Belief in God’s Prophets?
April 27, 2008 § 6 Comments
The word Islam comes from the tri-literal root, S-L-M, root in the Arabic language. When trying to understand this concept, think of building blocks, and the tri-literal root is the foundation; the ground work of the word construct. This particular tri-literal root, S-L-M, literally means, among other things: purity, peace, submission and obedience.
The religion of Islam means, the way of submission to God and obedience to His commands. And as a result there is a theme among Muslims which was taught to us by the Holy Prophet, Muhammad (may Peace and Blessings be upon him). That theme is, servanthood. A Muslim is one who has willingly accepted the title of servant and the responsibility of a servant is obedience to his master. In this case the master is the Lord of the Heavens and Earth, the Master of the Day of Judgement. His most secret name, though His names are innumerable, is Allah The Most Compassionate Most Merciful.
The first man, Adam (may Peace be upon him) was also the first Messenger of God. The Holy Prophet (may Peace and Blessing be upon him) taught mankind that Adam (may Peace be upon him), the first man, knew the Oneness of the Lord of the Heavens and Earth. And as mankind began to proliferate there became obedient ones and disobedient ones among them. These circumstances created a need among mankind, the need for Allah Almighty’s Mercy, and so He made Adam (may Peace and Blessings be upon him) a messenger to mankind.
This need continued overtime and thus messengers were sent to mankind as a means; a link between Allah Almighty and intelligent beings of His creation. These messengers, Prophets were sent in order to remind mankind of their identity as servants and their responsibility of obedience.
The sending of messengers is not incumbent upon Allah Almighty, on the contrary it is His Wisdom (hikma) that demands it and in it are wise and beneficial things for all of His Creation. Allah Almighty has sent messengers from among mankind – to mankind – with announcements of good tidings of the Garden of Paradise and rewards for those servants of Belief and obedience.
The Messengers of God warned the disobedient servants, the people of Unbelief, against the Fire and punishments. For these are among the things of which Reason has no way of obtaining knowledge. Man’s Reason may have the capacity to find God but fails to recognize His attributes and how to worship and without Prophetic guidance man exists in a state perplexed. Shaykh Muhyiddin ibn al-‘Arabi (ks) wrote of this saying,
“If anyone says that he knows that God is his Creator and is not confused, this is proof that he is ignorant. Only God knows God, so take heed! The One who attends to you is not like one who is ignorant. Incapacity to perceive is mystical knowledge. The principle in it is like that for the one who is intelligent. He is God, and you cannot number His praises. He is Incomparable, so do not make a likeness for Him.”
Therefore, it is only of the Grace and Mercy of Allah Almighty that He sent messengers to mankind. They show the right path and true ethics for righteous living. They are the mediators between the Creator and His creatures, the Master and His servants.
The prophethood is a gift from God. He bestows it upon whom He wishes and one cannot obtain it through effort. The qualities that were innate within all prophets were:
- And the capacity to convey the message
God has raised messengers from among every people; every nation, 124,000 from Adam (may Peace be upon), the first man and messenger to the last Messenger of God. And they all brought the same religion, the way of submission to God and obedience to His commands. This is the message that Abraham (may Peace be upon him) brought during his time, that Moses (may Peace be upon him) brought during his time, that David (may Peace be upon him) brought during his time, that Jesus (may Peace be upon him) brought during his time and the message that Muhammad, Last Messenger of God, (may Peace and Blessings be upon him), brought during his time on Earth.
In terms of the religion, all messengers brought the same message, servanthood, and in this respect all of the Messengers of God stand on par with each other. If a man believes in anyone of them, he as it were, believes in all of them. And if a man affirms and believes in one of them, he must and ought to affirm all of them.
The Prophets whose names are mentioned in the Qur’an are: Adam, Enoch, Noah, Eber (Hud), Shaloh (Salih), Abraham, Lot, Ismail, Isaac, Yaqub, Yusuf, Job (Ayyub), Jethro (Shu’ayb), Moses, Aaron, Ezekiel (Zulkifl), David, Solomon, Elija, Elisha, Jonah (Yunas), Zachariah, John the Baptist (Yahya), Jesus and Muhammad (may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon them all).
In Islam it is necessary and incumbent upon Muslims to have implicit faith in all the Prophets of God. One who does not believe in a particular Prophet would be an Unbeliever, though he may be professing faith in all other Prophets.
The religion the Prophets brought was the same, it was the religion of submission to God and obedience to His commands. The message the Prophets brought was also same in kind. All the Prophets of God have been deputed by Him to teach the straight path, al-siratul mustaqim. In this sense all Divine Religions share three common elements:
- The principles of Faith
- Forms of Worship
- and Ethics
The guidance imparted through the Prophets of the past was not complete. Every Prophet was followed by another who affected alterations and additions in the teaching and injunctions of his predecessors. In this way the chain of reform and progress continued. That is why the teaching of earlier Prophets, after the lapse of time were lost in oblivion. Obviously there was no need to preserve earlier teachings when amended and improved guidance had taken place.
He who follows Muhammad (may Peace and Blessings be upon him) follows all the Prophets. For whatever was good and eternally workable in their teachings has been embodied in his teaching. He is the last Prophet of God. After him no Prophet will appear among any people till the Day of Judgement.
Our Prophet’s Biography:
- Born in 570 AD in Mecca
- Mother’s name: Amina
- Father’s name: ‘Abdullah
- He received the first revelations from God in 610 AD at the age of 40
- He emigrated to Madina as a result of persecution in 622 AD
- He died in Madina 632 AD
The Qur’an says,
“Muhammad is the Messenger of God and the Last of the Prophets” (33:40)
The real death of a prophet consists not in his physical demise but in the ending of the influence of his teachings. The earlier prophets have died because their followers have adulterated their teachings, distorted their instructions, and sullied their life-examples by attaching fictitious events to them. The life stories of earlier Prophets have been so mixed up with fiction that an accurate and authentic account of their lives has become impossible. Their lives have become tales and legends and no trustworthy record is available anywhere. Thus, the real death of a Prophet consists in the death of his teachings.
None of these conditions exist for the Last Messenger of God, Muhammad (may Peace and Blessings be upon him). The account of his life and teachings is preserved with complete accuracy. It is as though it all happened yesterday rather than nearly 14 centuries ago. It is securely kept unchanged within the Qur’an al-kerim and ahadith, the authentic recorded sayings of the Prophet (may Peace and Blessings be upon him), all of which is guarded by the inheritors of the Holy Prophet (may Peace and Blessings be upon him), the righteous shaykhs, noble scholars and pious people of the Sunnat and Community of Muslims, Ahl-e-Sunnat wal Jama’ah.