Chapter Two: The Cow (Al Baqara)
Verse 87.........Part 2
Verse 87, a continuation
And we gave Moses the Scripture and We sent messengers after him in succession. We gave Jesus, son of Mary, clear signs and strengthened him with the Holy Spirit. So how is it that, whenever a messenger brings you something you do not like, you become arrogant, calling some impostors and killing others? (Chapter 2: Verse 87)
Prophet Jesus was sent as a guidance and an example for the children of Israel. God says:
Surely he was not other than a servant, whom We favoured, and We made him an example for the Children of Israel (43:59)
Allah gave Jesus clear miracles to authenticate his prophethood, such as the ability to heal the bind, and the ability to resurrect the dead through God’s will. These miracles were of two types clarified in the following verse:
And a Messenger to the Children of Israel: ‘Assuredly, I have come to you with a clear proof from your Lord: I fashion for you out of clay something in the shape of a bird, then I breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by God’s permission. And I heal the blind from birth and the leper, and I revive the dead, by God’s permission. And I inform you of what things you eat, and what you store up in your houses. Surely in this is a clear proof for you, if you are sincere believers (03:49)
We can understand that Allah granted Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) two types of miracles. The first type were abilities given to Jesus so he is able to perform certain miracles by himself, such as knowing what people had just eaten and what they store and hide in their houses. The second type of miracles were those that were not inherent to Jesus, rather they required God’s direct permission and power every single time. Miracles like the resurrection of the dead, and breathing life into objects. These miracles could not be done without God’s will and cannot be exclusively attributed to the Prophet Jesus.
We mentioned earlier that every Prophet was supported by the Holy Spirit which is the Archangel Gabriel. But prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) had Gabriel's support and presence at all times. The word 'Holy' means absolute purity. Let's take a few moments to look into the meaning of the word 'Spirit'. A spirit is what gives us life, meaning, and purpose. The soul inside your body is referred to as a spirit, because it gives your body life and purpose. Without your soul, you would be dead. Allah also refers to the Quran as a spirit, because it gives our lives meaning, purpose and direction. Without the guiding light of the Quran, life would be useless. God says:
So We have revealed a spirit to you by Our command: you knew neither the Scripture nor the faith, but We made it a light, guiding with it whoever We will of Our servants. Truly you give guidance to the straight path (42:52)
The Quran is a spirit, and whoever ignores God's teachings leads a life without values.
The verse continues: 'So how is it that, whenever a messenger brings you something you do not like, you become arrogant, calling some impostors and killing others?' The verb 'like' is translated from the Arabic origin 'hawa' which refers to personal whims and desires and also indicates decline and loss.
The Israelites assumed themselves to be lawmakers in no need for any heavenly guidance. They often set laws according to their whims and what benefited them at that moment. Thus whenever a Messenger brought them God’s teachings, they viewed it as a great inconvenience. They often disbelieved and on many occasions killed the prophets. Prophet Muhammad warned us from acting the same way. He (peace be upon him) said: 'My example and your example is that of a person sitting around a fire. He sees insects and moths falling into the fire, and he would make every effort to save them from it. I am holding you back from fire, but you are slipping from my hands.'
Many of us frantically chase our desires and the allure of this world; and prophet Muhammad is trying to save us from ourselves and redirect us towards the hereafter. God says:
O you who believe! Respond to God and to the Messenger when the Messenger calls you to that which gives you life; and know well that surely God intervenes between a person and his heart; and that He it is to Whom you will be gathered.(8:24)
God calls those who reject His messengers 'arrogant' indicating that they falsely regard themselves high above the prophet's guidance and claim that they do not need any help. Take a moment to ask yourself: Is your status (or anyone's status) equal to God who sets life's laws? Definitely not. Then how can any of us act arrogantly towards God's teachings?
When prophets came to the Israelites carrying God's teachings, they were faced with great hostilities. God says: ' you become arrogant, calling some impostors and killing others.' The Messengers were accused of lying, not because they were untruthful, but because their message was not convenient for the Israelites at the time. Sadly, on several occasions things went further than calling them liars, and God's prophets were murdered. This shows moral bankruptcy and weakness. When you kill someone for their ideas, it means that you cannot face them intellectually, you do not have better ideas, and you cannot handle the truth, so your only option is to kill them and try to silence their ideas for good.