What does "to all people" mean?

Surah Saba' (34:28)

Pickthall Yusuf Ali Shakir Sher Ali Rashad Khalifa T.B. Irving Sarwar
And We have not sent thee (O Muhammad) save as a bringer of good tidings and a warner unto all mankind; but most of mankind know not. We have not sent thee but as a universal (Messenger) to men, giving them glad tidings, and warning them (against sin), but most men understand not. And We have not sent you but to all the men as a bearer of good news and as a warner, but most men do not know. And WE have not sent thee but as a bearer of glad tidings and a Warner for all mankind, but most men know not. We have sent you (O Rashad) to all the people, a bearer of good news, as well as a warner, but most people do not know. We have not sent you [Muhammad] except as a newsbearer and warner to every single human being, even though most men do not realize it, We have sent you as a bearer of glad news and a warner to the whole of mankind, but most people do not know.

[Apart from the oddity that Rashad Khalifa finds himself addressed in this verse, the main issue is the following : ]

How universal was Muhammad's message intended to be according to the Qur'an? Most of the above translators have the tendency to make the text stronger in the English than it really is in the Arabic, in order to support the claim of universality of Islam.

The text seems to be too weak to make that point, so that Yusuf Ali feels he has to insert the word "universal" into the translation even though it is not in the Arabic text. On the other hand, he puts "messenger" in parentheses usually indicating an insertion not in the Arabic, while here "bringer" is actually in the text.

Similarly, Sarwar strengthens the phrase by saying "whole mankind", and T.B. Irving tries to boost the universality claim by inserting "every single human being" in exaggeration of the actual statement that just says "all people", but we have to ask what "all people" refers to. All people living where and at what time?

This question is carefully investigated in the article "Mohammed claimed to be a warner only for Arabia".

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