Saturday, August 11, 2012

plurality and singularity

وَقَوْمَ نُوحٍ لَّمَّا كَذَّبُوا الرُّسُلَ أَغْرَقْنَاهُمْ وَجَعَلْنَاهُمْ لِلنَّاسِ آيَةً وَأَعْتَدْنَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا
And the people of Nuh, when they rejected the apostles, We drowned them, and made them a sign for men, and We have prepared a painful punishment for the unjust;
Last week I got a little confused on the above ayat for Allah swt used plural instead of singular for the prophet nuh as. وَقَوْمَ نُوحٍ لَّمَّا كَذَّبُوا الرُّسُلَ
'..... The people of nuh .rejected the apostles'
Why rusul (prophets) and not rasul (prophet)?
After having some time to spare today alhamdulillah, I managed to look into some of the tafsir books such as tabary, zamakhshary and assamarqandy and some other books on this particular verse and I will like to share the beauty and latoif of this verse, particularly on why it is in plural and not singular wallahualam bissowab. I will try to summarize it into 2 main explanations as follows:
1) rejection of one of the prophets is like rejecting the whole or every prophets that were sent by Allah swt. This is because all of them were sent for the same message of tauhid and kalimah laa ila ha illallah. And every prophet testified the other prophets' testimony and trueness and message. 
2) the 2nd is close to my heart which is from assamarqandy 
.....لم يكن الا واحد وقت هذا الخطاب فيجوز ان .يذكر الجماعة و يراد به الواحد كما يذكر الواحد و يراد به الجماعة كقوله والعصر ان الانسان لفي خسر و انما أراد به الناس الا تري انه استثنى منه جماعة- السمرقندي 
That is in short, the prophets (rusul) in plural only refers to nuh as alone. And this is common as sometime plurality is used for singularity while singularity is used in another occasion for plurality. 
As in the verse al asr, ' al insan' the man is used for the meaning of men ' an-naas'...
So why the plurality. This is ilihtiram for the prophet nuh as. That is as a respect, honour, homage and esteem for this prophet who is also a ulul azmi.
prophet nuh as was the only one sent to his people for a very long time, making dakwah for a very long time, facing all the hardships every day. They stoned him, run away from him as though he was a plague or stuffed their ears with their fingers everytime he tried to invite them to Allah swt. His hardship, perserverance, patience was so great. Even his own wife and son rejected him. It is as though that he is doing work for not just 1 prophet but the work of prophets! 
Ala kulli Hal, the best understanding is when we combine both explanations as they complement each other, subhanallah.
Nb there are also other explanations but I think this 2 suffice Inshaallah 
والله أعلم

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