80. And his people argued with him. He said, “Do you argue with me about God, when He has guided me? I do not fear what you associate with Him, unless my Lord wills it. My Lord comprehends all things in knowledge. Will you not reconsider?
81. And why should I fear those you associate with Him, and you do not fear associating others with God for which He sent down to you no authority? Which side is more entitled to security, if you are aware?”
82. Those who believe, and do not obscure their faith with wrongdoing-those will have security, and they are guided.
83. That was Our argument which We gave to Abraham against his people. We elevate by degrees whomever We will. Your Lord is Wise and Informed.
84. And We gave him Isaac and Jacob-each of them We guided. And We guided Noah previously; and from his descendants David, and Solomon, and Job, and Joseph, and Moses, and Aaron. Thus We reward the righteous.
85. And Zechariah, and John, and Jesus, and Elias-every one of them was of the upright.
86. And Ishmael, and Elijah, and Jonah, and Lot-We favored each one of them over all other people.
87. And of their ancestors, and their descendants, and their siblings-We chose them, and guided them to a straight path.
88. Such is God’s guidance. He guides with it whomever He wills of His servants. Had they associated, their deeds would have gone in vain.
89. Those are they to whom We gave the Book, and wisdom, and prophethood. If these reject them, We have entrusted them to others who do not reject them.
90. Those are they whom God has guided, so follow their guidance. Say, “I ask of you no compensation for it; it is just a reminder for all mankind.”
Gabriel is showing Muhammad how Abraham questioned his fellow people about the nature of the gods they worshiped. He told them that there is no need to fear these false gods, but it is right to revere the Creator who created everything that they can see. Abraham had that sixth sense. He sensed a world and a spiritual truth that could not be seen by many, and so he became one of the chosen to help lead his people.
There is an idea that wrong doing was being done in the names of these pagan gods (blood sacrifice, sexual immorality, incest, strange rituals not ordained by God, etc.), and so those who do righteous deeds and do not partake in these immoral acts of ancient pagan times are part of the righteous who are reflected upon as having true faith.
God elevated Abraham to a place in his society where he could speak and be heard by others. He became a type of leader and consultant to many, and this is an example of what God does for those who are in direct service. They may be raised to a status of “prophethood” where they can be recognized and put in a place of high visibility in society, so they can be teachers and show others.
Gabriel lists the names of many of the other messengers who have been chosen to help spread the message of Islam, and of true worship to the One God of the Universe. They did not associate any deities with God. A muslim is taught to not discern between any of them. No matter the skin color, nation, or time-these messengers all have been guided by the same source that wishes to help guide mankind.
These men were given the Book, wisdom, and prophethood to help spread the messages. If they decided to reject them, then these messages were passed down divinely to another more willing to accept the duty of being a messenger.
The Book to me means the conglomerate of all the religious texts put together in their truest form. The Book with a capital “B”, is the Gospel, Torah, and now the Quran. The wisdom is the higher knowledge instilled in them at birth, or acquired through their life experiences leading them to God. Prophethood was a status in society and a gift to see the coming future to help warn others. People could sense something special in these people and so their wisdom and knowledge shared was followed easily by those open to receiving them. All these men were passed down the same messages to help mankind.
Muhammad is told to not ask for any money from the people and to tell them he is just a messenger giving free knowledge so that others may know the truth of God.
This is how you can discern authentic spirituality in a person today. A person who charges others for their spiritual gifts, or is a priest, imam, or rabbi asking for money, may need to be questioned if they truly are in service to help humanity-or to only help themselves. Of course donations to go to charities are needed to be collected in these organizations and if a spiritual advisor is collecting money for these purposes, then this is something they need to be honest with themselves about since God is always observant.