Addressing the Messenger is Addressing His Ummah

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem

Addressing the Messenger is Addressing His Ummah

Although the address of the Messenger of Allah (saw) is directed at him and dealing with his person, he is however addressed in his quality as Messenger and not merely on a personal capacity; hence, the address is in fact to the Messenger of the Ummah and it is also an address to the Ummah. It is deemed a general address. It is similar to addressing the President of the State, which means addressing the state as a whole. The address directed at the Emir of a Wilayah is in fact directed at the Wilayah. Hence, the status of the addressed makes the address general and not specific; contrary to an address directed at a specific person, in which case it would be specific.

This is why the address directed at the Messenger of Allah (saw) came in the plural form; Allah (swt) says: “O Prophet! When you do divorce women…” [65-1]. There is also other proof stipulating that the address directed at the Messenger of Allah (saw) is in fact directed at the Ummah; Allah (swt) says: “Then when Zaid had dissolved (his marriage) with her, with the necessary (formality), We joined her in marriage to you: in order that (in future) there may be no difficulty to the Believers in (the matter of) marriage with the wives of their adopted sons…” [33-37].

What also proves that addressing the Messenger of Allah (saw) is also addressing his Ummah, is the fact that whatever was specific to the Messenger (saw) in terms of address, Allah (swt) demonstrated it conspicuously; Allah (swt) says: “... and any believing woman who dedicates her soul to the Prophet, if the Prophet wishes to wed her; - this only for you, and not for the Believers (at large).” [33-50]. Allah (swt) also says: “And pray in the small watches of the morning: (it would be) an additional prayer (or spiritual profit) for thee: soon will thy Lord raise thee to a Station of Praise and Glory!” [17-79]. If the unrestricted addressing of the Messenger of Allah (saw) had not been an address to his Ummah, there would have been no need to outline the specification in these ayat.

Source: Islamic Personality Volume 3 (Hizb ut-Tahrir)