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Offline Adil Husain

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http://corpus.quran.com/wordbyword.jsp?chapter=3&verse=110

According to chapter 3 verse 110 , are we the best Ummah ?
Better than Ummah of  prophets other than prophet muhammad ?

I had a discussion with my friends , they are orthodox muslims and came with this Ayah to prove that we the Ummah of prophet muhammad are superior than other Ummah which came before prophet muhammad.

Thanks for the reply.
'I must strive for reformation of myself and the world'

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: 3:110 You were the best nation that emerged for the people,......
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2013, 03:45:07 AM »
Dear brother Adil,

May peace be with you.

In my humble opinion, there is no cogent warrant to understand 'ummatin' in the context of verse 3:110 as a reference which also includes future generations of Muslims including those today.

In my view, this is a specific reference to some of those during the Prophet’s ministry who were sincere believers of the message and who called for good. The latter is also supported by the context of previous verses such as verse 3:104, which speaks to those contemporaneous to the Prophet's ministry in the first instance. 

003.104
"And Let there be among you a people (ummatun) inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong. These are the successful ones."

Today, Muslims are a diverse people of numerous communities with arguably good and bad in all of them. The Arabic word 'Ummah' simply means a nation, a people, a race, a distinct body of people, family or a particular community which at times have certain characteristics which are common to them. It is normally the context in which the term is used which best intimates who it intends to capture.

I hope that helps, God willing.
Joseph.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Adil Husain

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Re: 3:110 You were the best nation that emerged for the people,......
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2013, 10:51:52 PM »
Salamunalaikum ,
 Thank you Joseph Islam sir for replying and your reply helped me to understand it more deeply.


I asked the same Question to my friend on facebook and i would like to mention her reply here.


''I would refer back to 3:100 until we reach 3:110. We must hold firmly to Allah (3:101), have a proper fear of Allah (3:102), hold firmly to the rope of Allah (The Book) and do not become divided (3:103), there should be a nation/community from us inviting to that which is good and making plain what is wrong (3:104), Again DO NOT become divided (3:105), reminding of The Day (3:106-107), reminding this is the truth (3:108), reminding the Sovereignity if Allah (3:109) and now with all this you are and have the knowledge of, you Indeed are the best people to enjoin what is right and make clear what is wrong (3:110 my interpr).''
'I must strive for reformation of myself and the world'

Offline HOPE

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Re: 3:110 You were the best nation that emerged for the people,......
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2013, 06:21:29 AM »
Peace to you all,

In 3:104, it is addressed to the Muslims of the Prophet's time to form a community among themselves to do missionary work to get an understanding of the religion as mentioned in 9:122

In 3:110. it seems to me it is addressing the Muslims including us, too.  A big responsibility on our shoulders as torchbearers because we are the best raised community in guiding the mankind to the real Malik as long as we do not lose our characteristics like the previous people of the Scriptures.
"Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark"

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: 3:110 You were the best nation that emerged for the people,......
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2013, 03:42:21 PM »
Dear Hope,

May peace be with you.

If I respectfully may, I have some academic questions for you so that I may evaluate our different positions with a view to source the best possible evidence from the Quran (17:36).

Please can you kindly share with me what evidence you have for:

(A) Your position which assumes a change of context where the addressees in verse 3:110 now includes all future generations (including us) given that:

(i)   You and I both agree that 3:104 was a specific address to Prophet Muhammad's contemporaries.
(ii)   In light of verse 22:78, the first responsibility lay with those that heard the message first directly from the Prophet to then pass it on to mankind. "...liyakuna-rasulu shahidan alaykum watakunu shuhadaa ala'nasi..." (that the messenger may be a witness against you, and that you may be witnesses against mankind)

(B) How do you reconcile the term 'ummah' which as humbly posited in my post refers in the main to a people or community which share certain characteristics and not necessarily to a collective of communities?

For example, today Muslims exist from diverse communities (ummam), European Muslims, American Muslims, Middle Eastern Muslims, African Muslims, Turkish Muslims, Indonesian Muslims, Indo-Pak Muslims etc. These are a collection of communities, not a community per se which would be the primary connotation of the term 'ummah'. With respect, I am not convinced that the Quran is referring to all these communities as being raised as the best of mankind.

I am aware that a collective of communities under one religious canopy can be referred to as 'one ummah' metaphorically but my appeal is to the best use of the term in the context of the Quranic verse as a primary connotation.

Any Quranic evidence (not philosophical inferences) would be most helpful for me to assess your opinion better.

Your brother in faith,

Regards,
Joseph.  :)
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline HOPE

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Re: 3:110 You were the best nation that emerged for the people,......
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2013, 05:07:29 PM »
Dear Joseph,

Quote
Any Quranic evidence (not philosophical inferences) would be most helpful for me to assess your opinion better.

The verse says, "You are the best group that has been brought forth for mankind ....Had the People of the Book believed, it would have surely been better for them; of them (only some) are believers and most of them are perverse." 

I understand the verse as saying the ummah of Muhammad would be the best as long as they firmly keep the faith.  It does not mean they still are as a monolithic community.  Just like God's purpose in assigning the duty of 'khalifa' to mankind, the ummah of the Quran is expected to keep the iman firm; if they dilute it, which they did in my opinion, they lost their excellence as well; now only some are believers and most of them not.

"Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark"

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: 3:110 You were the best nation that emerged for the people,......
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2013, 05:20:45 PM »
Dear Hope,

Peace.

You kindly share:

I understand the verse as saying the ummah of Muhammad would be the best as long as they firmly keep the faith. 

This is why I respectfully asked, whether you have any Quranic evidence in the context of verse 3:104, backdrop of 22:78 and the definition of the Arabic term 'ummah', that the addressee intended of verse 3:110 has changed from specific to cumulative.

Any Quranic evidence to address (A) and (B) from my post would be much appreciated.

Regards,
Joseph.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline HOPE

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Re: 3:110 You were the best nation that emerged for the people,......
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2013, 06:07:13 PM »

Peace brother,

I do not know the primary definition of the term 'ummah' . In the collective sense it means the Muslim community throughout the world. 3:110 is in that sense, isn't it?  Birds and bees are ummah like us meaning maybe they have specific duties  like our dawa. 

Please do enlighten me.

"Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark"

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: 3:110 You were the best nation that emerged for the people,......
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2013, 07:43:07 PM »
Peace Hope,

I think 3:110's interpretation of 'ummah' is best understood in light of its own immediate context first and the previous verse where the context is given in verse 3:104 where you (in my humble opinion) correctly pointed out was specific in nature. (i.e. was primarily aimed at those contemporaneous to the Prophet's ministry).

I respectfully do not find any evidence to suggest that the context in 3:110 has changed (hence why I asked for evidence) especially as it would not make any sense to use it in a collective sense to apply it to the diversity of Muslims today. I would find it difficult to accept the notion that they are all raised as the best of people.

The context of animals and birds (6:38) in the framework of ummah falls in the remit of the definition respectfully shared earlier in that they exist with certain characteristics common to their species and in some ways analogous to our own communities.

In my opinion, this would not have bearing on the interpretation of verse 3:110 which should be first considered in its own context where I have respectfully asserted, is specific in nature. (i.e. does not apply to collective communities such as Muslims today).

In the end, God knows best.

Regards,
Joseph.  :)
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline HOPE

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Re: 3:110 You were the best nation that emerged for the people,......
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2013, 08:23:10 PM »
Peace Joseph,

Need further help.  Who is [you] in 23:78? Jews, Christians, Muslims?  Their nabis a witness for their respective communities  and Muhammad over his people and by extension us as the middle people 2:143?

49:10  In spite of differences in language, country, color or culture, all mumin are brothers; there is no need to fight on material, political, religious grounds.  There should be a universal mumin ummah embracing all.  As John Lennon says, Imagine all the people living life in peace

and I am not the only dreamer
"Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark"

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: 3:110 You were the best nation that emerged for the people,......
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2013, 09:00:09 PM »
Dear sister,

With respect, I do not see the relevance of your question with regards what I have humbly asked of you.  However to answer your first question, in the first instance, it is being narrated to the immediate addressees of the Quran.

I see no proof from the Quran that Muslims of today are from the 'community' of Prophet Muhammad. Prophet Muhammad spoke in a certain language, had certain societal characteristics and was a product of his own times and people. Muslims today have different cultures, languages, colour, are of different races and time. 

In my view, verse 2:143 actually proves that the ummat referred to is the Prophet’s immediate contemporaries who had the task of witnessing the message to other nations. This is in tandem with verse 22:78 which I have shared with you in my previous post.

Please note that I accept that when a context implies commonality of broader aspects of 'religion', then the term 'ummat' can be considered 'encompassing'. Please see verse 21:92. However, my question refers specifically to verse 3:110 and hence why I have respectfully asked for proof for the change in context from verse 3:104 which I find you are asserting. Please can you share such evidence to assist this discussion if at all possible.

With peace and respect,
Joseph.  :)
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline HOPE

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Re: 3:110 You were the best nation that emerged for the people,......
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2013, 09:48:30 PM »
Peace Joseph,

OK I give up, because I really do not understand what you are asking from me.  Are you saying both 3:104 and 110 refer to the Muhammad's ummah?  but in 104, another specific ummah needs to be formed from the general ummah- since it says let there be among you ummatun?  Or there was no general ummah to begin with, only the [let there be] became his ummah and continued until his demise?




"Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark"

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: 3:110 You were the best nation that emerged for the people,......
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2013, 10:08:04 PM »
Dear Hope,

The 'ummatan' in verse 3:104 refers to a band of people that in the main spend their endeavours specifically inviting others to the way of their Lord (da'wah). However, the main community addressed are still the Prophet's contemporaries, not 'another' community. (i.e. a band of people within a community of the Prophet's contemporaries).

I find the reference to 3:104 and 3:110 referring to the Prophet's community in the main. I simply asked you why you felt that the context of 3:110 had changed for which I respectfully asked for evidence.

However, let us end this thread with peace.  :)

Thanks for your input.

Peace and regards,
Joseph.






UPDATE BY QM FORUM MODERATOR

22nd March 2013

This thread is now closed and a direct link to this post is now available at the dedicated Q&A page.

http://quransmessage.com/articles/q&as%20FM3.htm

Thanks.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell