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CHAPTER VII:

WITNESS, HERALD OF GLAD TIDINGS, AND A WARNER

O Prophet! we have sent thee to be a witness, and a herald of glad-tidings, and a warner;...
(Surih XXXIII, "The Confederates", v. 44) [33:44]

We send not our Sent Ones but as heralds of good news and warners...
(Surih VI, "Cattle", v. 48) [6:48]

Mankind was but one people; and God sent prophets to announce glad tidings and to warn...
(Surih II, "The Cow", v. 209)

In the verse from the Surih of the Confederates, God addresses the Prophet Muhammad. In that verse cited above from the Surih of the Cattle, the use of "We" is in reference to God, Who has sent Prophets and Apostles as "witnesses", "heralds of glad-tidings " and "warners ". Although the identification of "witness" seems to have been limited to the Prophet Muhammad and in the other verses only "herald" and "warner" are mentioned, the identification of "witness" applies to other Apostles of God. Muhammad was a witness to the Book that was the Evangel and the Torah, as the following testifies!1
And to thee we have sent down the Book of the Koran with truth, confirmatory of previous Scriptures, and their safeguard.
(Surih V, "The Table," v. 52) [5:52]



  1. See The Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 201-2, for 'Abdu'l-Baha's description of the Prophet Muhammad addressing His followers with regard to Moses and Jesus.



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And Jesus Christ was a Witness as the following verse confirms:
And in the footsteps of the prophets caused we Jesus, the son of Mary, to follow, confirming the law which was before him: and we gave him the Evangel with its guidance and light, confirmatory of the preceding Law; a guidance and warning to those who fear God.
(Surih V, "The Table", v. 50) [5:50]

The verses give credence to the essential unity of the Prophets and Their Revelations, in that each confirmed the law of the previous Manifestations.2 Thus, Moses was truly an Apostle of God, and Jesus was sent by God to bear witness to the truth of His Revelation, as well as to give the Evangel to mankind. Then the Jews and the Christians engaged in mutual defamation:
Moreover, the Jews say, "The Christians lean on nought:" "On nought lean the Jews," say the Christians: Yet both are readers of the Book. So with like words say they who have no knowledge.
(Surih II, "The Cow", v. 107)

But Muhammad came and testified to the stations of Moses and Jesus, as well as to the divine origin of the Torah and the Evangel. From this it can be readily inferred that the next Manifestation from God would bear witness to Muhammad and the Qur'an, just as He was a witness for Those Who were before Him.3


  1. See Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, pp. 78-9, concerning the unity of God's Messengers.
  2. In keeping with this, there is a tradition of the Imam Husayn, cited by Baha'u'llah in Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 42, which reads: "Will there be vouchsafed unto anyone besides Thee a Revelation which hath not been vouchsafed unto Thyself A Revelation Whose Revealer will be He Who Revealed Thee. Blind be the eye that seeth Thee not!" Baha'u'llah has described those who clung to the term "seal" of the Prophets as those who remained "deprived of the recognition of Him Who is the Revealer of both the Seal and the beginning, in the day of His presence,' in Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 170.



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Moreover, Muhammad, like the Prophets before Him, has warned that a terrible punishment will be the lot of those who refuse to accept the next Revelation, as foretold in the prophecies. All of the Prophets and Apostles of God are "heralds of glad-tidings", "announcers" and "warners", as announced and confirmed in the verses which open this chapter. It is important to reflect on the meaning behind this role of the Prophets of God, in the light of the Qur'an. In this connection, the following verses explain the meaning of "glad-tidings".
"O Zachariah! verily we announce to thee [the glad- tidings of] a son,- - his name John: That name We have given to none before him. "
(Surih XIX "Mary", vv. 7-8)

Remember when the angel said, "O Mary! Verily God announceth to thee [the glad-tidings] the Word from Him: His name shall be, Messiah Jesus the son of Mary, illustrious in this world, and in the next, and one of those who have near access to God. . . "
(Surih III, "The Family of Imran", v. 40)

John the Baptist and Jesus were Prophets of God, whose coming was heralded by God. Jesus was also an Apostle. Likewise, of all the twelve sons of Jacob, only Joseph was referred to with regard to "glad-tidings"4 in the Qur'an, because He was destined to become a Prophet.


  1. Qur'an 12:19



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That Muhammad was appointed by God as a "herald of glad tidings", "announcer" indicates that He was entrusted with a mission and would announce the advent of a future Prophet or Apostle of God. Muhammad and the Qur'an have announced the glad-tidings of the advent of the Mahdi and the return of Jesus Christ, Who are the Bab and Baha'u'llah.

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