Recently, non-Muslims have claimed to found a contradiction.

They provided Quranic verse 6:161-163 and said that Muhammad (PBUH) was the first muslim.

Say, "Indeed, my Lord has guided me to a straight path - a correct religion - the way of Abraham, inclining toward truth. And he was not among those who associated others with Allah."

Say, "Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds.

No partner has He. And this I have been commanded, and I am the first [among you] of the Muslims."

However they say that this is impossible as they were other prophets before him who were also muslims. Perhaps I'm interpreting their argument wrong. You could check it out in the following link: http://www.answering-islam.org/Quran/Contra/first_muslim.htm

  • The statement seems to be made in a relative sense regarding his people/society. Indeed, he was the first of the Muslims when Jahiliyyah (ignorance) was widespread in Arabia. Furthermore, the other Prophets were 'Muslims' in a general sense. Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) was the first to be a 'Muslim' in the specific sense, under the completed religion of Allah [Islam]. There is no contradiction.
    – Muslimah
    Nov 17, 2017 at 5:23

1 Answer 1


They are nitpicking.

It means that he is the first to believe in and act on the revelation sent to him:

قُلْ إِنِّي أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَكُونَ أَوَّلَ مَنْ أَسْلَمَ

Say, [O Muhammad], "Indeed, I have been commanded to be the first who submits"

Quran 6:14

The religion of Islam has two facets: The beliefs and the shariah (laws and commands).

As far as the beliefs are concerned, they have been the same from Adam through Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus to Muhammad and so all of them are "Muslims": (Noah in 10:72, Abraham and his sons and Jacob and his sons in 2:130-132, Joseph in 12:101, Moses in 10:84, the Prophets of Israel in 5:44, Jesus and his disciples in 5:111).

However the shariah has differed for every ummah (nation) and "Muslim" is also the specific name of the ummah which follows the last shariah.

هُوَ سَمَّاكُمُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

He named you Muslims

Quran 22:78

Muhammad (ﷺ) was the first of our ummah and the first to submit to Allah's commands for this ummah, and as we say those who followed him were Khadijah, Ali, Abu Bakr, Zayed and so on.

This is the most prevalent tafsir of the verse:

أوّل المسلمين من هذه الأمة

first muslim from this ummah

Ibn Kathir, Qurtubi, Tabari, Baghawi

There are also tafsirs that it means so in an absolute sense. In that Allah created the souls of the Prophets pre-creation and took the covenant from them starting from Muhammad (ﷺ):

وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِنَ النَّبِيِّينَ مِيثَاقَهُمْ وَمِنكَ وَمِن نُّوحٍ وَإِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ ۖ وَأَخَذْنَا مِنْهُم مِّيثَاقًا غَلِيظًا

And [mention, O Muhammad], when We took from the prophets their covenant and from you and from Noah and Abraham and Moses and Jesus, the son of Mary; and We took from them a solemn covenant.

Quran 33:7

كنت أول الأنبياء في الخلق ، وآخرهم في البعث

[The Prophet said:] I am the first of the Prophets to be created, and the last one to be sent

Tabari, Qurtubi

  • 3
    Great answer. There is also the first in stance, not time only (e.g., the first lady of the US does not mean she was created first chronologically).
    – III-AK-III
    Nov 17, 2017 at 13:39

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