Interpretation of Sura Maryam (Mary) - Verses 52-53
52. " And We called him from the right side of (the Mount) Sinai and made him draw nigh (unto Us) for a converse in secret."
53. " And We granted unto him, out of Our Mercy, his brother Aaron a prophet."
There is a mountain by the name of 'Tur' in Syria. Some ones have said it is located between Egypt and Madyan. 51 Allah called Moses from the right side of the mountain. That is, when he was coming from Madyan and saw a fire in the tree, Allah called him and said: "…O Moses! Verily I am Allah, the Lord of the worlds." 52 Then Allah made him nigh to Himself and spoke with him.
Ibn-i-'Abbas says: "Allah made him a near-stationed one and spoke with him." The purpose of this 'nearness' is that He caused His word to reach him. In other words, Allah promoted his rank and gave him glory. It is like a servant who approaches his master and sits with him. Thus, the objective meaning of nearness, here, is respect and glorification, not in the sense that he has become nigh to Allah from the point of distance and place, because Allah has no place so that a person approaches that place or gets distance from it, or another person becomes nearer to that place. The verse says:
" And We called him from the right side of (the Mount) Sinai and made him draw nigh (unto Us) for a converse in secret."
However, Moses (a.s.) prayed to Allah, saying: "And give me an aider from my family." 53Then Allah accepted his prayer and bestowed on him gracefully his brother Aaron and gave him the rank of prophethood to be an aid for his brother. The verse says:
" And We granted unto him, out of Our Mercy, his brother Aaron a prophet."
1. The debate and communication of Moses with Allah has been referred to in the Qur'an both by the sense of 'speaking', where it says: "…and Allah spoke directly unto Moses a (peculiar) speech.", 54 and by the sense of 'calling', used in the abovementioned verse: "And We called him…", and by the sense of 'a secret converse'
2. Step by step, Allah makes prophets nigh to Himself by His Grace and affection.
3. Allah has whispered some matters secretly with the prophets. Therefore, the rank of nearness of 'a secret converse' is the highest rank. That is why Amir-ul-Mu'mineen Ali (a.s.) says: "When the people of Heaven are enjoying the (bounties of) the Heaven, the people of Allah are busy with Allah (and are prattling to Him)." (Atyab-ul-Bayan, the commentary)
4. The Arabic word /najiyy/ is used in the sense of its subjective case which means 'the person who whispers secretly with another one'. Here, at first Allah called Moses from a long distance, and when he came near, He began whispering with him. (It is evident that Allah has neither, tongue nor a place, but He creates waves in the atmosphere and speaks with a mortal such as Moses). However, the call of Allah was an endowment unto Moses (a.s.), and His speaking with him was another bounty, which was counted the greatest honour for Moses and the sweetest moment in his life.
5. The Difference between a Messenger and a Prophet:
A 'Messenger' originally means a person on whom has been given a mission and a message to convey; while a 'prophet' is a person who is aware of Divine revelation and informs of it.
But, in view of the Qur'anic meanings, and according to what the Islamic traditions indicate, some commentators believe that 'a Messenger' is the person who has been given a religion and is commissioned to convey it; i.e., he receives the revelation of Allah and conveys it to people; while a prophet receives the divine revelation but his duty is not to convey it. That revelation is only for performing his own duty, or if he is asked of it, he answers it.
In other words a prophet is like a skilful physician who is waiting in his office for the patients to receive them. He does not go after the patients, but if a patient refers to him, he does treat him.
But, a Messenger is like an itinerant physician who travels here and there. Amir-ul-Mu'mineen Ali (a.s.) said about the Prophet of Islam (p.b.u.h.) that he was a roaming physician. 55
That is, he used to go to every place (to cities, villages, mountains, plains, and deserts) in order to find the sick and treat them. The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) was as a spring who sought for the thirsty ones.
At the end, for more research, please refer to Usul-i-Kafi, by the Late Kulayni, (section: the difference between the prophets and Messengers).
51. Kashef-ul-'Asrar, the commentary.
52. Sura Al-Qasas, No. 28, verse 30
53. Sura Taha, No.20, verse 29
54. Sura An-Nis?', No. 4, verse 164
55. Nahjul-Balaqah, sermon 108
Adopted from the book : "The Light of the Holy Qur'an; Interpretation of Surah Maryam" by : "Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani and a Group of Muslim Scholars"
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