People’s Need for a Divine Message
People need a divine message to show them Allah’s laws and guide them to the right path. Indeed, a divine message is the spirit, light and the very life of the world, without which the world would certainly be lifeless and man would be plunged into the darkness of ignorance and misguidance?
It is for this reason that Almighty Allah calls His message a spirit, for there is no life without a spirit, as the Qur’an says, “We have thus revealed a Spirit to you by Our command. You knew neither the Scripture nor the faith, but We made it a light, guiding with it whomever We will of Our servants. You are indeed guiding to the straight path.” (Soorat Ash-Shooraa, 42:52)
Even though the intellect can generally distinguish between right and wrong, it cannot possibly comprehend the details of such a distinction, nor carry out acts of worship in the right manner without the dictates of revelation and the divine message.
Therefore, success and happiness can only be attained by following the guidance of Allah’s messengers. Similarly, no accurate line of demarcation can be drawn between right and wrong without following in their footsteps. Thus, whoever rejects the divine message will definitely lead a miserable and wretched life depending on the extent of their rejection of it.
It Is One of the Pillars of Faith
Belief in Allah’s messengers is one of the six pillars of eemaan (faith), as the Qur’an states, “The Messenger believes in that which has been revealed to him from his Lord and so do the believers. Each one believes in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers.” (Soorat Al-Baqarah, 2:285)
This verse makes it abundantly clear that we must believe in all of Allah’s messengers without making a distinction between any of them. We must not, therefore, believe in some of them and reject some others, as did the Jews and the Christians.
Defining eemaan (faith), the Prophet ﷺ also said in this connection, “It is to believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers and the Last Day, and to believe in the divine decree, both good and bad.” (Saheeh Muslim: 8)
The Meaning of Belief in the Messengers
This means firm belief that Allah ﷻ sent a messenger to every nation and community, calling its members to worship Allah alone without any partners, that all Allah’s messengers were truthful, virtuous, trustworthy and rightly-guided servants who strove hard to guide their people to the right path and conveyed Allah’s message to them in full, without concealing, omitting or adding anything to it. The Qur’an says, “Therefore, the messengers’ obligation is no more than to convey the message clearly.” (Soorat An-Nahl, 16:35)
What Does Belief in the Messengers Include?
- To believe that their message was truly from Allah ﷻ and that Allah had sent them with the same message, namely, to worship Allah alone and to avoid false gods, as the Qur’an states, “We sent a messenger among every people saying: ‘Worship Allah and keep clear of all false gods.’” (Soorat An-Nahl, 16:36)
Laws may vary as to the do’s and don’ts of the message with which prophets were sent to their people, depending on what laws suited their people best, as the Qur’an states, “For each [community to which a Messenger was sent with a Book] have We appointed a law and a practice.” (Soorat Al-Maa’idah, 5:48)
- To believe in all the prophets and messengers. We believe in those prophets whom Allah has named, such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, may Alloh’s peace and blessings be upon all of them. As for those whom He has not named, we believe in all of them in general. Those who disbelieve the message of one single prophet is considered to have disbelieved in all of them.
- To believe the authentic reports and accounts of the prophets and their miracles mentioned in the Qur’an and in the Prophet’s traditions, such as the story of Allah’s parting the Red Sea for Moses u.
- To act according to the dictates of the law revealed to our Prophet Muhammad r, who was the seal of the prophets and the best of all of them.
Some Characteristics of the Messengers
- They are human, and the only difference between us and them is that Allah had chosen them to receive His revelation and convey His divine message, as the Qur’an says, “We have only ever sent before you men to whom We revealed the message.” (Soorat Al-Anbiyyaa’, 21:7) Therefore, they have no divine attributes whatsoever. They are mere human beings who attained perfect physical appearance and enjoyed impeccable moral traits. They are also the most honourable of people in lineage and enjoyed sound judgement and clear, persuasive speech, which entitled them to assume the responsibility of conveying the divine message and bear the burden of prophethood. Almighty Allah ﷻ has only chosen messengers from among people so that they can set a good example for them, and so that people can follow in their footsteps, which they can possibly do.
- Allah ﷻ has chosen them from among people so they can convey the divine message to people, as the Qur’an states, “Say: ‘I am only a human being like you who has received revelation. Your god is One God. So let him who hopes to meet his Lord act rightly and not associate anyone in the worship of his Lord.’” (Soorat Al-Kahf, 18:110) It is clear, therefore, that prophethood cannot be attained as a result of spiritual purity, intelligence or mental logic, for the task of prophethood can only be determined by divine will, and Allah ﷻ knows best whom to appoint as His messengers, as the Qur’an states, “Allah knows best upon whom to bestow His message.” (Soorat Al-An‛aam, 6:124)
- They are infallible in the sense that they do not make mistakes when conveying Allah’s message to the people and executing what Allah has revealed to them.
- Truthfulness: They are truthful in their words and deeds, as the Qur’an states, “This is what the Most promised, and the messengers told the truth.” (Soorat Yaa Seen, 36:52)
- Patience and Perseverance: They called to Allah’s religion, bringing good news and giving warning, and were subjected to various forms of harm and hardships, but they patiently bore all that for the sake of making the word of Allah reign supreme, as the Qur’an states, “So be steadfast as the Messengers with firm resolve were also steadfast.” (Soorat Al-Ahqaaf, 46:35)
The Messengers’ Signs and Miracles
Allah ﷻ supported His messengers with a number of signs and miracles to prove their truthfulness and prophethood. A miracle, or mu‛jizah, is an extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers. It is performed by prophets, by Allah’s command, for its credential value, to accredit them as Allah’s true messengers
Examples of miracles include:
- Moses’s rod turning into a snake
- Jesus’s informing his people of what they ate and stored in their houses
- The splitting of the moon for Prophet Muhammad r