Prophethood is not unknown to heavenly revealed religions, such as Judaism
and Christianity. In Islam, however, it has a special status and
According to Islam, Allah (the Arabic word for God) created man for a noble
purpose: to worship Him and lead a virtuous life based on His teachings and
guidance. How would man know his role and purpose of his existence unless he
received clear and practical instructions of what Allah wants him to do?
Hence the need for prophethood and accompanying guidance. Thus Allah had
chosen from every nation one or more prophets to convey His Message to the
people. The Noble Qur'an says:
"To every people (was sent) an Apostle: when their Apostle comes (before
them) the matter will be judged between them with justice and they will not
be wronged." (Qur'an, 10: 47).
Allah says in the Noble Qur'an: "And verily, we have sent among every nation
a messenger (proclaiming):
'Worship Allah (alone) and avoid evil.' Then of them were some whom Allah
guided, and there were some upon whom straying was justified. So travel
through the land and see what was the consequence of those who denied (the
truth)." (Qur'an, 16: 36).
Prophethood is Allah's blessing and favour that He may bestow on whom He
wills. However, from surveying the various messengers throughout history,
three features of a prophet may be recognised:
1- He is the best in his community morally and intellectually.This is
necessary because a prophet's life serves as a model for his followers. His
personality should attract people to accept his message rather than drive
them away because of his imperfect character. After receiving the message he
is rightly guided and infallible. That is, he would not commit any sin. He
might make some minor mistakes which are usually corrected by revelation.
2- He is supported by miracles to prove that he is not an impostor. Those
miracles are granted by the power and permission of God and are usually in
the field in which his people excel and are recognised as superiors. We
might illustrate this by quoting the major miracles of the three prophets of
the major world religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Moses'
contemporaries were excellent in magic. So his major miracle was to defeat
the best magicians of Egypt of his time. Jesus' contemporaries were
recognised as skilful physicians. Therefore, his miracles were to raise the
dead and cure incurable diseases. The Arabs, contemporaries of the Prophet
Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) were known for their eloquence and magnificent
poetry. So Prophet Muhammad's major miracle was the Qur'an, the equivalent
of which the whole legion of the Arab poets and orators could not produce,
despite the repeated challenge from the Qur'an itself. Again, Muhammad's (P.B.U.H.)
miracle has something special about it. All previous miracles were limited
by time and place, i.e., they were shown to specific people at a specific
time. Not so with the Qur'an, the miracle of Muhammad (P.B.U.H.). It is a
universal and everlasting miracle. Previous generations witnessed it and
future generations will witness its miraculous nature in terms of its style,
content and spiritual uplifting. These still can be tested and will thereby
prove the divine origin of the Qur'an.
3- Every prophet states clearly that what he receives is not of his own but
from God for the well-being of mankind. He also confirms what was revealed
before him and what may be revealed after him. A prophet does this to show
that he is simply conveying the message which is entrusted to him by the One
True God of all people in all ages. So the message is one in essence and for
the same purpose. Therefore, it should not deviate from what was revealed
before him or what might come after him.
Prophets are necessary for conveying God's instructions and guidance to
mankind. We have no way of knowing why we were created? What will happen to
us after death? Is there any life after death? Are we accountable for our
actions? In other words, is there any reward or punishment for our deeds in
These and so many other questions about God, angels, Paradise, Hell, etc.
cannot be answered without revelation from the Creator and Knower of the
unseen. Those answers must be authentic and must be brought by individuals
whom we trust and respect. That is why, messengers are the select of their
societies in terms of moral conduct and intellectual ability. The prophets
are also miraculously supported by God and instructed by Him to affirm the
continuity of the message. The content of the prophets' message to mankind
can be summarised as follows:
1- Clear concept about God: His attributes, His creation, what should and
should not be ascribed to Him.
2- Clear idea about the unseen world, the angels, jinn (spirits), Paradise
3- Why has God created us? What does He want from us and what is the reward
or punishment for obeying or disobeying Him?
4- How to run our societies according to His will? That is, clear
instructions and laws that, when applied correctly and honestly, will result
in a happy and ideal society.
It is clear from the above discussion that there is no substitute for
prophets. Even today with the advancement of science, the only authentic
source of information about the supernatural world are the revelations.
Guidance can be obtained neither from science nor from mystic experience.
The first is too materialistic and too limited whereas the second is too
subjective and frequently too misleading.
God has sent a messenger (or more) to every nation. This is because it is
one of God's principles that He will never call people to account unless He
has made clear to them what to do and what not to do.
The Noble Qur'an mentions the names of 25 prophets and indicates that there
have been others who were not mentioned to Prophet Muhammad. These 25
include Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. These, five are the
greatest among God's messengers. They are called the resolute prophets. An
outstanding aspect of the Islamic belief in prophethood is that Muslims
believe in and respect all the messengers of God with no exception. All the
prophets came from the same One God, for the same purpose - to lead mankind
to God. Belief in them all is essential and logical while accepting some and
rejecting others is like rejecting all.
The Muslims are the only people in the world who consider the belief in all
the prophets of God an article of faith. Thus the Jews reject Jesus Christ
and Muhammad; the Christians reject Muhammad and in reality reject Moses
because they do not abide by his laws. The Muslims accept them all as
messengers of God who brought guidance to mankind. However, the revelation
which those prophets brought from God has been tampered with in one way or
The belief in all the messengers of God is enjoined on the Muslims by the
"Say ye: "We believe in Allah and the revelation given to us and to Abraham,
Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes and that given to Moses and Jesus and
that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord; we make no difference between
any of them and we bow to Allah (in Islam)." (Qur'an, 2: 136 ).
The Noble Qur'an continues in the following verses to instruct the Muslims
that this is the true and impartial belief. If other nations believe in the
same, they are following the right path. If they do not, then they are
following their own whims and biases and God will take them to account. Thus
"So if they believe as ye believe they are indeed on the right path; but if
they turn back it is they who are in schism; but Allah will suffice thee as
against them and He is the All-Hearing the All-Knowing."
(Qur'an, 2: 137 ).
There are, at Least, two important points related to prophethood that need
to be clarified. These points concern the roles of Jesus and Muhammad as
prophets who are usually misunderstood.
The Qur'anic account of Jesus (P.B.U.H) emphatically rejects the concept of
his 'divinity' and 'divine sonship' and presents him as one of the great
prophets of God. The Qur'an makes it clear that the birth of Jesus without a
father does not make him son of God and mentions in this respect Adam who
was created by God without a father or mother:
"The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam: He created him
from dust then said to him: "Be" and he was." (Qur'an, 3: 59( .
Like other prophets Jesus also performed miracles. For example, he raised
the dead and cured the blind and lepers, but while showing these miracles he
always made it clear that it was all from God. Actually, the misconceptions
about the personality and mission of Jesus found a way among his followers
because the Divine message that he preached was not recorded during his
presence in this world, rather it was recorded after a lapse of about a
hundred years. According to the Qur'an he was sent to the children of
Israel; he confirmed the validity of the Torah which was revealed to Moses
and he also brought the glad tidings of a final messenger after him.
"And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: 'O Children of Israel! I am the
apostle of Allah (sent) to you confirming the Law (which came) before me and
giving glad tidings of an apostle to come after me whose name shall be
Ahmad.' But when he came to them with clear signs they said, "This is
evident sorcery." (Qur'an, 61: 6 ).
"Ahmad is another name of Prophet Muhammad which means the praised one" .
However, the majority of the Jews rejected his ministry. They plotted
against his life and in their opinion crucified him. But the Noble Qur'an
refutes this opinion and says that they neither killed him nor crucified
him, rather he was raised up to God. There is a verse in the Qur'an, which
implies that Jesus will come back and all Christians and Jews will believe
in him before he dies. This is also supported by authentic sayings of the
Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H. ) .
The last prophet of God, Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) was born in Arabia in the sixth
century A.C. The People of Mecca knew him only as a man of excellent
character and cultured manners and called him AL-AMEEN (the trustworthy). At
the age of 40, God appointed him a prophet and a receiver of revelations
from God. He called the idolaters of Makkah to worship the one God and
accept him as His prophet. The revelations which he received were preserved
in his life-time in the memory of his companions and were also recorded on
pieces of palm leaves, leather, etc...
Thus, the Noble Qur'an that is found today is the same that was revealed to
him; not a syllable of it has been altered as God Himself has guaranteed its
preservation. This Qur'an is the book of guidance for the entire humanrace
for all times, and mentions Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) as the last Prophet of God:
"Muhammad is not the father of any of your men but (he is) the Apostle of
Allah and the Seal of the Prophets: and Allah has full Knowledge of all
( Qur'an, 33: 40 ) .
The Qur'an further speaks about the beautiful pattern of the prophet's life:
"Ye have indeed in the Apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern of (conduct) for
anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day and who engages much in the
praise of Allah." (Qur'an, 33: 21 ) .
Allah is the name of God in the Arabic Language. Neither plural nor gender
can be formed from it. He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universes. He
is the God of all people including the prophets such as: Adam, Noah,
Abraham, Ishmael, Jacob, Moses, David, Jesus and Muhammad (Peace Be Upon All
Of Them ).
What They Say About Muhammad (P.B.U.H)
Here we furnish some observations on Islam by great and acknowledged
non-Muslim scholars of modern time. Truth needs no advocates to plead on its
behalf, but the prolonged malicious propaganda against Islam has created
great confusion even in the minds of free and objective thinkers. We hope
that the following observations would contribute to initiating an objective
evaluation of the Prophet of Islam Muhammad (P.B.U.H .).
If greatness of purpose, smallness of means, and astounding results are the
three criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great man in
modem history with Muhammad? The most famous men created arms, laws and
empires only they founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers
which often crumbled away before their eyes. This man moved not only armies,
legislation, empires, peoples and dynasties, but millions of men in
one-third of the then-inhabited world; and more than that he moved the
altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and souls.... His
forbearance in victory, his ambition which was entirely devoted to one idea
and in no manner striving for an empire, his endless prayers, his mystic
conversations with God, his death and his triumph after death-all these
attest not to an imposter but to a firm conviction which gave him the power
to restore a dogma. This dogma was twofold: the unity of God and the
immateriality of God; the former telling what God is, the latter telling
what God is not; the one overthrowing false gods with the sword, the other
starting an idea with the words. Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator,
warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational dogmas, of a cult without
images; the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual
empire, that is Muhammad. As regards all standards by which human greatness
may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he is?
Histoire de la Turquie,
Pans 1854, Vol.11, pp. 276-77.
It is not the propagation but the permanency of his religion that deserves
our wonder; the same pure and perfect impression which he engraved at Makkah
and Madina is preserved, after the revolutions of twelve centuries by the
Indian, the African and the Turkish proselytes of the Koran... The
Mahometans object of their faith and devotion to a level with the senses and
imagination of man. 'I believe in One God and Mahomet is the Apostle of God'
is the simple and invariable profession of Islam. The intellectual image of
the Deity has never been degraded by any visible idol; the honours of the
prophet have never transgressed the measure of human virtue; and his living
precepts have restrained the gratitude of his disciples within the bounds of
reason and religion.
Edward Gibbon and Simon Ocklay
History of the Saracen Empire,
London 1870,p 54.
He was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without Pope's pretensions,
Caesar without the legions of Caesar: without a standing army, without a
bodyguard, without a palace, without fixed revenue. If ever any man had the
right to say that he ruled by the right divine, it was Muhammad, for he had
all the power without its instruments and without its supports.
Muhammad and Muhammadanism,
London 1874, p 92.
It is impossible for anyone who studies the life and character of the great
Prophet of Arabia, who knows how he taught and how he lived, to feel
anything but reverence for that mighty Prophet, one of the great messengers
of the Supreme. And although in what I put to you I shall say many things
which may be familiar to many, yet I myself feel whenever I re-read them, a
new way of admiration, a new sense of reverence for that mighty Arabian
The Life and Teachings of Muhammad,
Madras 1932, p 4
My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential
persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he
was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the
religious and secular level.
Michael H. Hart,
The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, New York:
Hart Publishing Company
Inc. 1978, p 33.
"I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of
its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to
possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence which
can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him the wonderful man
and in my opinion for from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the
Saviour of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the
dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems
in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness: I have
prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the
Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of
The Genuine Islam, Vol. 1, No.81936
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