Reflection No. 192 on Q 9:128 – Holy Prophet’s Love for his Ummah
لَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مِنْ أَنْفُسِكُمْ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَنِتُّمْ حَرِيصٌ عَلَيْكُمْ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَءُوفٌ رَحِيمٌ
Laqad jā-akum rasūlun min anfusikum ‘azīzun ‘alayhi mā ‘anittum HarīSūn ‘alaykum bil-mu’minīna ra’ūfun raHīm
Certainly a Messenger has come to you from among yourselves; grievous to him is your distress, he has deep concern for you; to the believers (he is) compassionate, merciful.
(Suratut Tawbah, No.9, Āyat 128)
According to some Quranic exegetes this was the last verse revealed to the Holy Prophet (s). It is a reassurance for the people, telling them how the Prophet (s) cares for them and earnestly seeks their guidance and success. All the apparent hardness and discipline, found in Sūratut Tawbah and elsewhere in the Quran, is due to the love he has for his Ummah. The verse that follows this verse, the last verse of Sura Tawbah reassures the Prophet (s) himself, telling him: But if they turn back, say: Allah is sufficient for me, there is no god but He; on Him do I rely, and He is the Lord of mighty power. (Q 9:129)
The Holy Prophet (s) is described in the following ways in this verse;
1) From among yourselves. He is not just minkum (from you) but min anfusikum (from among your own selves). He is one of you, from the very society and group that you belong to. Thus he knows and understands your hopes and desires and your pain and grief. He is connected to you and wishes only well for you.
2) Grievous to him is your distress. He is not indifferent to that which is harmful to you, and it hurts him greatly. He does not like to see you under the burden of sin and misfortune, being victims of those who plot for your downfall. His teachings and rules are to save you from the distress he cannot bear for you.
3) Deep concern for you. The Prophet (s) is greatly concerned for the progress and guidance of the people. He wishes to see them succeed and wants their happiness both in this world and the Hereafter. The word Harīs is used to show excessive attachment to something, and often indicates a sort of greed. The word is used here to signify the extent of the love of the Prophet (s) for his people.
4) Compassionate. He is loving and affectionate, especially to the obedient believers. The last two qualities of this verse are qualities of Allah, and are represented in the person of the Holy Prophet (s) and his relationship with the people. In Q 2:143 Allah says: Indeed Allah is most kind and merciful to mankind. Also see verses Q 9:117, 16:7, 47; 22:65, etc.
5) Merciful. He also cares for the sinners from among the believers and is merciful and kind towards them.
Such was the Holy Prophet (s) love for his people. Blessed are those who have the good fortune of being from among his people. His death was a huge loss for the Ummah. It is no wonder that we say in his Ziyārat recited on Saturdays: What a great tragedy it was for us when the revelation was cut off, and when we lost you. Surely we belong to Allah and to Him is our return. Amīrul Mu’minīn Ali b. Abī Tālib (a) grieved the Holy Prophet (s) when conducting the funeral rites in the words: If you had not ordered endurance and prevented us from bewailing, we would have produced a store of tears and even then the pain would not have subsided, and this grief would not have ended (Nahjul Balāgha, Sermon 235).
Amīrul Mu’minīn, Nahjul Balāgha;
Āyatuallāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (Ed.); Tafsīre Namūne;
Daily Duas, Tayyiba Publishers, Richmond Hill, Canada.