The biggest problem that had usually faced prophets in delivering their messages is that: people were always unable to understand the concept of “Prophethood,” and realize its necessity. They couldn’t comprehend that without divine messages, we will all be like labors taken to a job-site without being informed of the tasks we are supposed to do, and the guidelines which we should follow in fulfilling our tasks. Consequently, there has always existed many people who took other gods besides the Creator, those who worshiped gods of their own invention, and those who denied the existence of any God whatsoever. Meanwhile, there has also existed those who believed in the existence of a Creator and followed his messengers. Those were the ones able to harmonize faith with logic, and this is the issue I’m going to tackle briefly in the next lines.
As humans we were created having a certain mechanism through which we can acquire information, understand it and realize the truth of everything. This mechanism consists of the five senses, and the mind, reason, or intellect. Through our five senses, we perceive and collect all sorts of information. This information is then analyzed through our most important merit, which is the ‘Human Mind.’ Accordingly, we are able to realize the truth or fallacy of such information. As far as most of the five senses are functioning properly alongside the intellect, anyone shall be able to learn, acquire knowledge and understand the reality of things. But what happens when we as humans need knowledge about matters which our five senses cannot perceive on their own? Example: How did everything come to exist? Who is our creator? How is He like, and what are His attributes? How can we communicate with Him? Who taught the very first humans how to speak and talk instead of humming for instance? We all think of the previous besides many other questions since childhood, but our learning mechanism stands incapable of answering.
With the help of advanced technologies reached in the last 200 years and established upon the sciences founded in the last 2500 years, we were able to learn a lot about ourselves, the planet on which we are living and the universe around us. We were able to discover many of the physical laws and rules that govern its components. The universe was originated from a magnificent explosion in a singularity point resulting in a celestial gaseous dust cloud, from which constellations, billions of planets and stars were formed. We see the earth, the moon, the sun, the whole milky way, this galaxy and other millions of galaxies, all revolving in perfect cycles in their orbits, all at the same time. We see the universe marvelously arranged and following certain laws. If we were to say that the universe was originated from this Big Bang without the need for any creator, then we will have to give a logical answer to the following question: “How did the singularity point from which everything started come to exist?” I believe that any person should be able to conclude through reason that this whole system which we call “The Universe,” functioning with the rational laws governing each and everything inside it, must have been created, sustained, and guided through all stages of its evolution by an absolutely knowledgeable, powerful, and everlasting entity; the entity that religious people call God.
If through reason we can deduce the existence of God, then we should also be able to figure out that this Omniscient Almighty couldn’t have designed this perfectly suiting planet we call “Earth,” thereafter, He created various living creatures to live on it; then, at a certain stage through the long history of life on earth, God created man, preferred him and made him superior above all other creatures by bestowing upon him the beautiful amazing merit we call the “Human Mind”, granting him the ability to think, learn, search, deduce and find out all sorts of knowledge, besides the ability to examine various different feelings like love, joy, anger, longing, sadness, desire, jealousy, etc…., all for no reason or without any plan. This Mighty Omniscient entity couldn’t have just created all this, and then abandoned it, especially that smart intelligent creature. He couldn’t leave man off in total darkness without ever communicating with him and guiding him through his life whenever he is in need of guidance, show him the signs of His existence, teach him wisdom and righteousness, teach him how did everything begin, how did he come into this world, why was he created, what are the rules most fitting for him to live with, what are his duties towards other creatures and the planet on which he is living, what is beneficial for him and what is harmful?, etc….
Imagine that you sent one of your employees or servants to a designated place without ever telling him of the tasks which he’s supposed to carryout, and how to accomplish them, neither while he is leaving, nor explaining it to him later-on through some message. If a man of ordinary reason cannot do this, how can something like this be imagined with respect to the most Holy Lord of the Universe under whose ultimate wisdom this whole universe is functioning?! As a matter of fact, Prophethood is the creator’s method of communicating with His creation. Allah did not forsake His servants or His creation in the dark, He has instituted a regular system for their guidance. And this very regular system of guidance is what we call “Prophethood”. This should make it crystal clear that Prophethood is not some illogical religious belief but a rational need that comes in harmony with logic and reason.
Now, a logical question arises in everyone’s mind which is: “Upon whom does God bestow his revelations, (i.e. choose to be his messenger) and how?”
Let us think rationally, and give ourselves an example from what we see and do in our daily lives. If you own a company that work in the construction business for instance, and you wanted to hire a new principal engineer, who would be responsible for preparing all the junior engineers, choose from among them their most clever ones to be the senior engineers and team leaders, he will teach them, train them, answer their questions, revise their work, correct their mistakes, approve or reject their work, etc.. What would be the most correct method in hiring such an engineer?
Logic says that the most correct approach would be to review all existing candidates, then choose the one who has the best qualifications, whom you can prepare to face the difficulties and hardships of such a job. After this, you will assign a deputy to prepare him and transfer to him the information he needs in order to carry out the tasks for which he is assigned. Finally you will watch his progress to interfere when necessary.
This approach is almost the same as what the Creator has been doing in order to teach us and guide us. Allah Almighty, ever since Adam the father of all prophets, has been sending down his revelations with the angel he created and assigned for this job, namely “Gabriel”, to the best and the most pious believing human who can bear the burden of delivering the Almighty’s message to the people to whom he is sent. This human is like the principal engineer in the above example and the one whom we call a messenger or a prophet. Prophets are the ones chosen by Allah to deliver his messages to us as humans and teach us about our existence, the best way to live in this worldly life, what’s harmful and what’s useful, the laws by which if we abide we shall prosper, he teaches us about our tasks and how to do them.
Some people teach that Allah has given a covenant to a certain lineage to bestow his revelations and messages upon a prophet chosen only from among them. But Islam teaches that Allah Almighty chooses whomever He likes and knows in His ultimate wisdom to be the best among every nation for delivering His message, without any regards to his race or lineage. For Allah Almighty is not a racist, nor could He be, all praises be to Him. Islam teaches that Allah never punishes any people except after sending them a warner or a messenger to teach them about their Creator’s laws and moral teachings. In the Holy Qur’an, Allah says about this:
“Allah chooses as His messengers whomever He wills. So believe in Allah and His messengers. If you believe and ward off evil, for you there will be a great reward.” [The Qur’an (3:179)]
“The decree of Allah is at hand, so do not seek to hasten it. Holy is He, and exalted far above what they associate with Him. He sends down the angels with revelations by His command to whomever of His servants He pleases, saying, ‘Warn mankind that there is no God but Me, so beware of Me’.” [The Qur’an (16:1-2)]
“Allah chooses messengers from among the angels and from among men. Allah is All Hearing, All Seeing.” [The Qur’an (22:75)]
“We have never sent a messenger who did not use his own people’s language to make things clear for them.” [The Qur’an (14:4)]
“Whoever accepts guidance does so for his own good, whoever strays does so at his own peril. No soul will bear another’s burden, nor do We punish until We have sent a messenger.” [The Qur’an (17:15)]
It is true that most of the prophets mentioned in the Qur’an, and sent after Abraham, where from his offspring, but the Qur’an does not teach that this was some kind of a covenant between Abraham and Allah, but rather a blessing bestowed from Allah on those who were pious among Abraham’s offspring. Abraham P.B.U.H. invoked Allah to bless his offspring with prophets from among themselves to teach them about their creator. This is mentioned in the Qur’an as follows:
“Remember when Abraham’s Lord tested him with certain commandments, which he fulfilled, He said, ‘I will make you a religious model for the people.’ Abraham asked, ‘And from among my descendants too?’ Allah answered, ‘My pledge does not hold for those who do evil’.” [The Qur’an (2:124)]
Allah also says in the Qur’an:
“We have sent other messengers before you (O Muhammad), some We have mentioned to you and some We have not” [The Qur’an (40:78)]
Islam teaches that the previous holy books pointed out and taught that there will be a last prophet, the seal of all prophets, he will be sent to deliver to all people the final message and final law by which they should abide till the judgment day comes. All of the preceding prophets were sent specifically to their people, to teach them about their creator, the one and only God, treat what they have corrupted in this understanding in a way that fits their conditions and their capability of understanding. None of the prophets was ordered to preach his message to all people on earth, but only to his people or a certain nation as specified to him by Allah. Of course all these messages preached the same creed of faith but had different laws according to the era and state of the people to whom it was sent. For example, the laws of marriage for the previous nations permitted a man to gather to himself in marriage two sisters, like Prophet Jacob’s marriage to Leah and Rachel. This was later on abrogated and forbidden in the message Allah bestowed upon His Prophet Moses. But the creed of faith has always been the same and it never changed, for changing it only means that God Himself is changed, which is absolutely impossible.
Different Nations ↔ Different Languages ↔ Different Messengers
Different Eras ↔ Different circumstances ↔ Different Laws
Same Sender ↔ Same Creed of Faith
Final Message ↔ Final Messenger ↔ Final Law
When humanity reached the era in which it had acquired the primitive knowledge capable of introducing mankind into a self sustaining stage of progress, it was then the time for one last prophet; the one by whom all prophets would be sealed, the original pure creed of faith would be restored, the previous messages and correct laws would be confirmed, and what was corrupted or misunderstood from them would be explained, clarified and preserved from any distortion by the Almighty’s own care. It was the time for a final message sent to all people teaching them that they are all one nation, with one God, one race, and one land. All people are one family, and should be gathered by mercy, justice and respect in their pursuit to fulfill the task for which they were created, that is keeping their trust in being their Creator’s vicegerents on earth.
Written by: Ehab Shawky
In Response To: Harmony