Dr Jonathan Brown – Islam and the Problem of Slavery


Categories: Islam

5 replies

  1. Need some help here.

    Does anyone know which city surah 36:13-14 is mentioning?

    Apparently some people are saying that the third prophet mentioned in the verse is paul of tarsus, and that he is a prophet of God according to the Quran.


    And present to them an example: the people of the city, when the messengers came to it –
    When We sent to them two but they denied them, so We strengthened them with a third, and they said, “Indeed, we are messengers to you.” [Surah 36:13-14]


    • It seems like the city is Antioch (according to the tafsirs) and that the two messengers were sent by Jesus.


    • When we sent unto them twain, & they denied them both, So we reinforced them with a third & they
      said: Lo! we have sent unto you (Yaseen 14)

      When We (first) sent to them two messengers, they rejected them: But We strengthened them with a third: they said, “Truly, we have been sent on a mission to you.”

      Does Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir of the Quran say that this verse refers to Paul of Tarsus & Thus Paul (Bulus) is one of the Messengers of God According to Islam?

      According to Ibn Kathir:

      “The names of the 1st two Messengers were Shamoun & Yohanna, And the name of the 3rd was Bolas, & the city was Antioch (Antakiyah).”

      But the Question is ..Is this Ibn Kathir’s view? No, This saying attributed to: Shoaayb AlJabay..Ibn Kathir IS Quoting Shoaayb AlJabay.
      Ibn Kathir has also quoted interpretations of different peole as well. He says that according to Ibn Isshaq the names of these three are:

      (1) Sadiq (2) Sadoq (3) Shalom [ NO BOLAS (i.e.Paul) Mentioned here ]

      Later on Ibn Kathir in his tafsir refutes this & that according to the proceeding Quranic verses the people were destroyed.
      Historically there is no evidence that the city of Antioch faced such destruction & thus this can not even be about the city of Antioch.

      Also According to Tafsir of Ibn Abbas the names of these three are:

      (1) Simon the Canaanite (2) Thomas (3) Simon Peter [ NO BOLAS (i.e.Paul) Mentioned here ] ..Tafsir Al Jalalayn Does not mention any Paul either.

      There is a difference of opinion among the scholars of tafsir which is evidence that neither the Quran mentions the name of Paul as one of the messengers nor did
      Prophet Muhammad (saw) ever mention his name with regards to this verse.

      ## Does this verse Really Talk About Messengers (Rasool)?

      The Arabic text of the Quran clearly shows the word used for these three to be: “Mursaloon” Which is the plural of “Mursal”..& It Means “SENT ONE”

      On the other hand Rasul (Plura of rusul) in Islam has a specific defination. Generally the word means:

      ambassador, messenger, envoy, emissary, forerunner, apostle & courier.

      This word, in the Quran can or can not refer to a prophet of Allah. For EX: In the Quran we see the following verses:

      1) But indeed, I will send to them a gift and see with what [reply] the messengers will return.”(27:35)
      The same word “Mursaloon” has been used..So does this mean that the meat Bilqis sent were RUSUL/ROPHETS??!!

      2) And when the messengers came to the family of Lot (15:61)..Again the same word “Mursaloon” is used..So Now Does this mean tha the Angels which
      Came to Lut were RUSUL/ROPHETS??!!

      Ofcourse the answer is No. None of them was a rasul but they were only sent ones,ambassadors. This word simply means a messenger
      & Not Necessarily RasulAllah (Prophet of God).

      ## The word used here is “RASOOL” & not the general term “MURSALOON”. A general term for messenger was used for the 3 people in verse 36:14
      But for Prophet Muhammad (saw) the special word “RASOOL” has been used in Quran (3:144)..In this verse talks about previous RUSUL Of Allah
      & In the Arabic Text for them again the word “RASOOL” is used not the common word “MURSALOON”.

      Hence clearly the 3 that the Quran is talking about In Surah Yasin (36:14) were not “RASOOL” but messengers/ambassadors sent by Jesus
      on the directive of Allah..FOR EX:
      If Allah informs Prophet Muhammad (saw) to send Omar(ra)[companion of prophet] to persia for Dawah does that not mean Omar is a messenger (mursaloon)?
      Ofcoure he is a messenger But it can never mean he is a rasool (prophet)..Similarly these 3 were not rusul (prophets) but were only messengers
      Sent by Jesus pbuh on the directives of Allah.

      They said: “Our Lord knows that we have been sent on a mission to you(Quran 36:16)..This is a significant verse….
      These 3 supposed “RASOOL” of God go to a city & there they don’t say our lord sent us on a mission But Rather say
      “Our Lord Knows that we have been sent”.

      Clearly when a Rasool (Prophet) of Allah (i.e. Jesus in this case) sends a Messenger (i.e. Shamoun,Yuhanna or any other names mentioned by Scholars in this case)
      To another city, God knows that they have been sent. It does not mean God actually choose them to be Rasool & sent them.

      There is a clear Hadith from Prophet Muhammad (saw)..He said:
      “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).” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)


      1) The verse 36:14 does not talk abpout a rasul but only about mursaloon.

      2) Whether the verse in question refers to Paul or not is a matter of interpretation & most scholars don’t evenmention Paul’s name in their Tafsir of this verse.

      3) Ibn Kathir himsef refutes the claim of the city being Antioch.

      4) According to sahih Hadith it is clear that between Jesus pbuh & prophet Muhammad pbuh there has been no Prophet.Hence Paul could never been a Prophet.

      5) And Even if, for argument’s sake, we would say that acccording to Ibn Kathir Paul is a Rasool of God (Though its not the case) No Tafsir can supersede the authentic Hadith.
      This would be Ibn Kathir’s interpretation & Ibn Kathir was a man & not a rasool of God.
      Hence his word can never be taken over the word of the Prophet Muhammad saw.

      Liked by 3 people

    • JazakAllahu khair brother.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Imam Ibn kathir didn’t adopt that saying. He refuted it in his bok The Albedayh walnehayah.
      Also, Shykh Al-Islam Ibn Tyemyyah refuted that saying in his magnificent book
      al-Jawāb al-Ṣaḥīḥ li-man baddala dīn al-Masīh (The correct reply to those who altered Christ’s religion)

      Brother Paul, why do I still face problems with comments although I’ve registered ? What’s wrong?


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