Misinterpretation of 21:107

And We have not sent you except as a mercy to all the worlds.
21:107

Traditional Muslim scholars interpret the words "mercy to all the worlds" in 21:107 to be addressed to prophet Muhammad. They then conclude that prophet Muhammad was given special status above all other messengers. To verify this claim, it is necessary to investigate the following five issues:

1- Does the Quran support the claim that prophet Muhammad was superior to other messengers?

2- What is the mercy mentioned in 21:107 that is sent to the people?

3- What is the significance of the words "to all the worlds" in 21:107?

4- Is prophet Muhammad the subject of 21:107?

First: Does the Quran support the claim that prophet Muhammad was superior to other messengers, or that he was favoured by God over other messengers?

The following Quranic words shed light on this matter:

1- God commands prophet Muhammad to say that he is not any different from other messengers:

Say (O Muhammad), "I am not a novelty (new/different) among the messengers." 46:9

If prophet Muhammad was superior to all other messengers, would God command him to say that he is not any different from other messengers?

2- We learn from the Quran that God favoured some messengers above others:

These messengers: We favoured some of them over others. Among them were some whom God spoke to (Moses), and He raised some of them in ranks, and We gave Jesus, son of Mary, the clear proofs and supported him with the Holy Ruh. 2:253

We have favoured some prophets over others, and We gave David the 'Zabur' (Psalms).” 17:55

Also Ishmael, Elisha, Jonah and Lot; each of whom We favoured over all the people. 6:86

A number of names are mentioned in the above verses, but the name of prophet Muhammad is not mentioned in any of these verses as one of those favoured.

Second
:
What is the mercy mentioned in 21:107 that is sent to the people?

Every prophet brings a Scripture from God. Every Scripture sent from God contains guidance and mercy to the people
.
Prophet Muhammad delivered the Quran from God, and it is the Quran which is an act of "mercy" to the people and not the person of Muhammad himself.

The same applies to all other prophets who delivered a Scripture from God. The Quran tells us that the sole duty of all messengers is to deliver God's message (5:99), and thus all mercy is embodied in the Scripture they deliver. All Scriptures sent from God contain guidance and healing for the souls as well as mercy for the people.

Numerous Quranic verses confirm that the mercy sent by God resides in the Scriptures brought down and not in the person of any messenger:

Mercy in the Torah:

1- Then We gave Moses the Book, complete and perfect for the one who does good, as well as a clarification of all things, and a guidance and mercy, so perhaps they would believe in the meeting with their Lord. 6:154

2- As for the one who is upon a clear proof from his Lord, and it is being recited by a witness from Him, and before it, the Book of Moses as a guide and a
mercy, such ones believe in it. 11:17

3- When Moses' anger subsided, he took the tablets, and in its inscription was guidance and
mercy for those who are in awe of their Lord.
7:154

Mercy in the Quran:

4- Or lest you say, "Had the Scripture been brought down to us, we would have been better guided than them." A clear proof has now come to you from your Lord, a guidance and a mercy. So who is more transgressing than one who denies God's revelations, and turns away from them? We shall repay those who turn away from Our revelations with the worst punishment for how they turned away. 6:157

We have brought them a Book that We detailed with knowledge, as a guidance and mercy for people who believe. 7:52

In their stories there are lessons for those who possess intelligence. This (Quran) is not fabricated hadith, but an authentication of what came before it, a detailed account of all things and guidance and mercy for people who believe. 12:111

That will be on the Day We raise up from every nation a witness against them from among themselves, and We brought you as a witness against these. We brought the Book down to you providing explanations for all things, guidance, mercy, and good news for the Submitters. 16:89

We bring down of the Quran that which is a healing and mercy for the believers, yet it does not increase the transgressors except in loss. 17:82

This Quran narrates to the Children of Israel most of that over which they differ. And indeed, it is guidance and mercy for the believers. 27:76-77

These are the signs of the Wise Book (Quran). A guide and a mercy for the good-doers. 31:2-3

Each one of the above verses confirms that the mercy brought down by God is contained in the Book of God and not in the person of the messenger.

Third:
What is the significance of the words "to to all the worlds" in 21:107?

The words in 21:107 state that the mercy is sent "to all the worlds". When we compare this to verses 6:154, 11:17 and 7:154 (see above) that speak of the mercy sent in the Torah, we find that the words "to all the worlds" are not used in any of those verses. The reason is that the mercy sent with every prophet is embodied in the Scripture he delivers and not in his person (6:154, 11:17, 16:89, 17:82). We also know that all Scriptures before the Quran were intended for specific people and for specific times. However, the Quran is the final Scripture to be sent by God (33:40) and thus the Quran and the mercy it contains is sent to "all the worlds", and for all time.

Fourth: Is prophet Muhammad the subject of 21:107?

The inevitable question that is to be answered following the analysis above is:
Who exactly is the subject of the words in 21:107 who is a "mercy to all the worlds"? To attain the answer, we need to read the three verses; 105, 106 and 107:

We have written in the Psalms, after the Reminder, that the earth shall be inherited by My righteous worshippers.
Indeed, there is a notification in this for a worshipping people,
and We have not sent you except as a mercy to all the worlds. 21:105-107

1- The first observation is that there is one subject common to all 3 verses, and that is God's Books.
2- The second observation is that we do not read the name of any human messenger in the three verses.

- In verse 105, God is speaking about the Zaboor (Psalms).
- Then in verse 106 God speaks about the Quran. The words "notification in this" can only mean in this Quran. Notifications are not sent "in" human messengers.
- The first word in 107 "and" indicates the continuation of the subject. There is no mention, directly or indirectly in any of the three verses of names of any human messenger. It follows that the subject in verse 107 is also the Quran and the mercy contained therein.
Because the Quran is the last Book sent to mankind (33:40), it will provide mercy for all people until the end of the world.

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To conclude, the glorious verses presented confirm the nature of the mercy which God sends to mankind as being the mercy contained in God's Books. The words in 21:107 in particular speak of the mercy that is embodied in the Holy Quran. All messengers of God come to deliver God's message. They do so successfuly and then they die. The mercy that will endure and which is granted to all people until the end of the world is the mercy contained in the Holy Quran.