The chapter The Heights (#7)/al-A’raf, was revealed in the Late Meccan Period, during the very last days of the Prophet’s stay in Makkah. This passage, amongst many things, addresses new concerns like interfaith relations.
The Makkan leaders questioned the Jews pertaining to Muhammad and what their religion might have to say about him
Thus, this chapter addresses all social participants: Muslims, Jews and Pagans.
كِتابٌ أُنزِلَ إِلَيكَ فَلا يَكُن في صَدرِكَ حَرَجٌ مِنهُ لِتُنذِرَ بِهِ وَذِكرىٰ لِلمُؤمِنينَ
“This is a book that’s being revealed to you from God, so don’t let your heart be troubled any more over how people may respond to it, for with this Book you can give warnings and reminders to the believers.” — Qur’an 7: 2
The Need To Understood vs. The Want To Be Loved and Accepted
Like our time, the Muslims were not always well understood in the broader social context and the powers-that-be went to sources other than the Muslims to find out who they were.
عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم
يَأْتِي عَلَى النَّاسِ زَمَانٌ الصَّابِرُ فِيهِمْ عَلَى دِينِهِ كَالْقَابِضِ عَلَى الْجَمْرِ
Anas bin Malik related that the Prophet ﷺ said, “A time will come upon mankind where the perseverant amongst them regarding his or her religion will be like one who grasps a burning coal.” – al-Tirmidhi, #2260
In addition to illustrating the pressure the Prophet felt to be understood or even accepted, Allah reminds the Prophet of his mission: “[to] give good news and warnings”. Not to be accepted because acceptance would undoubtedly involve having to accept the Quraysh’s idolatry and morality. Neither of these is acceptable to God.
Push Yourself – Don’t Settle For Yesterday
وَالَّذينَ آمَنوا وَعَمِلُوا الصّالِحاتِ لا نُكَلِّفُ نَفسًا إِلّا وُسعَها أُولٰئِكَ أَصحابُ الجَنَّةِ ۖ هُم فيها خالِدونَ
“Those who believe and do what’s morally right – We don’t place upon any soul a burden greater than it can bear! – they’ll be the companions of the Garden, and in it they shall remain!” — Qur’an, 7: 42
So Who Are The Muslims? – We prioritize God
Nowadays we (the Muslims) want to be known as social justice warriors, helpers of the needy, etc., but we never give the why. Why do we care about others? Because of this Mighty Book:
القرآنُ شافعٌ مشفَّعٌ وماحلٌ مُصدَّقٌ من جعله أمامَه قادَه إلى الجنَّةِ ومن جعله خلفَ ظهرِه ساقَه إلى النَّارِ
Jābir relates that the Prophet said, “The Qur’an is an intercessor whose intercession is accepted whose testimony is trustworthy. Whoever places the Qur’an before him, it will lead him to Paradise. Whoever puts it behind his back, it will lead him to the Fire.” — al-Mundhi, al-Targhib wa al-Tarhib