Another point that has to be inferred from the Qur’anic text during its analytical study is to determine the identity of those who are addressed by it. There are certain expressions like “guidance for the God fearing,” “guidance and good tiding for the believers,” “to admonish and caution him who is alive,” which often recur in the Qur’an. Here the question may arise:
Of what need is guidance for those who are already guided, the pious and the righteous? Moreover, we see that the Qur’an describes itself in these words:
﴾It is but a reminder unto all beings, and you shall surely know its tiding, after a while. (38:87-88)﴿
Then, is this book meant for all the people of the world, or is it for the believers alone? In another verse addressing the Prophet, God the Most Exalted, says:
﴾We have not sent thee, save as a mercy unto all beings. (21:107)﴿
A more detailed explanation of this matter would be undertaken during the course of later discussion regarding the historical aspect of the Qur’an. Here it is just sufficient to mention that the Qur’an is addressed to all the people of the world. It does not single out any particular nation or group. Everyone who accepts the invitation of the Qur’an is assured of spiritual salvation. However, the verses which mention the Qur’an as the book of guidance for the believers and the God-fearing (mu’minun and muttaqun), clearly specify the kind of people who will be attracted towards it and others who will turn away from it.
The Qur’an never names any particular nation or tribe as being its devotees. It does not take sides with a specially chosen people. Unlike other religions, the Qur’an never associates itself with the interests of any specific class. It does not say, for example, that it has come to safeguard the interests of the workers or the peasants. The Qur’an repeatedly emphasizes the point that its purpose is to establish justice. Speaking about the prophets, it says:
﴾And We sent down with them the Book and the Balance so that men might uphold justice … (57:25)﴿
The Qur’an advocates justice for all mankind, not merely for this or that class, tribe or nation. It does not, for example, like Nazism and other such cults, stir up the passions of prejudice to attract people. Similarly, it does not, like certain schools of thought like Marxism, base its appeal upon the human weakness of interest-seeking and enslavement to material motivations to incite people; because the Qur’an believes in the essential primariness of the rational consciousness of man and his intrinsic conscience.
It believes that it is on the basis of its moral potentialities and its truth-conscious human nature that mankind is placed firmly on the path of progress and evolution. This is the reason why its message is not limited to the working or farming class or exclusively to the oppressed and deprived.
The Qur’an addresses both the oppressors as well as the oppressed, and calls them to follow the right path. Prophet Moses (a.s.) delivers the message of God to both Bani Israel and Pharaoh, and asks them to believe in the Lord and to move in His path.
Prophet Mohammad (pbuh&hh) extends his invitation both to the chieftains of Quraysh and to ordinary persons like Abu Dharr and ‘Ammar. The Qur’an cites numerous examples of an individual’s revolt against his own self and his voluntary return from the path of deviation to the straight one.
But, at the same time, the Qur’an is aware of the point that the restoration and repentance of those immersed in a life of luxury and opulence is comparatively more difficult than that of those familiar with the hardships of life: the oppressed and the deprived, who are, as a matter of fact, naturally more inclined towards justice; whereas the rich and wealthy, at the very first step, have to forgo their personal and class interests and abandon their wishes and aspirations.
The Qur’an declares that its followers are those who have a clear and pure conscience. They are drawn to it solely by the love of justice and truth, which is ingrained in the nature of all human beings —not under the urge for material interests and worldly desires and allurements.
* Book: Understanding the Uniqueness of the Quran. By Murtada Mutahhari