When I read Rebecca's question Are Muslims encouraged to read the Bible and/or the Torah? Why or why not?, it remind me An-Nahl verse 43. As it states:

And We sent not before you except men to whom We revealed [Our message]. So ask the people of the message if you do not know. Quran 16:43

Who are these "people of message"? Are they same as people of book?

If these people same as "people of book", my interpretation as "getting knowledge from these people is allowed" is wrong?

I read these questions and related answers also and it gives me more confusion because every reader got different understanding from this verse:

  • If I got you right you want a tafsir of verse 16:43 which reflects the "most" meaning or interpretation of "ahl a-dhikr/people of knowled/message"?
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 7:23
  • @Medi1Saif Yes, I see lots of different approach/explanation but these give me confusion..
    – nim
    Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 7:58
  • Maybe an interpretation could be based on a historical back ground: As long as Quran was not fully revealed beside the Prophet himself ahl-al-kitab were possible people of knowledge, once it was fully revealed in first place people of knowledge were those who gain knowledge via Quran. But I also read that our Prophet encouraged his companions to ask ahl-al-kitab... but all of this is my reflection!
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 8:02
  • The translation more should be 'people of remembrance' meaning people who actually know their religion.
    – The Z
    Commented Mar 26, 2018 at 15:53
  • So, it's basically saying, A message came before you so ask the people who remember [that message]
    – The Z
    Commented Mar 26, 2018 at 15:54

1 Answer 1


As already mentioned by others in the comment section, the Arabic words used is "Ahl Adh-Dhikr" or 'People of the Dhikr'. 'Dhikr' means 'reminder' or 'remembrance' or 'message' [loosely]. The first interpretation is that this means 'People of the Books'.

Tafsir Ibn Katheer says:

It was reported by Mujahid from Ibn Abbas that;
what is meant by Ahl Adh-Dhikr is the People of
the Book. 

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