Gentlemen! In my previous six lectures I have trIed to prove in the light of sound, and authentic arguments that of all the great men who have served humanity, only the Prophets of Allah are the ones whose noble examples ought to be followed And the most perfect and complete life available to us today is that of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) which makes him the best and eternal role model for all mankind. Once we have shown that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the eternal and perfect model the question arises— what are his universal teachings that lead to eternal success? What message has he brought to the world and what are the essential features of that message for which the last of God’s Messengers was sent to this world? How did this Message modify & and complete the messages sent down through the earlier Prophets?
Admittedly, Divine messages have been sent down to this world from time to time through many Prophet’s of Allah and we have shown in the light of historical evidence that all those Messages were meant for a particular period of time and for a particular people. Since they were for a limited time, they were not protected and with the passage of time their original form was lost. While attempts were made in some cases to compile them, human interference changed them. Their translations gave them a different shape altogether, particularly when the original had been lost and no historical evidence remained to prove its authenticity. Many imitations were added to the original divine message and all this was done over a few hundred years. But there is wisdom in all acts of Allah, therefore the disappearance of such Messages or the loss of their original shape is in itself a proof that those Books and Commandments were meant for a temporary period only. However, His Message that was sent down through His last Prophet was meant for all times and all places. As a result, it has remained intact and will remain so, because no Message is going to come after it. Almighty Allah has not said about any of His previous messages that they were final, or that He is Himself going to protect them. The very disappearance of those Divine revelations proves that they were meant to be temporary. In the heavenly books that exist today, not a single verse indicates that this book is complete and final and that it will be preserved, with the exception of the holy Quran. On the other hand, there are indications in their text that they are temporary and there is more of the Divine guidance still to come.
Moses (Peace be upon him) says in Torah: “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me, unto him ye shall harken.” (Duet 18:15) .
“I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words n his mouth and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him” (Deut 18:19)
This is the Blessing that Moses, the servant of God, gave to the children of Israel before his death: “The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them He shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousand of Saints, from his right hand went a fiery law for them.”
These verses from Torah clearly indicate that another Prophet like Moses is about to come with a “fiery law”, and God will put His “words in his mouth.” It is obvious, thus, that the Message given to Moses was not final and eternal.
Another Prophet of Allah, Isaiah gives the good tidings of a Messenger whose law will extend to lands of rivers and islands. Malachi says, “Look. I will send my Messenger.” The other books of the Old Testament confirm the coming of future Prophets. It proves that none of the Jewish scriptures was meant to be complete, final and eternal.
The New Testament says: “… And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever..”
But the Comforter, which is the holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance, what ever I have said to you.”
“I have many other things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of Truth, has come, he will guide you to all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak.”
These verses of the Bible clearly indicate that it is not the last word of God, nor is it complete. Another Messenger of God is due to come who will complete the message of Christ. On the other hand, the Message brought by Prophet Muhammad does not tell of any other Messenger who is to follow and will bring a new message with him; or that there is some thing missing in his message that he will complete and thus make his message perfect. Prophet Muhammad’s Message claims its own completion and perfection. A verse of the holy Quran states:
Today, I have perfected your religion for you, and have completed My blessing upon you, and chosen Islam as Dīn (religion and a way of life) for you. (Chp.5:Vrs.3)
and it proclaims that Prophet Muhammad is the last of the chain of Allah’s Prophets (Peace be upon them). To us the Quranic term that he is the ‘Seal of Prophets,” means he is the last Prophet. In many of his sayings the holy Prophet himself has said:
“The coming of Prophets has ceased after me.” –
“Lo! There is no Prophet after me!”
“I have completed the Prophethood like the laying of the last brick completes a structure.”
Not a single verse of the holy Quran indicates the coming of a future Prophet. This very fact makes it clear that the Divine Message that has been sent through Prophet Muhammad is the final Message of Allah to humanity, and that it is meant to last forever. Allah has taken upon Himself to preserve it with the promise,
“We verily are its Guardian.”
My friends! The next question to consider, then, is: ‘Was there any Divine Message other than the one sent through Prophet Muhammad that was Universal and applicable in all times?” For the Children of Israel the only world is their own world. The only God is the God of the Children of Israel. Therefore, none of their prophets nor any of their holy books has ever conveyed the Divine message to the non-Jews. Even today the Jewish religion and the Law of Moses are meant for the Jews alone. All Jewish scriptures are addressed only to the Jews and they are always asked to turn to their hereditry God. According to the Bible, Christ limited his message to the ‘lost sheep of the Children of lsrael and did not like to give “the Children’s food to the dogs” by conveying his message to the non-Israelites. The ancient Indian, Vedas are not meant for the ears of non-Aryans because they considered the whole world inferior to their race. The books make it sure that the words of Vedas must not reach the inferior ears of the non-Aryans, and if they did so by any chance, those ears should be filled with molten lead.
Prophet Muhammad’s message is the first and the last Message of God which is addressed to all, to the Arabs and the non-Arabs, to the Whites and the Blacks, to the Turks and the Tartars, to the Indians and the Chinese and to the Africans and the Westerners. In this message, Allah is the only God and just as He is the Lord of the Worlds (Praise be to Allah) the Lord of the Worlds), His Messenger too, has been sent to the whole world (he is called ‘Mercy to the whole world”) and his message is the univasal message. To quote a few verses of the holy Quran:
“It is nothing but an advice for all the worlds.”(Chp.6:Vrs.90)
Glorious is the One who has revealed the Criterion to His servant, so that he may be a warner to all the worlds the One to whom belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, … (Chp.25:Vrs.1-2)
Prophet Muhammad came as a warner to all nations. His message extends to the whole of Allah’s dominion. Another verse of the holy Book states:
Say, “O people, I am a messenger of Allah (sent) to you from the One to whom belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth….” (Chp.7:Vrs.158)
The following verse too, confirms the universal nature of Prophet Muhammad’s Message. It reaches out to everyone:
Say, “Allah is the witness between me and you, and this Qur‘ān has been revealed to me so that I should thereby warn you, and whomsoever it may reach….” (Chp.6:Vrs. 19)
O prophet, We have sent you as a witness and as a bearer of good news and a warner, (Chp33:Vrs.45)
The above references fully demonstrate that of all the heavenly religions only Islam has proclaimed to be the final, complete, eternal and universal religion from God. It has been quoted in Muslim (the most authentic book of traditions after Al-Bukhari) that the holy Prophet said, “before me all prophets were sent to their own particular nations and I have been sent to all nations.” This is a further proof of our contention and the solid evidence of history truely confirms our point that just as Prophet Muhammad’s message is complete and universal, so is his character and personality a perfect and universal model.
Now the question arises what that universal message is which completed and superceded all religions and gave a perfect and lasting form to the Divine religion concluding Allah’s favour on mankind.
Every religion has two aspects to it: one that concerns the human heart, and the other that is related to the physical side of human personality, its possessions and property etc. The first may be called faith while the other may be called acts or deeds. Human deeds can be classified into three main streams. The first one includes man’s relation with Allah and its manifestion in various modes of worship. The second includes all kinds of dealings amongst human beings a major part of which is the law. The third includes; interrelations, governed by moral principles. Thus the four major components of a religion are: (1) belief or faith, (2) worship, (3) business deals, (4) morals. These four fundamental principles have come to their perfection through Prophet Muhammad’s divine message.
In contrast, the Torah and the New Testament are ambiguous and absolutely unclear about faith or belief. There is some mentioning of the presence of God or sometimes unity of God but without any evidence or sound argument. The attributes of God that can really nourish the human soul, and their knowledge can lead to an understanding and love of God, are missing. Next to the faith in the Oneness of God comes the faith in His Prophets; the nature of Prophethood; divine revelation and inspiration; communication with God; the explanation of certain basic facts such as the holy Prophets of God being human but infallible in their conveying of God’s Message; their being sent to all nations at different times of human history; their holy mission and duties; their status among the human beings and how they ought to be regarded and recognized. Facts like these are hardly mentioned in the holy books of any religion before Islam. The accountability of man, Heaven and Hell, The Day of Judgment and the life in the Hereafter are mentioned in a few sentences in reply to a Jew’s question in the Bible. On such vital issues the Bible contains just a few sentences. Similarly, Heaven and Hell are mentioned in a sentence or two. But Prophet Muhammad’s message deals with all these matters clearly and in great detail. The idea of angels is mentioned in Torah but it is so vague that sometimes t is difficult to distinguish between the angels and God. In the Bible one or two angels are mentioned but the entity mentioned as the Holy Ghost is so mystifying that it can be taken as angel or God. However, in the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) there is a very clear definition of angels, their function, their status, the various duties that they have been assigned, and their relation to Allah and His Messengers and other creatures of the universe is thoroughly explained.
Prophet Muhammad’s Message not only perfects the idea of faith and belief with respect to God and the Unknown it also clearly defines the practical aspect of human life. Let us consider the most important feature of human actions i.e. the mode of worship. There is a long discussion in the Old Testament regarding sacrificial rites. In addition, there is fasting and supplications. “Baitullah” or the House of God is named, too. But, all these things are so vague that most people fail to take any notice of them and usually ignore them or even deny them. The rites of worship are not clearly defined nor classified, neither is there any clear instruction on how to perform them. No time has been fixed for their performance. There are no particular supplications or rememberance of God taught in a regular manner. There are plenty of hymns and sacred songs in the Book of Psalms in the Bible. Yet, there is no mention of a proper way of worship, its timing and other guidelines. The other books of the Bible hardly ever mention any worship. It does mention Christ’s starving for forty days which could be called fasting. The Jews’ objection to Jesus (Peace be upon him) “Why don’t your disciples fast?” is mentioned in the Bible itself. Apart from that, Christ’s prayer is mentioned on the eve of the Crucifixion and he is reported to have taught his disciples a prayer. However, it is not possible to extract from the Bible any subscribed methods of worship.
Compare all this to the teaching of Islam Here you will find everything clearly defined and in full detail. Clear and complete instructions are avail able for Salat (the five time prayer), for fasting, for Hajj (the Pilgrimage to Makkah), etc. The manners and conditions for performing these and other Islamic rites have been fully described, such as the prescribed times for the daily prayers, the times for keeping and breaking the fast, the time for the performance of Hajj. In addition, special prayers and supplications, the remembrance and glorification of Almighty Allah, how to turn to Him in all kinds of needs, how to ask His forgiveness, confession of sins and seeking His pardon and mercy—all these have been taught in a very simple and attractive manner so that the bond of worship and love is established between Allah and His servants. These teachings provide nourishment for the soul of man, uplifting him and uniting him with his Creator and Sustainer, They are the embodiment of the spirit of religion.
Another aspect of human actions is their mutual dealings and the rules of government. This part of human endeavor has been dealt with in detail in the message of Prophet Moses (Peace be upon him). These laws have been retained to a great extent in Prophet Muhammad’s Shari’ah (Divine laws revealed to him). However, they are not as severe, and they have been raised from a narrow national sphere to an all embracing universal level. As their new status required some changes, new components have been added which were lacking in the old laws. For instance, there were no laws regarding divorce and its related matters except one or two rules in the Bible. However, a universal code of life like Islam needed to provide complete guidance in government and social affairs. Christ’s message did not include these, so the Christian nations had to borrow from the laws of the pagan Greeks and Romans. In Prophet Muhammad’s message, the Divine laws completly cover every aspect of the social and political needs of a civilized society and lay down fundamental principles which have ever since enabled the Muslim scholars to find out viable solutions to all kinds of problems and varying human needs over hundreds of years. Islam has dominated the world for over a thousand years and it has established numerous civilized and stable governments in all parts of the world. All these governments successfully applied and followed the Islamic law. This world has yet to present a better system.
The third aspect of human conduct is their moral behaviour. In the Torah we find some guidelines regarding morality consisting of seven fundamental principles—one is of positive nature like obeying the parents and the rest are negative like: “don’t commit murder, theft, and adultery; don’t give false evidence against your neighbour; don’t covet your neighbour’s wife, or his wealth.” In the Bible, more or less the same commandments have been repeated with the instruction to love others in a general sort of way. This may be regarded as an improvement on what is found in Torah. But the final Divine Message of the holy Quran has turned this drop into a full flowing river. First, it determines the twelve fundamental principles, revealed to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) during his ascent to the Heavens. They are mentioned in the Quranic chapter called Isra. Of these, one is concerned with the faith in the Oneness of God and the rest deal with human morals. They are a combination of do’s and don’ts.
The do’s are: Obey your parents. Fulfil your obligations to others. Treat the orphans with kindness. Give the correct measure and weight; Keep your promise as you will have to give an account of your deeds.
The don’ts include; do not kill your offspring for fear of poverty. Do not commit murder. Do not even go near adultery. Do not follow blindly an unknown path. Do not be vain. Do not be extravagant, but follow a middle path.
A comparative look at these fundamental principles clearly indicates that Prophet Muhammad’s message is a continuation and completion of the Divine Message given to Christ and, before him, to Moses (Peace be upon them). These moral principles explain the complexities of ethical values and show how human potential can be fully realized. They also expose the weaknesses of human beings, diagnose every sickness of their soul, and provide its cure. That was how the perfection of human personality came about through the Message of the holy Prophet (Peace be upon him).
Islamic teachings can be summed up in two words; Faith and Practice. Faith in Allah and righteous deeds dominate overwhelmingly Prophet Muhammad’s message. The holy Quran clearly indicates that human salvation entirely depends on these two fundamental principles. It demands from us a pure and firm faith accompanied by pure and decent deeds. Verses like “Those who believe and do good deeds” are repeated scores of times in the holy Quran and it is made absolutely clear that our eternal success depends on nothing but true faith and good deeds. I would have liked to explain this point further with greater details but unfortunately it is not possible to treat this subject in full detail on this occasion. Therefore, I would prefer to emphasize only those aspects of the holy Prophet’s message that particularly deal with humanity’s misconception of these two basic principles of faith and practice and how his message corrects those mistakes and shows them a perfect way of life through Divine guidance. These misconceptions have led and continue to lead a major part of humanity away from their Creator and Sustainer, and have thrown them into the pit of ignorance and decadence. These mistakes are the root cause of the corruption of the human soul and condemn it to its eternal doom.
The first of those issues, made clear by Prophet Muhammad’s Message, is to determine the status of humanity in the whole universe, particularly in relation to other creatures of Allah, and this very principle is the root of the Muslim article of faith i.e. the Oneness of God. Before Islam, man used to regard himself inferior to most creatures of Allah. He was awed by objects and creatures of nature such as a hard rock, a high mountain, a flowing river or a green tree, pouring rain or burning fire, fearsome jungles, poisonous snakes or roaring lions. He revered the milk-giving cow, the brilliant sun and the shining stars. Dark nights and weird forms would strike terror in his heart. In short, he would bow his head and worship anything that could either harm him or benefit him. But Allah’s Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) brought him this message: “O people! These things are not your masters, rather you are their masters. You have not been created for their sake. They have been created to serve you. They are at your service, so why do you bow to them in worship? O Men! You are Allah’s viceroy and deputy in the universe. Therefore every thing in it has been put at your disposal. The universe is at your command. You have not been created for its sake.” In the words of the holy Quran:
(Remember) when your Lord said to the angels, “I am going to create a deputy on the earth…” (Chp 2: Vrs 30)
That is what has given Adam (Peace be upon him) and his sons the most dignified position in Allah’s creation. Allah says in the holy Quran:
“And We bestowed dignity on the children of ‘Ādam…” (Chp 17: Vrs 70)
Is it then becoming of man to bow to other inferior creatures of Allah? Islamic teachings tell human beings that the whole world has been created for their use.
Let’s consider a few verses of holy Quran at this juncture:
It is He who created for you all that the earth contains; (Chp.2:Vrs.29)
He has created cattle in which there is warmth and other benefits for you; and from them you have food; (Chp. 16: Vrs. 5)
He is the One who sent down water from the heavens, of which you have your drink; and with it (you grow) plants on which you pasture your cattle.
He causes the crops therewith to grow for you, and olives, and date palms, and grape vines, and all the fruits. Surely, in that, there is a sign for a people who ponder.
He has subjugated for you the day and the night and the sun and the moon, and the stars (too) are subservient by His command. Surely, in that, there are signs for a people who understand. (Chp. 16:Vrs. 10-12)
He is the One who has subjugated the sea, so that you may eat fresh meat from it, and may take out from it ornaments you wear, and you see the boats cleaving through it, and so that you may seek His bounty, and that you may be grateful. (Chp. 16:Vrs. 14)
It is He who made you the vicegerents of the earth and raised some of you in ranks over others (Chp.6:Vrs. 165)
Did you not see that Allah has subjugated to you everything on the earth, (Chp.22:Vrs.65)
There are numerous verses of the holy Quran that tell and teach this theme. The great Persian poet of Shiraz, Sa’di, expresses the same idea in a couplet when he says that the cloud, the wind, the moon, the sun and the heavens are all at work so that you may get your daily bread, and eat it gratefully (not being unmindful of your Creator’s bounties).
The above quoted verses of the holy Quran make the Prophet’s message very clear that man holds the central position in the universe; he is Allah’s deputy on earth; he is the basic theme of all creation. He has been honored thus in Allah’s word:
“And We bestowed dignity on the children of ‘Ādam…” (Chp 17: Vrs 70)
Having known his position in the universe, is it becoming of man to serve lesser created beings and bow his head in reverence to others?
Men, in their ignorance, have often raised some of their own kings to the status of God, sometimes in the holy garb of incarnation and sometimes in the form of mighty tyrants. Be it a Pharaoh or a Nimrod, a bishop or a Pope, an ascetic or a saint, it is an insult to humanity to become a slave of their own kind. Prophet Muhammad’s message strikes at the very root of this evil. In the words of holy Quran:
We shall never invoke any god other than Him, (Chp. 18: Vrs. 14)
Even the Prophet’s are not allowed to ask people for the kind of obedience that is reserved for Allah. A Prophet cannot say: Be ye my worshippers; Rather than God’s.
The greatest among the created beings that we can see are the Prophets, and then those that belong to the unseen world are His Angels. Even they do not have the right to be worshipped by man:
It is not (possible) for a man that Allah gives him the Book, the wisdom and the prophethood, then he starts saying to the people “Become my worshippers, aside from Allah” rather, (he would say), “Be men of the Lord; as you have been teaching the Book, and as you have been learning it.”(Chp.3:Vrs.79)
Nor is it (possible for him) that he bids you to hold the angels and the prophets as Lords. (Chp. 3:Vrs.80)
He is the One who is God to be worshipped in the sky, and God to be worshipped on the earth. And He is the Wise, the All-Knowing (Chp43:Vrs.84)
To Him alone belong the creation and the command. (Chp.7:Vrs.54)
The Decision belongs to none but Allah. He relates the Truth and He is the best of all judges. (Chp.6:Vrs.57)
we worship none but Allah, that we associate nothing with Him and that some of us do not take others as Lords instead of Allah. (Chp.3:Vrs.64)
the One to whom belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, and who did neither have a son, nor is there any partner to him in the Kingdom, and who has created everything and designed it in a perfect measure. (Chp. 25:Vrs.2)
Keep in mind these verses of the Divine Message and it will be revealed to you that not only has it raised the position of humanity to the highest degree among the created beings, it has made the Oneness of God extremely clear and easy to understand. There is no “Caesar” beside Allah. Every thing belongs to Allah, nothing to Caesar. His power is absolute. His command extends to everything big or small in the Universe. All glory belongs to Him alone.
In short, Prophet Muhammad’s message from Allah has raised the status of humanity to a point where a humanbeing can bow to no one but Allah, and they cannot humiliate themselves by seeking help from anyone except Allah. His power extends to everything, great or small. If He decides to take from someone, there is no power that can give them anything, and if He decides to give, no one is there to stop Him.
My dear friends! Tell me solemnly and sincerely. Can man ever worship and adore anyone other than Allah while he has been chosen to be His deputy on earth? Be it the light of day or the darkness of night, the air or the water, the king or the enemy, the forests or the hills, the rivers or the deserts, can a true believer’s heart turn to anything but Allah? Absolutely nothing can overawe a believer in God. Look at this exalted message of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and think of the moral power of his spiritual teachings.
Another fundamental principle of his teachings is that a man is primarily innocent and pure in his creation. Deep down in his nature he is simple and untainted by any sin. His own willful deeds make him a devil or an angel. By his own choice he can become a sinner or a saint. He himself blackens and brightens his basically pure nature. That is the greatest piece of good news that could be given to a human being and it has come through Allah’s Prophet, Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
The wide spread religions of China, India, Burma and even some of the Greek philosophers believe in re-incarnation. According to this belief man keeps appearing in this world in different cycles, and each phase is predetermined by his deeds, good or bad, in the previous cycle. This baseless faith leaves human being hopeless. Human life becomes a mere burden, because it leaves human beings chained by the consequences of imaginary sins they are supposed to have committed in a previous life. It leaves them with no free will, no choice. According to this faith man is a mere tool of a predetemfmed faith and his very re-birth is a sign of his being sinful. Even Christianity does not lighten this burden. It has rather increased it, because according to Christian teachings every human being is originally a sinner because they have inherited their father Adam’s sin even though they may not have committed any sin at all. Therefore, they need someone free from the original sin, someone not from their own race to sacrifice himself and atone for all sins of the human beings.
But Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) came as a messenger of
God and gave the glad tidings to the suffering humanity that they were not just tools of a predetermined faith. They were not haunted by any sins they had not themselves committed. They were born in a pure, sinless state, untainted by any original sin. They themselves had the choice to be clean and taint, pure or sinful and dirty by their own deeds. In the words of Allah:
I swear by the Fig and the Olive,
and by Tūr, the mount of Sinai,
and by this peaceful city,
We have created man in the best composition,
then We turned him into the lowest of the low,
except those who believed and did righteous deeds, because for them there is a reward never ending. (Chp.95:Vrs. 1-6)
Man has been given these good tidings through Allah’s Prophet, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) that he has been created with the best and purest nature. He has been given the most balanced state of creation. If he does not use his discretion and do good deeds, he can fall lower than the beasts because of his bad deeds. In another chapter of holy Quran Allah says:
and by the soul, and the One who made it well,
then inspired it with its (instincts of) evil and piety,
success is really attained by him who purifies it,
and failure is really suffered by him who pollutes it (Chp.91:Vrs.7-10)
There cannot be greater evidence and a clearer message in favour of basic human nature. In another chapter of the holy Quran, Al-Dahr, it is stated:
We have created man from a mixed sperm-drop to put him to a test; then We made him able to hear, able to see.
We have shown him the way to be either grateful or ungrateful. (Chp.76:Vrs.2-3)
And in a Surah called “Al-lnfitar”;
O man! What has deceived you about your Gracious Lord,
who created you, then perfected you, then brought you in due proportion?
He composed you in whichever form He willed. (Chp.82:Vrs.6-8)
In the inspired language of the holy Prophet’s Message, the word Deen
(A way of life and faith in Allah) and the word nature are synonymous. They are two words, but have the same meaning, the same significance.
All true nature is Deen, the way Allah wants his creation to follow, the Way of submission and obedience to the Creator. Man’s sins or the disease of disobedience came from outside attacking and spoiling the purity of his true nature. The holy Quran says:
So, set your face to the Faith uprightly, this (faith) being the nature designed by Allah on which He has created the mankind. There is no change in Allah‘s creation. That is the straight faith, but most of the people do not know. (Chp.30:Vrs.30)
The Prophet of Islam has fully explained this verse of the holy Quran in one of his sayings (quoted in the authentic book of his sayings, Al Bukhari). According to this saying every baby is born with untainted nature, with a pure soul. But it is the parents who make him a Jew, a Christian or a worshipper of fire. Even a beast normally gives birth to fully developed offspring with no deformity. Then the holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) quoted the above mentioned verse of the holy Quran.
We ought to see how miraculously the holy Prophet’s message liberates mankind from the eternal burden of the original sin, and reassures them of the essential goodness of the human soul.
Before Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) the world was divided into different clans who hardly knew one another. In India, the holy men of Hinduism had confined their religion to their own sacred law. Their God was concerned with the welfare of their followers only. Its benefits were meant for the people of the land, particularly for certain families of a higher caste. Zoroaster heard the message of God, but only for the people of the holy land of Persia. The Children of Israel believed that no prophet would ever come from outside their own tribes. It is the Prophet of Islam who has brought the Divine Message for the whole mankind. His message is not limited to the East or the West. The Divine Guidance, sent down through him is not meant just for one country, or one nation or one language. In its sight, Palestine, Persia, India or Arabia have the same status. It was meant to enlighten all mankind. Therefore, its light has spread throughout the world. In the words of Allah
there was no community without a warner having passed among them. (Chp.35:Vrs.24)
For every people there is a messenger. (Chp.10:Vrs.47)
We had indeed sent before you messengers to their people. (Chp.30:Vrs.47)
A Jew does not recognize any prophet of non-Jewish origin. It is not required of a Christian to believe in the Jewish prophets or prophets from other nations. This does not stop him from being a true Christian. Believers in Hinduism do not believe in any voice of God, coming from outside India. A follower of Zoroaster sees darkness everywhere except in Persia. But it is Prophet Muhammad’s message which proclaims that all mankind belongs to Allah. He alone is their Creator. As His creation the whole human race is entitled to share His bounties. The Light of His guidance was sent down for every place inhabited by human beings. Be it Persia or India, Greece or China, Arabia or Syria, His Prophets were sent to them and through their teachings they received Allah’s Commandments.
As a result of Islamic teachings every Muslim knows that he cannot become a true believer i.e. Muslim unless he believes in all the Prophets, all heavenly books, and all Divine revelation that came before Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Those prophets who have been mentioned by name in the holy Quran, and those whose names have not been given by the holy Quran (whatever their names and their countries) are to be believed as true prophets of Allah. Who are Muslims? Look at the answers in the words of God:
and who believe in what has been revealed to you and what has been revealed before you; (Chp.2:Vrs.4)
In the same Chapter of the holy Quran it is mentioned:
but righteousness is that one believes in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Book and the Prophets, (Chp.2:Vrs.177)
Towards the end of the Surah, the Revelation says that Prophet Muhammad and his followers:
The Messenger has believed in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and the believers as well. All have believed in Allah and His angels and His Books and His Messengers. “We make no division between any of His Messengers,” (Chp.2:Vrs.285)
That means they cannot say they believe in some prophets and do not believe in others All Muslims have the command:
O you who believe, do believe in Allah and His Messenger and in the Book He has revealed to His Messenger and in the Books He has revealed earlier…. (Chp.4: Vrs. 136).
Dear friends! Can you find a parallel to these teachings of Prophet Muhammad? He teaches equality of souls, brotherly and mutual love of human beings, equal respect for all true religions, their leaders and Prophets, and true faith in all the messengers of Allah. His message of universal love, human sympathy and respect is all embracing. It reaches out to every single household wherever human beings live.
The followers of all religions, apart from Islam have established intermediaries between man and God. In the ancient temples there were the holy men and high priests. The Jews had taken Levi and his sons to be the intermediary between them and God, and only they could lead the service and perform other religious rites. The Christians had given some Disciples of Christ and their popes the same status, believing whatever they bind on earth would be bound in heaven and whatever they unbind here on earth would be unbound in heaven. They had been given the power to pardon the sins of all mankind. No service could be conducted without them. Like wise, among the Hindus the superior caste Brahmins believe they have been created out of the right hand of God. They alone form the link between man and God. No Hindu religious ceremony can be held without them. But in Islam, there are no high priests, Brahmins or popes. There is no clergy here. There is no superior caste or class. Allah alone has the power to bind or unbind. Only Allah has the power to pardon the sins. There is no intermediary here between man and Allah. Any ordinary Muslim can be an Imam to lead the Prayers, sacrifice an animal, or conduct a marriage contract or perform all religious rites. Here is the common call to all men and women:
Your Lord has said, “Call Me, I will respond to you…” (Chp.40:Vrs.60)
Everyone can communicate with Him, seek His Mercy through their supplication, bow to Him and offer their prayers, show their love and devotion. There is no need for any intermediary between the Creator and His devotees. This was a great freedom granted to mankind by the way of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). This freedom liberates man from the tyranny of man in all matters between the slaves and their – Lord, the Creator and Sustainer. In Islam every man is his own high priest. He is not dependent on any priest, pope or Brahmin.
Human history shows that they have always taken an extremist attitude towards the holy men of God who were ordained by Him, from time to time, to guide them to the right path. Their extreme devotion a reverence for them eventually took the form of worship. They were exalted to the status of God Himself, or God-incarnate or a manifestation of God. In the ancient temples of Babylon, Assyria and Egypt the high priests seem to have attained the glory of God. In Hinduism they are regarded as God-incarnate. The Buddhists and Jams considered their Buddha’s and guides as gods. The Christians called their prophet the son of God. On the other extreme, the Israelites began to consider anybody a prophet of God who could foretell the future. In order to be a prophet all one needed to do was make predictions and prophecies. It was not even necessary for him to be a man of noble conduct. That is why the present holy books of the Jews contain highly obnoxious and pornographic stories about some well-known and great prophets of God.
Islam has given this great position of Prophethood its due respect and honour. It says that Allah’s Prophets are not God, His likeness or God-incarnate. Nor is a Prophet, God’s son or His relative. They are men and nothing but men. All prophets were human beings and when Allah’s last Prophet declared that he was a man they would exclaim: “Can man be a God’s Messenger?” Islam says. ‘Yes’. The holy Quran says:
…Say, “I proclaim the Purity of my Lord. I am nothing but human, a messenger.” (Chp.l7:Vrs.93)
In Allah’s creation everything is under His command and control. His Prophets cannot interfere in the scheme of things of their own accord or their own power. Nor are they able to do anything superhuman of their own will. If they performed miracles, deeds beyond human power, it was with Allah’s permission and His command.
However, they are not ordinary human beings. Their achievements and missions raise them to a higher status which is impossible for an ordinary mortal to achieve. They have been chosen to speak for Allah. They receive Divine Revelation. They are free from all sins. They are impeccable in their obedience and service to Allah so that they can show others the right way through their own perfect personal example. Allah shows His signs and miracles at their hands. They always call mankind to goodness and virtue. They are to be respected and obeyed by all. They are special, sincere and true bondsmen of Allah. He has chosen them and given them the exalted status of Prophethood whereby they receive Divine Instruction and pass it onto others.
This is the well balanced and just approach regarding all the Prophets and Apostles of Allah which has been taught by Islam. It is free from all kinds of extreme and unreasonable ideas about Prophethood, and befits the religion of Islam which has established the doctrine of Oneness of Allah in the world beyond any doubt.
My dear friends! Today’s meeting has taken longer than expected but there is still a lot more to be said. God willing, I will continue my talk in our next meeting. A good part of the night is already over. Therefore, let us end today’s meeting with our homage to the great Teacher and Benefactor of mankind, Allah’s Prophet Muhammad. May Allah’s Blessings and Peace be upon him.