement is the community, then ummah is used, particularly when it is a general statement about “every community” (kulli ummah).

But when we recognize this as a general rule, then it should be obvious that in both cases the same kind of community is in view, i.e. the words are basically synonymous, otherwise all the messengers mentioned by name are sent to their qawm, while ummah occurs only in general statements and even though it is said that to EVERY ummah a messengers was sent, we are not informed of any of the names of those messengers (apart from Muhammad). That would be rather strange. Differentiating between qawm and ummah is clearly artificial observing the way they are used in the Qur’an. In particular, nowhere in the Quran is a distinction made between qawm and ummah. It is always one word or the other that is used, and they are used for the same basic statement, that messengers are sent to a group of people (qawm) or that a group of people (ummah) received a messenger.

So, the difference in usage of the two words in the Quran is one of “perspective” (focus) not one of substance (meaning).

Therefore, the contradiction remains and Zawadi’s feeble attempt does absolutely nothing to resolve it!

Now it must surely come as a major embarrassment to Zawadi that someone whom he claims doesn’t know the language of the Quran is repeatedly correcting his blatant mistakes and gross ignorance of his own Islamic sources, as well as continuously exposing his deliberate perversion of truth.

Lord Jesus willing, there will be a lot more rebuttals to Zawadi’s desperate and weak replies in the near future.

Unless noted otherwise, all Quranic citations were taken from the Hilali-Khan version.

I want to thank Jochen Katz, Mutee'a Al-Fadi and Bassam Khoury for their review of this article and the suggestions that helped to clarify and sharpen the argument.