Who Was the First Muslim?

 

By Sami Zaatari

 

 

 

This supposed contradiction is perhaps one of the most easiest supposed contradictions to respond to. The argument is based on these verses:

 

Say: Shall I choose for a protecting friend other than Allah, the Originator of the heavens and the earth, Who feedeth and is never fed? Say: I am ordered to be the first to surrender [aslama] (unto Him). And be not thou (O Muhammad) of the idolaters. S. 6:14 Pickthall

 

Say, verily my Lord hath directed me into a right way, a true religion, the sect of Abraham the orthodox; and he was no idolater. Say, verily my prayers, and my worship, and my life, and my death are dedicated unto God, the Lord of all creatures: He hath no companion. This have I been commanded: I am the first Moslem (Wa 'Ana 'Awwalu Al-Muslimin). S. 6:161-163 Sale

 

He hath no associate. This am I commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims. S. 6:163 Rodwell

Say (O Muhammad): Lo! I am commanded to worship Allah, making religion pure for Him (only). And I am commanded to be the first of those who are muslims (surrender unto Him). S. 39:11-12 Pickthall

 

 

Here we have the Quran calling the prophet Muhammad the first Muslim. The person who is arguing for a contradiction then brings up these other passages which supposedly contradict the above passages:

 

Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: "I will create a vicegerent on earth." They said: "Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?- whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?" He said: "I know what ye know not.". And behold, We said to the angels: "Bow down to Adam" and they bowed down. Not so Iblis: he refused and was haughty: He was of those who reject Faith. We said: "O Adam! dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden; and eat of the bountiful things therein as (where and when) ye will; but approach not this tree, or ye run into harm and transgression.". When learnt Adam from his Lord words of inspiration, and his Lord Turned towards him; for He is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. S. 2:30, 34-35, 37

 

We have sent thee inspiration, as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him: we sent inspiration to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the Psalms. S. 4:163

 

We gave him Isaac and Jacob: all (three) guided: and before him, We guided Noah, and among his progeny, David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses, and Aaron: thus do We reward those who do good: S. 6:84

 

And when Ibrahim and Ismail raised the foundations of the House: Our Lord! accept from us; surely Thou art the Hearing, the Knowing: Our Lord! and make us both submissive (muslimayni) to Thee and (raise) from our offspring a nation submitting (ommatan muslimatan) to Thee, and show us our ways of devotion and turn to us (mercifully), surely Thou art the Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful. Our Lord! and raise up in them an Apostle from among them who shall recite to them Thy communications and teach them the Book and the wisdom, and purify them; surely Thou art the Mighty, the Wise. And who forsakes the religion of Ibrahim but he who makes himself a fool, and most certainly We chose him in this world, and in the hereafter he is most surely among the righteous. When his Lord said to him, Be a Muslim (aslim), he said: I submit myself (aslamtu) to the Lord of the worlds. And the same did Ibrahim enjoin on his sons and (so did) Yaqoub. O my sons! surely Allah has chosen for you (this) faith, therefore die not unless you are Muslims (illa waantum muslimoona). Nay! were you witnesses when death visited Yaqoub, when he said to his sons: What will you serve after me? They said: We will serve your God and the God of your fathers, Ibrahim and Ismail and Ishaq, one God only, and to Him do we submit (wanahnu lahu muslimoona). S. 2:127-133 Shakir

 

When Jesus found Unbelief on their part He said: "Who will be My helpers to (the work of) Allah?" Said the disciples: "We are Allah's helpers: We believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims. S. 3:52

 

Ibrahim was not a Jew nor a Christian but he was (an) upright (man), a Muslim (musliman), and he was not one of the polytheists. S. 3:67 Shakir

 

So basically the claim is that how is the prophet Muhammad called the first Muslim when the Quran calls men such Abraham, Isaac, and Adam as Muslims and they lived before the prophet Muhammad.

 

The argument is very easy to respond to, when the Quran refers to the prophet Muhammad as the first Muslim, it means that he is the first Muslim among his Qurayshi pagan people, which as we all know is true. The prophet Muhammad was the first Muslim amongnst his people, and Adam was the first Muslim among mankind.

 

In fact if one reads the Quranic verses refering to the prophet Muhammad as the first Muslim one will see that the Quran is clearly refering to him as the first Muslim among his people, for instance one of the verses read:

 

Say: Shall I choose for a protecting friend other than Allah, the Originator of the heavens and the earth, Who feedeth and is never fed? Say: I am ordered to be the first to surrender [aslama] (unto Him). And be not thou (O Muhammad) of the idolaters. S. 6:14 Pickthall

 

Notice how the verse commands the prophet to be not of the idolaters, the idolaters were the people of the prophet Muhammad, the pagan Makkans around him, hence we can clearly see the passages mean that the prophet Muhammad was the first Muslim among his pagan people.

 

So there is no contradiction, the prophet Muhammad is the first Muslim among his people, Adam is the first Muslim among mankind, and on it goes, no contradiction.

 

And Allah Knows Best!

 

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