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Articles of Faith New Muslims

Belief in the Prophets

Belief in certain prophets who God chose to relay His message to humans is a required article of Islamic faith.

“The Prophet (Muhammad) believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers.  Each one believes in God, His Angels, His Books, and His prophets.  (They say,) ‘We make no distinction between one another of His prophets…’” (Quran 2:285)

God conveys His message and relates His will through human prophets.  They form a link between the earthly beings and the heavens, in the sense that God has picked them to deliver His message to human beings.  There are no other channels to receive divine communications.  It is the system of communication between the Creator and the created.  God does not send angels to every single individual, nor does He open the skies so people can climb up to receive the message.  His way of communication is through human prophets who receive the message through angels.

To have faith in the prophets (or messengers) is to firmly believe that God chose morally upright men to bear His message and pass it to humanity.  Blessed were those who followed them, and wretched were those who refused to obey.  They faithfully delivered the message, without hiding, altering, or corrupting it.  Rejecting a prophet is rejecting the One who sent him, and disobeying a prophet is disobeying the One who commanded to obey him.

God sent to every nation a prophet, mostly from amongst them, to call them to worship God alone and to shun false gods.

“And ask (O Muhammad) those of Our prophets whom We sent before you: ‘Did We ever appoint gods to be worshipped besides the Most Merciful (God)?’” (Quran 43:45)

Muslims believe in those prophets mentioned by name in Islamic sources, such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, David, Solomon, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, to name a few.  A general belief is held in those not mentioned by name, as God says:

“And, indeed We have sent prophets before you (O Muhammad), of some of them We have related to you their story, and of some We have not related to you their story…” (Quran 40:78)

Muslims firmly believe the final prophet was the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, and there will be no prophet or messenger after him.

To appreciate this fact, one must understand that the teachings of the last prophet are preserved in original language in their primary sources.  There is no need for another prophet.  In the case of earlier prophets, their scriptures were lost or their message was corrupted to the point that truth was hardly distinguishable from falsehood.  The message of the Prophet Muhammad is clear and preserved and will remain so till the end of time.

The Purpose for Sending Prophets

We can identify the following main reasons for sending prophets:

(1)  Guiding humanity from the worship of created beings to the worship of their Creator, from being in a state of servitude to the creation to the freedom of worshipping their Lord.

(2)  Clarifying to humanity the purpose of creation: worshipping God and obeying His commands, as well as clarifying that this life is a test for each individual, a test of which its results will decide the type of life one will lead after death; a life of eternal misery or eternal bliss.  There is no other definite way to find the true purpose of creation.

(3)  Showing humanity the right path that will lead them to Paradise and to salvation from Hellfire.

(4)  Establishing proof against humanity by sending prophets, so people will not have an excuse when they will be questioned on the Day of Judgment.  They will not be able to claim ignorance to the purpose of their creation and life after death.

(5)  Uncovering the unseen ‘world’ which exists beyond the normal senses and the physical universe, such as the knowledge of God, existence of angels, and the reality of the Day of Judgment.

(6)  Providing human beings practical examples to lead moral, righteous, purpose-driven lives free of doubts and confusion.  Innately, human beings admire fellow human beings, so the best examples of righteousness for humans to imitate are those of God’s prophets.

(7)  Purifying the soul from materialism, sin, and heedlessness.

(8)  Conveying to humanity the teachings of God, which is for their own benefit in this life and in the Hereafter.

Their Message

The single most important message of all prophets to their people was to worship God alone and none else and to follow His teachings.  All of them, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Jesus, Muhammad and others, in addition to those we do not know – invited people to worship God and shun false gods.

Moses declared: “Hear, O Israel The Lord our God is one Lord.” (Deuteronomy 6:4).

This was repeated 1500 years later by Jesus, when he said: “The first of all the commandments is, ‘Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord.’” (Mark 12:29).

Finally, the call of Muhammad some 600 years later reverberated across the hills of Mecca:

“And your God is One God: there is no god but He…” (Quran 2:163)

The Holy Quran states this fact clearly:

“And We did not send any Messenger before you (O Muhammad) but We revealed to him (saying): ‘none has the right to be worshipped but I, so worship Me.’” (Quran 21:25)

The Message Bearers

God chose the best among humanity to deliver His message.  Prophethood is not earned or acquired like higher education.  God chooses whom He pleases for this purpose.

They were the best in morals and they were mentally and physically fit, protected by God from falling into cardinal, major sins.  They did not err or commit mistakes in delivering the message.  They were over one hundred thousand prophets sent to all mankind, to all nations and races, in all corners of the world.  Some prophets were superior to others.  The best among them were Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him.

People went to extremes with the prophets.  They were rejected and accused of being sorcerers, madmen, and liars.  Others turned them into gods by giving them divine powers, or declared them to be His children, like what happened to Jesus.

In truth, they were fully human with no divine attributes or power.  They were God’s worshipping slaves.  They ate, drank, slept, and lived normal human lives.  They did not have the power to make anyone accept their message or to forgive sins.  Their knowledge of future was limited to what God revealed to them.  They had no part in running the affairs of the universe.

Out of the Infinite Mercy and Love of God, He sent to humanity prophets, guiding them to that which is the best. He sent them as an example for humanity to follow, and if one does follow their example, they would live a life in accordance to the Will of God, earning His Love and Pleasure

 

 

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Articles of Faith New Muslims

Prophethood in Islam

Guidance can be obtained neither from science nor from mystic experience.

Guidance can be obtained neither from science nor from mystic experience.

Prophethood is not unknown to heavenly revealed religions, such as Judaism and Christianity. In Islam, however, it has a special status and significance.

According to Islam, Allah 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 the purpose of his existence unless he received clear and practical instructions of what Allah wants him to do? Here comes the need for prophethood. Thus Allah has chosen from every nation at least one Prophet to convey His Message to people.

One might ask, how were the prophets chosen and who were entitled to this great honor?

Prophethood is Allah’s blessing and favor that He may bestow on whom He wills. However, from surveying the various messengers throughout history, three features of a prophet may be recognized:

1. He is the best in his community morally and intellectually. This is necessary because a prophet’s life serves as a role model for his followers. His personality should attract people to accept his message rather than drive them away by his imperfect character. After receiving the message, he is 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 imposter. Those miracles are granted by the power and permission of God and are usually in the field in which his people excel and are recognized as superior. We might illustrate this by quoting the major miracles of the three prophets of the major world religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Moses’ (peace be upon him) contemporaries were excellent in magic, so his major miracle was to defeat the best magicians of Egypt of his day. Jesus’ (peace be upon him) contemporaries were recognized as skilled physicians; therefore, his miracles were to raise the dead and cure incurable diseases. The Arabs, the 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 Arab poets and orators could not produce, despite the repeated challenge from the Qur’an itself.

Again, Muhammad’s miracle has something special about it. All previous miracles were limited by time and place; that is, they were shown to specific people at a specific time. Not so with the miracle of Prophet Muhammad; the Qur’an. 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 can still 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 that 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? These and so many other questions about God, angels, paradise, hell, and more, cannot be answered without direct 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 elite of their societies in terms of moral conduct and intellectual ability.

Hence, the slanderous Biblical stories about some of the great prophets are not accepted by Muslims. For example, Lot is reported to have committed incestuous fornication while drunk. David is alleged to have sent one of his leaders to his death in order to marry his wife. Prophets, to Muslims, are greater than what these stories indicate. These stories cannot be true from the Islamic point of view.

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 summarized as follows:

a) Clear concept of God: His attributes, His creation, what should and should not be ascribed to Him.

b) Clear idea about the unseen world, the angels, jinn (spirits), Paradise and Hell.

c) Why God has created us, what He wants from us and what rewards and punishments are for obedience and disobedience.

d) 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 smoothly functioning, harmonious 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 is revelation. Guidance can be obtained neither from science nor from mystic experience. The first is too materialistic and limited; the second is too subjective and frequently misleading.

Now one might ask:

How many prophets has God sent to humanity?

We do not know for sure. Some Muslim scholars have suggested 240,000 prophets. We are only sure of what is clearly mentioned in the Qur’an, that God has sent a messenger to every nation. That is because it is one of God’s principles that He will never call a people to account unless He has made clear to them what to do and what not to do. The 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 (peace be upon them all). 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 exceptions. All the prophets came from the same One God, for the same purpose: to lead mankind to God. Hence, belief in them all is essential and logical; accepting some and rejecting others has to be based on misconceptions of the prophet’s role or on a racial bias.

The Muslims are the only people in the world who consider the belief in all the prophets an article of faith. Thus the Jews reject Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them), and the Christians reject Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Muslims accept them all as Messengers of God who brought guidance to mankind. However, the revelations which those prophets before Muhammad brought from God has been tampered with in one way or another.

The belief in all the prophets of God is enjoined upon the Muslims in the Qur’an:

Say (O Muslims): We believe in Allah and that which is revealed to us and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael, and Isaac and Jacob, and their children, and that which Moses and Jesus received and that the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them and unto Him we have surrendered. (Al-Baqarah 2:136)

The 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 in the right track. If they do not, they must be following their own whims and biases and God will take care of them. Thus we read:

And if they believe in what you believe, then they are rightly guided. But if they turn away, then they are in disunity, and Allah will suffice you against them. He is the Hearer, the Knower. This is God’s religion and who is better than God in religion? (Al-Baqarah 2:137-138)

There are, at least, two important points related to prophethood that need to be clarified. These points concern the roles of Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them) as prophets, who are usually misunderstood.

The Qur’anic account of Jesus 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 the son of God and mentions, in this respect, Adam, who was created by God without a father or mother.

Truly, the likeness of Jesus, in God’s sight, is as Adam’s likeness; He created him of dust, them said He unto him “Be”, and he was. (Aal `Imran 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 he preached was not recorded during his presence in the world. Rather, it was recorded after a lapse of about one 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 when Jesus son of Mary said, “Children of Israel. I am indeed the messenger to you, confirming the Torah that is before me, and giving good tidings of a Messenger who shall come after me, whose name shall be the praised one. (As-Saff 61:6)

(The “praised one” is the translation of “Ahmad”, which is Prophet Muhammad’s name.)

However, the majority of the Jews rejected his ministry. They plotted against his life and in their opinion, crucified him. But the 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 the Christians and Jews will believe in him before he dies. This is also supported by authentic sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.

The last Prophet of God, Muhammad, was born in Arabia in the sixth century C.E. Up to the age of forty, people of Makkah knew him only as a man of excellent character and cultured manners and called him Al-Ameen (the trustworthy).

He also did not know that he was soon to be made a prophet and receiver of revelation from God. He called the idolaters of Makkah to worship the one and only God and accept him (Muhammad) as His prophet. The revelation that he received was preserved in his lifetime in the memory of his companions and was also recorded on pieces of palm leaf, leather, etc. Thus the 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 claims to be the book of guidance for all of humanity for all times, and mentions Muhammad as the last Prophet of God.

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Source: iiie.net

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Divine Unity New Muslims

From Adam to Noah: The Need for Guidance

nature landscape

They were one united community. Adam was the one father of all of them, and Allah was their One Lord.

After Adam (peace and blessings be upon him) Allah blessed the descendants of Adam, his children and grandchildren, and they spread and multiplied. If Adam had come back and seen them all, and someone had said to him, ‘These are your descendants, Adam’, he  would have been astonished. He would have said, ‘Glory be to Allah! These are all my children! These are all my descendants!‘

Adam’s descendants founded many villages. They built many houses. They ploughed the land, grew crops  and lived in comfort and contentment. They followed the way of their ancestor, Adam. They worshipped only Allah and did not worship anything else besides Him.

They were one united community. Adam was the one father of all of them, and Allah was their One Lord.

Satan’s Envy

Satan had not bowed down to Adam when Allah had commanded him to do so. So he was driven out and damned forever. But how could Satan and his descendants be content with this? Were not people still worshipping Allah? Were not people still a single community with no differences?

That could not be! Would Adam’s descendants go to the Garden (Paradise) while Iblis and his descendants went to the Fire? That could not be! Should not he take revenge on the sons of Adam so that they would go to the Fire with him?

Satan’s Idea

But how could Satan do that when people were worshipping Allah? He decided to call them to worship idols so that they would go to the Fire and never get to the Garden.

He knew that Allah forgives people all sins, if He so wills, except one. Allah never forgives people worshipping other things besides Him or as well as Him.

So Satan decided to call the people to associate  other things with Allah so that they would never go to the Garden. But how could he persuade them?

If he went to the people and said to them, ‘Worship idols’. ‘Do not worship Allah’, they would curse him and chase him off. They would say: ‘Allah forbid! How can we associate other things with our Lord? How can we worship idols? You are a cursed Satan! You are a foul Satan!‘

So Satan had to look for another way, a cleverer way, to get the people to do as he wanted.

Satan’s Trick

There had been men who feared Allah and worshipped Him night and day and who remembered Him often.

They had loved Allah, so Allah had loved them and answered their prayers. People loved them and spoke of them with respect long after they had died and gone to Allah’s mercy.

Satan was well aware of this. So he went to the people and mentioned those men. He said, ‘What do you think of so-and-so and so-and-so and so-and-so?’

They said, ‘Glory be to Allah! They were men of Allah and His friends. When those men prayed, He answered them. When they asked, He gave to them.’

Pictures of the Righteous Men

Satan asked, ‘How great is your sorrow for them?’ They replied, ‘Very great indeed. He asked, ‘How great is your longing for them?‘ They replied, ‘Very great indeed!‘

He asked, ‘Why don’t you look at them every day then?‘ They said, ‘How can we do that when they are dead?‘ He said, ‘Make pictures of them and look at them every morning.

People liked Satan’s idea and made such pictures and looked at them every day. Whenever they saw the pictures, they remembered how those holy men had lived.

From Pictures to Statues

In time, the people moved on from making pictures to making statues. They made many statues of the holy men and put them in their houses and their mosques.

They still worshipped Allah and did not associate anything with Him. They knew that these were only statues of holy men and that they could neither help nor hurt them nor provide for them. They showed them respect because they were reminders of the holy men.

As time passed, the number of statues increased.

The people respected them more and more. They got used to having them around and looked for blessings in them.

Now whenever one of their holy men died, they would make a statue of him and name it alter him.

From Statues to Idols

Sons saw their fathers looking for blessings through the statues and saw how much respect they had for them.

They saw them kiss the statues, dress them and pray to Allah in their presence. They saw them lower their heads and bow down in their presence.

When the fathers passed away, the sons added to what their fathers had done. They began to prostrate themselves before them, to ask the statues for things and to sacrifice animals to them. In this way the statues were turned into idols.

People began to worship them as they had worshipped Allah before. They had a lot of these idols. One was Wadd. Another was Suwa’. This was Yaghuth. That was Ya`uq. Another was Nasr.

Allah’s Anger

Allah became very angry with the people. He cursed them. How could Allah not be angry with the people because of what they were doing? Was this what they were created for? Was this what they were given provision for?

They walked on Allah’s earth, but rejected Allah! They ate Allah’s provision, but associated others with Allah! How terrible a sin!

Allah was so angry with the people that He held back the rain and made things hard for them. Their harvests were small and few children were born to them.

But the people did not learn their lesson from that, they did not understand. They did not turn to Allah in repentance. They needed good counsel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        To be continued…

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s Stories of the Prophets, UK Islamic Academy publications.

 

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Divine Unity New Muslims

Between Russell Crowe, Biblical Noah and Qur’anic Noah

Noah movie

The movie “Noah” is an American epic biblically-inspired fantasy film based on the story of Noah’s Ark.

Nowadays, we all hear about the American movie “Noah” which is an American epic biblically-inspired fantasy film based on the story of Noah’s Ark, starring Russell Crowe as Prophet Noah.

As a matter of fact, many people do not know that the story of Noah is also quoted in the Qur’an as Muslims believe in Noah as a prophet of God. While the story of Prophet Noah is cited only once in the Genesis, it is recounted more than once in the Qur’an.

While we can find the story of Prophet Noah once in the Bible (Genesis 5:32-10:1), we can read it in several positions in the Qur’an, taking into consideration that there is a standalone chapter in the Qur’an dealing with the story of Noah, which is named after him: “Chapter of Noah”.

As the Arabic word “نوح” (“Noah” in English) is repeated about 43 times in the Qur’an as a reference to Prophet Noah, there are several positions where the story of Noah is narrated in detail (the Chapter of Noah as a whole [Noah 71:1-28]. , Al-Qamar 54:9-17, As-Saffat 37:75-82, Al-`Ankabut 29:14-15, Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:105-122, Al-Furqan 25:37, Al-Mu’minun 23:23-30, Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:76-77, Hud11:36-49, Yunus 10:71-73, Al-A`raf 7:59-64)

In fact, there is considerable similarity between the Qur’anic narration and the biblical narration on which the film is based but with reservations.

Indeed, the biblical account involves some statements which contradict the Qur’anic narration and sometimes the very commonsense. According to the Islamic perspective, such differences are attributable to the systematic distortion to which the Bible was exposed at several points of time.

For example, the Bible says that God repented the creation of man on the Earth and this grieved Him at His heart. That is why He said that He would destroy man from the face of the ground even along with beasts, the creeping things and the birds of the heavens. (Genesis 6:5-7)

In comparison, the Qur’an does not make mention of any repentance on the part of God. According to Islam, it does not beseem God to show human feelings especially repentance, regret and the like.

Under Islam, God foreknows everything and so He is unlikely to show regret. When God created man, He foreknew that he is likely to do evil. In the Qur’an, we read the following verse:

And (mention, O Muhammad), when your Lord said to the angels, ‘Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.’ They said, ‘Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?’ God said, ‘Indeed, I know that which you do not know.’ (Al-Baqarah 2:30)

The Qur’an tells us that the Trust was offered to the heavens, the earth and the mountains, but they declined to bear it and feared it, but man undertook to bear it. (Al-Ahzab 33:72)

The Qur’an goes on, making clear the consequences of bearing such Trust:

(It was) so that God may punish the hypocrite men and hypocrite women and the men and women who associate others with Him and that God may accept repentance from the believing men and believing women. And ever is God Forgiving and Merciful. (Al-Ahzab 33:73)

Thus, God knows beforehand what people are going to do even before He creates them. He will reward those who will do good, no matter how a few they may be. Likewise, He will punish those who will do evil, no matter how many they may be.

Furthermore, the Bible states that Noah “drank of the wine, and was drunken. And he was uncovered within his tent.” (Genesis 9:21)

Quran

The story of Noah is also quoted in the Qur’an as Muslims believe in Noah as a prophet of God

Since Muslims believe that Noah was a prophet of God, they cannot believe that a prophet of God might have drunk wine, been drunken or uncovered within his tent. According to them, an ordinary good man is unlikely to do that.

By contrast, a prophet is more unlikely to do that for this goes against the integrity of the prophets of God. Nowhere in the Qur’an can we find any such reference to a prophet of God.

Anyhow, laying aside the above differences between the biblical narration and the Qur’anic narration, we can conclude that there are many things in common and there are lessons that may be learnt from this story according to either the Bible or the Qur’an.

The crux of the matter here is the cause of faith, obedience to God and good deeds on the earth. Both the Bible and the Qur’an indicate that the Great Flood was caused by disbelief, sin, disobedience, wickedness, wrongdoing and aberration.

The Qur’an elucidates that Noah was a prophet whom God sent to call on people to worship God alone and believe in the Hereafter. Though he spared no effort to reform them, they insisted on disbelief and disobedience. As a result, God decided to destroy them and save Noah and the few believers who followed him.

In conclusion, we should not be distracted by the details from the significance of the stated story. It should be borne in mind that the story of Prophet Noah has a long-term, far-reaching purpose which everybody of us has to take into account.

The Qur’an refers to the Great Flood more than once as a sign and lesson to people so that they will take heed. (Yunus 10:73), (Al-Mu’minun 23: 30), (Al-Furqan 25:37), (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:121), Al-Qamar 54:15)

Finally, this deluge was a unique, momentous event which was meant as an everlasting warning to all humanity against disbelief and disobedience. Suffice it to say that the followers of all Abrahamic religions, including Jews, Christians and Muslims, believe in this historic occurrence.

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Source: IslamforChristians.com

Read Also:

From Adam to Noah: The Need for Guidance

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Prophet Noah’s Call and Message

The Messenger

idols worship

The rich were too proud of being rich to believe. Their pride, property and children distracted them from thinking about the next world.

Allah does not speak to each person individually or tell each one to do this or do that. The angels are a race just like mankind. It is possible to see them and hear what they say, if Allah wills. But the angels do not speak  to each person individually either, or tell each one to do this or do that.

Only Allah can choose the person who will receive His message to give to the people. Allah wanted to send a messenger to the people who could speak to them and counsel them. Allah chose to send the children of Adam a man from among themselves to speak to them  and give them good counsel.

Man or Angel?

Allah wanted this messenger to be a man and to be one of the people. That way they would recognize him and understand what he said.

If the messenger had been an angel, the people might say, ‘What has he got to do with us? He is an angel and we are mortals! We eat and drink and we have wives and children. How can we worship Allah?‘

But if the messenger were a man, he could answer, ‘I eat and drink; I have a wife and children. But I worship Allah. Why don’t you worship Allah?‘

If the messenger had been an angel, the people  might say to him, ‘You do not get hungry or thirsty. You do not get ill or die. So you can worship Allah and  remember Him always!‘ But if the messenger were a man, he could answer, ‘I am just like you. I get hungry and  thirsty. I get ill and will die. But I worship Allah and  remember Him. So why don’t you worship Allah? Why don’t you remember Him?‘ In this way the people would not be able to make up excuses.

Noah, the Messenger

Allah chose to send Noah to his people. There were wealthy people and leaders among the  children of Adam, but Allah alone knew who should carry His message and who could bear His trust.

Noah was a pious and generous man; he was intelligent and forbearing, compassionate and sincere. He was truthful and trustworthy and known for giving good counsel, Allah revealed to Noah, “Warn your people before a painful punishment comes to them.” (Nuh 71:1) So Noah stood up among his people and told them, “I am a faithful messenger to you”. (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:107)

What Answer Did His People Give to Him?

When Noah began to say to his people, “I am a faithful messenger to you“ (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:107) some of them answered back, ‘When did this man become a Prophet?’

Yesterday he was one of us and today he says, ”I am Allah’s messenger to you”!‘ Noah’s friends said, ‘This man used to play with us when we were young and he sat with us every day. When did he become a Prophet? Was it during the day or the night?‘

The rich and proud said, ‘Couldn’t Allah find anyone except him? Has everyone else died? Couldn’t He find anyone except a poor man from among the common people?‘

The ignorant ones said to each other: “This is only a man like yourselves, if Allah had willed, He would have sent down angels. We have never heard of this among our fathers, the ancients.” (Al-Mu’minun 23:24)

Some of the people said that Noah only wanted to become a leader, a man of power and position among them, by saying he was the messenger of Allah.

Noah's ark discovered

When Noah called them to Allah, they put their fingers in their ears.

Noah and His People

People had got used to thinking that worshipping idols was the truth and a sensible thing to do. They thought that anyone who did not worship idols was foolish. They would say, ‘Our fathers worshipped idols, so why doesn’t this man worship them?‘

Noah thought that their fathers were in the wrong and unwise and that Adam, who was the father of the fathers, did not worship idols. He worshipped Allah alone.

Noah thought that the people were in the wrong and foolish when they worshipped stones and did not worship Allah Who had created them.

Noah stood up among his people, saying in his loudest voice, “O my people! Worship Allah! You have no god but Him. Truly I fear for you the punishment of a dreadful day.

The Council of his people said, ‘We see that you are in clear error.’

He said, ‘My people, there is no error in me. But I am a messenger from the Lord of all the worlds. I convey to you the messages of my Lord and I give you good advice, for I know from Allah what you do not know.” (Al-A`raf 7:59-62)

‘The Lowliest Follow You’

Noah tried hard to make his people abandon idols and worship Allah alone. But only a few of those people who worked with their hands and ate lawful food, lawfully earned, believed in him.

The rich were too proud of being rich to believe. Their pride kept them from listening to Noah. Their property and children distracted them from thinking about the next world. They would say, ‘We are nobles and those people are lowly. When Noah called them to Allah, they answered, ”How should we believe you when the lowliest follow you?” ( Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:111)

They asked Noah to drive the poor away. Noah refused and said, “I cannot drive away the believers. My door is not a king’s door. I am only a clear warner.” (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:114, 115)

Noah knew that those poor people were sincere believers and that Allah would be angry if he drove them away. Against the anger of Allah, no-one would be able to help him. Noah said, “My people, who could deliver me from Allah If I drive them away.”( Hud 11:30)

The Argument of the Rich

The rich said to the people: ‘Listen to us. What Noah is calling you to is not true. It is not good. Why? Because we are the first to sample every good thing. We have every sort of good food, every sort of beautiful clothes. We set the fashion and people follow us. We have seen that we do not want for any good thing, and nobody out-does us in anything in the city.‘

They said about the poor people who had believed in Noah: ‘If there had been any good in this religion, it would have come to us before these paupers.’

If it had been any good, they would not be before us in attaining it. (Al-Ahqaf 46:11)

Noah’s Call

Noah went on calling his people and trying hard to counsel them.

He said, ’Q my people! I am a clear warner to you, saying ‘Worship Allah and fear Him and obey me that He may forgive you your sins and defer you to a specified term. When Allah’s term comes, it cannot be deferred, if you only knew.”’ (Nuh 71 2-4)

Allah kept the rain from them and was angry with them. Their harvests were small and they had few children.

Noah told them: ‘My people! If you believe, Allah will be pleased with you and remove this punishment.’

Then, when Allah sent the rain to them and blessed their crops and children, Noah called his people and said to them: ‘Don’t you recognize Allah? These are the signs of Allah all around you. Can’t you see them? Can’t you see the heavens and the earth? Can’t you see the sun and the moon? Who created the heavens? Who placed the moon in them as a light and made the sun a lamp? He created you and laid the earth as a carpet for you.’

But the people of Noah would not understand and would not believe. When Noah called them to Allah, they put their fingers in their ears. Now, how can anyone who does not hear a message understand it? How can anyone who does not want to hear, hear?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  To be continued…

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 The article is an excerpt from the author’s Stories of the Prophets, UK Islamic Academy publications.

Read Also:

From Adam to Noah: The Need for Guidance

Between Russell Crowe, Biblical Noah and Qur’anic Noah

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Islam, Muslims, and the One God

By Sulaiman Dufford

nature

A Muslim is any person anywhere in the world whose obedience, allegiance, and loyalty are to God.

Islam and Muslims

The name of this religion is Islam, the Arabic root of which is “silm” or “salam”, both meaning peace. “Salam” may also mean greeting one another with peace.

One of the beautiful names of God is that He is “As-Salam” (The Peace), but this Divine Name also means more than that: it means submission to the One God, and living in peace with the Creator. It means living in peace with one’s self, with other people, and with the natural environment.

A Muslim is supposed to live in peace and harmony with all these segments. Hence, a Muslim is any person anywhere in the world whose obedience, allegiance, and loyalty are to God, the Lord of the universe, and to the innate harmony of His Creation. Thus, Islam is a total system of living.

Muslims and Arabs

The followers of Islam are called Muslims. Muslims are not to be confused with Arabs. Muslims may be Arabs, Turks, Persians, Indians, Pakistanis, Malaysians, Indonesians, Europeans, Africans, Americans, Chinese, Russians, or other nationalities.

An Arab could be a Muslim, a Christian, a Jew, or an atheist. Any person who adopts the Arabic language is called an Arab. However, the language of the Qur’an (the Revealed Book of Islam) is also Arabic. Muslims all over the world try to learn Arabic so that they may be able to read the Qur’an and understand its meaning.

Although personal supplications can be in any language, Muslims pray their five required daily prayers in the language of the Qur’an, namely Arabic, which is also, and perhaps not by coincidence, one of the most stable, sophisticated, and beautiful languages in modern history.

Thus, whereas some religions have their liturgical languages (such as the Catholics used to have Latin), the Muslims are blessed with more than that. The Muslims have a “revelatory language”, the unchanged and incorruptible language in which the Qur’an was actually received.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was confronted and entranced by the Angel Gabriel off and on over a period of years in both Makkah and Medina, and all of these segments of the Qur’an were immediately dictated to his Companions.

Yet, even though there are more than a billion Muslims in the world, there are only about two hundred million Arabs, of whom about ten percent are not Muslim. Thus, Arab Muslims constitute only about twenty percent of the Muslim population of the world.

Allah, the One and Only God

Although Allah is the name of the One and Only God, we may call Him by ninety-nine other beautiful names, such as: The Gracious, The Merciful, The Beneficent, The Creator, The All-Knowing, The All-Wise, The Lord of the Universe, The First, The Last, and others.

He is the Creator of all human beings. He is the God for the Christians, the Jews, the Muslims, the Buddhists, the Hindus, the atheists, and others. Muslims put their trust entirely in Allah, and they seek only His help and only His guidance.

Muhammad

Muhammad (peace be upon him) was chosen by God to deliver His message of peace, namely Islam. Muhammad was born in 570 C.E. (Christian or Common Era), in Makkah in Arabia. He was entrusted with the message of Islam when he was at the age of forty years. The revelation that he received is called the Qur’an, while the message is called Islam.

Muhammad is considered to be the summation and the culmination of all the prophets and messengers that came before him. He purified the previous messages from adulteration and completed the message of God for all humanity.

He was also entrusted with the power of explaining, interpreting, and living the teachings of the Qur’an. When asked why he did not perform miracles as other prophets before him were said to have done, he replied that the Qur’an was his miracle.

The Sources of Islam

The legal sources of Islam are the Qur’an and the Hadith. The Qur’an contains the exact words of God- its authenticity, originality, and totality are intact.

The Hadith are reports by Companions of Muhammad of indisputable integrity of the sayings, deeds, and explanations of the Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet’s sayings and deeds themselves are called “Sunnah”. Those related to explication of verses of the Qur’an are considered binding upon all Muslims.

Those Hadith related to Prophet Muhammad’s dress and personal behavior as an Arab are considered optional. However, the “seerah”, or writings of followers of Muhammad about his life and actions, provide examples of daily living for Muslims.

The Islamic Creed

Muslims, or those who wish to convert to Islam, must agree to and hold the following beliefs as inviolable:

1- Oneness of God

He is One and the Only One. He is not two-in-one or three-in-one. This means that Islam rejects the idea of a trinity, a son of God, or any man-god. By implication, people are created equal in front of the Law of God. There is no superiority for one race over another.

However, God has created the races with different ethnic cultures, colors, languages, beliefs, and skills, so as to interest and inspire one another. The Qur’anic teaching is that the different races are meant to be complementary, not confrontational. The concept is global, not tribal.

If there is superiority among mankind, it is only God Who knows what it really is. It is only God Who knows which men or women are among the truly pious or the truly righteous.

2- The Revealed Books

Christians, Jews, and Muslims are all “People of the Book“. All have received teachings revealed directly from God, and perhaps others before them have received revealed Books as well, even though their books may have been lost or fragmented.

The Qur’an, being the only fully authentic and unchanged of the revealed Books, is considered the final treasure given to mankind. Further advice is not needed, only deeper understanding of divine advice already given in the Qur’an, as well as earlier books. Muslims are required to believe in and respect all revealed Books that have descended to mankind throughout its history.

God promised in the Qur’an to protect its contents until the end of history, and evidence of that protection can be found in the thousands and thousands of children, as well as devout adults, who can recite the entire Qur’an by memory, from cover to cover, as well as the millions who can and do recite portions of it every day of their lives.

3- The Prophets of God

Muslims believe that God sent different messengers throughout the history of mankind. All came with the same message and the same teachings. It was the people who misunderstood and misinterpreted them.

Muslims believe in, among others, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Ismail, Jacob, Moses, David, Jesus, and Muhammad. The prophets of Christianity and Judaism are indeed the Prophets of Islam. Even the Buddha may have been a prophet whose original teachings were lost or corrupted, since the Qur’an states that many prophets unknown to modern history also brought revealed Books and teachings. The Hindu Vedas may have been fragments of the Book brought by Abraham (Brahmanism).

4- Angels

Muslims believe that there are unseen creatures such as angels created by God for special missions in the universe. At the end of every prayer, Muslims give the greeting of “Peace” to the angels which accompany them over each shoulder – to the right, the Recording Angel for our good deeds; to the left, the Recording Angel for our sins.

The Qur’an was revealed and taught to Prophet Muhammad through the agency of the Angel Gabriel. The Prophet tells many stories in his Hadith about angels appearing in the world.

5- The Day of Judgment

Muslims believe that there is a Day of Judgment when all people of the world throughout the history of mankind till the last day of life on earth, are to be brought for accounting, reward, and punishment.

The Prophet enjoined all Muslims to hold the reality of this day in awe and trepidation, and to manage all their earthly affairs with the inevitability of this day in mind.

To that end, the Islamic rituals and actions have been given by God to the Prophet, and thence to all the Muslims, to protect and sharpen Muslims’ remembrance of the Last Day.

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Source: iiie.net

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Between God & Allah: What Do Muslims Believe?

*Muslims believe in One, Unique, Incomparable God; in the Angels created by Him (Allah); in the prophets through whom His revelations were brought to mankind; in the Day of Judgment and individual accountability for actions; in God’s complete authority over human destiny and in life after death.

Allah God

In Arabic, Allah means literally the One God.

Muslims believe in a chain of prophets starting with Adam and including Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elias, Jonah, John the Baptist, and Jesus, peace be upon them. But God’s final message to man, a reconfirmation of the eternal message and a summing-up of all that has gone before was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad through Gabriel.

Who Is Allah?

In Arabic, Allah means literally the One God. It is pretty easy to understand how different languages give the same thing different names. Is it that unusual to hear Muslims call God another name, like “Allah”, while you call him God or Lord?

Some people have no minds; in the last decade, a growing phenomenon was seen on the internet and in published literature. Allah is said to be the “moon god” that Arabs worshiped, and Ka`bah (the Muslims holiest place on Earth) is His temple. The evidence for this theory is the crescent that appears on the top of many mosques all over the world plus a fabricated picture of the “moon god”.

This idea is very dangerous. If you believe that Muslims are worshiping an idol, then there is no basis even to talk to them. They are pagan idolaters like Hindus and Buddhists. It is alleged that although Islam is a monotheistic religion, the Muslims’ only God is simply another idol that Muhammad (peace be upon him) chose (or in some versions of the story, he made it up).

The Ka`bah

To invalidate this foolish theory, one has to take the story from different angles.

The crescent is not a symbol of Islam, but of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans are those tribes that moved to Turkey from east and middle Asia. They converted to Islam and built a huge Muslim Empire that ruled the whole Muslim world for centuries. When they took Islam as a religion they started using the lunar calendar, the calendar that was used by Muslims, Jews and early Christians. Even today, the flag of Turkey has a crescent on it. There was no crescent on any mosque built before the Ottomans era.

Prophet Abraham built the Ka`bah for people to worship God. While pagan Arabs admitted this fact and even kept the stone where he used to stand to build the Ka`bah (Abraham’s station), they brought idols to the Ka`bah and worshiped them to get closer to Abraham’s Lord, Allah, God of gods.

Prophet Muhammad came with the monotheistic message of Islam. Arabs defended these idols and refused to give up the religion of their fathers and grandfathers. They offered to Muhammad a deal, that is to worship their gods for one year, and they worship Allah alone for one year. A chapter of the Qur’an came with the response from God to this evil invitation:

Say : O you that reject Faith! I worship not that which you worship, Nor will you worship that which I worship. And I will not worship that which you have been wont to worship, Nor will you worship that which I worship. To you be your Way, and to me mine. (Al-Kafirun 109:1-6)

Later on, the Qur’an started calling Allah by other names. One of those holy names was Ar-Rahman (the Gracious). Arabs wondered: “is this a new God?” The Qur’an responded again:

Say: “Call upon Allah, or call upon Ar-Rahman: by whatever name ye call upon Him, (it is well): for to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. (Al-Israa’ 17:110)

The Same One God

It is not a new god; it is a new name for the same God. Allah has ninety nine names in Islam; all of them are holy and speak about different attributes of the same creator, almighty Allah. As an example, read these verses of the Qur’an:

Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god; Who knows (all things) both secret and open; He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god; the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace (and Perfection), the Guardian of Faith, the Preserver of Safety, the Exalted in Might, the Irresistible, the Supreme: Glory to Allah! (High is He) above the partners they attribute to Him.

He is Allah, the Creator, the Evolver, the Bestower of Forms (or Colours). To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names: whatever is in the heavens and on earth, doth declare His Praises and Glory; and He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. (Al-Hashr 59:22-24)

When Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) came back to Mecca, he entered the city peacefully on the top of an army of 10,000 men, exactly as the Bible described him “pre-eminent above ten thousand” (Solomon 5:10).

He did not burn a single home; he did not harm a single person; he just went to the Kaaba and destroyed all the gods Arabs had there. He kept nothing in the Ka`bah. Where is this picture of the moon god coming from? I don’t know. Did anyone of the pagan Arabs have a digital camera by then?

“Allah” in Different Scriptures

There is evidence that the word Allah existed before the birth of Muhammad (peace be upon him) for thousands of years. It is probably the oldest name man used to call God. Most likely, Adam used the word Allah to call the Lord.

On the other hand, the word “God” was born with the English language, less than ten centuries ago. Can we say that all English speaking nations are pagans because they use the word “God”? What about Chinese monotheists? How should they call God?

Prophet Muhammad’s father’s name was `Abdullah (The slave of Allah). This name was common among Arab pagans and Jews. Abdullah bin Salam was one of the first Jews to convert to Islam in Medina. When Arabs call Allah in prayer they say: “Ya Allah” or “Allahoma”.

Aren’t these words familiar to you?  “Alleluia” and “Elohim” are the words used to call Allah in the Bible. In Hebrew, the suffix im means many. So Elohim literally means many Allah(s).  This is a known way to express dignity and respect to almighty Allah by calling Him pleural. This phenomenon is known in Hebrew, Arabic, English and other languages. In Qur’an, the same pattern is seen many times. For example, God says in the holy Quran:

We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption). (Al-Hijr 15:9)

In the English translation of the Bible, you read, “Let us make man in our image” (Genesis 1:26-KJV).

The word Allah is used in all Arabic translations of the Bible. It was used in some English translations of the Bible like the original “Scofield Reference Bible”-reference: what is his name? by Deedat. In the New Testament, Jesus is believed to cry before his death “ELOI, ELOI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” Eloi is the exact Arabic word “Elahi” which comes from the same root as Allah.

I have no doubt that the word “Allah” is the oldest known name man called God with. For those who choose to ignore this fact and transgress, Muslims have nothing to offer.  Allah says in the Qur’an:

If any, after this, invent a lie and attribute it to Allah, they are indeed unjust wrong-doers. (Aal `Imran 3:94)

For Muslims, Allah is perfect. He has no partners. We worship Him and Him alone. Our faith is summarized in the Qur’an:

Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute;  He begetteth not, nor is He begotten;  And there is none like unto Him. (Al-Ikhlas 112:1-4)

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 *By Dr. Iyad Sultan

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Islam: The Religion of All Prophets

Indeed every human on earth is obligated to be one who submits to Allah, is obedient to Him, following what He enjoined and avoiding what He forbade irrespective of differences in time or place, however when people changed their religion and began to follow their whims and desires they departed from the truth and began to follow falsehood.

Islam: The Religion of All Prophets

The religion of Allah that all Prophets came with was Islam.

So Allah the Exalted sent Messengers to take people by the hand and direct them to the path of guidance and truth and to return them to belief in the Oneness of Allah and his worship, as Allah has said:

And We sent not before you any messenger except that We revealed to him that, ‘There is no deity except Me, so worship Me’. (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:25)

So whoever responded to their call deserved to be called “Muslim” which Allah the Exalted called all of His slaves when He said:

It is He (Allah) who has named you Muslims before… (Al-Hajj 22:78)

The Qur’an has also explained to us that the message of all Prophets was to invite to Islam and whoever followed them was from amongst the Muslims. In regards to the Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) the Qur’an states:

And I have been commanded to be among the Muslims. (Yunus 10:72)

And in regards to the Prophet Abraham and Ishmael (peace be upon them):

Our Lord! and make us Muslims and of Our offspring a Muslim nation for you. (Al-Baqarah 2:128)

And in regards to the Prophet Jacob’s (peace be upon him) advice to his children the Qur’an states:

Or were you witnesses when death approached Jacob, when he said to his sons, ‘What will you worship after me?’ They said: “We will worship your God and the God of your fathers, Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac – one God. And we are Muslims (in submission) to Him. (Al-Baqarah 2:133)

And in regards to the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him)

And Moses said: ‘O My people! If you have believed In Allah, Then put Your trust in Him if you are Muslims’ (those who submit to Allah’s Will). (Yunus 10:84)

And in regards to the Prophet Joseph (peace be upon him)

Cause me to die as a Muslim (the one submitting to Your will), and join me with the righteous. (Yusuf 12:101)

And in regards to the Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) the Qur’an states:

Be not haughty against Me, but come to Me as Muslims (true believers who submit to Allah with full submission). (An-Naml 27:31)

And in regards to the Prophet Lot (peace be upon him):

And We found not within them other than a (single) house of Muslims. (Adh-Dhariyat 51:36)

And in regards to the disciples of Jesus (peace be upon him):

Verily, the Religion with Allah is Islam Then when Jesus came to know of their disbelief, He said: “Who will be my helpers In Allah’s Cause?” The disciples said: “We are the helpers of Allah; we believe In Allah, and bear witness that we are Muslims (i.e. we submit to Allah). (Aal `Imran 3:52)

One Religion

So the invitation of the Prophets was an invitation to Islam because their Lord was one and their religion was one even if their sacred laws differed somewhat as we will explain in the upcoming chapters. The Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) said:

“The prophets are paternal brothers, their mothers are different but their religion is one.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Therefore the religion of Allah that all prophets came with was Islam. Allah says in the Qur’an:

Truly, the Religion with Allah is Islam. (Aal `Imran 3:19)

And Allah will not accept any religion from his creation other than that of Islam as He said in the Qur’an:

And whoever seeks a Religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and In the Hereafter He will be one of the losers. (Aal `Imran 3:85)

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The article is excerpted from the book “A Beneficial Summary of Rulings for New Muslim”, published by The Ministry of Endowments & Islamic Affairs, Kuwait- 2nd Edition 1436/2015.

 

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Allah’s Messengers: A Divine Favour for the Believers

By Abdur Raheem Kidwai

Who are Allah’s Messengers?

Allah has certainly done a favor to the believers when He sent down among them a Messenger from among themselves, who recites to them His revelation, purifies them, and teaches them the Book and wisdom, while before that people had been in manifest error. (Aal `Imran 3:164)

This concise Qur’anic passage states who is Allah’s Messenger, why he is sent down and what role and functions he performs.

Allah’s Messengers -A Divine Favour for the Believers

The Qur’an makes a point of bringing out the humanness of all the messengers.

A clear understanding of this key Qur’anic passage helps one grasp the Islamic concept of messengership and the important position of the Messenger in Islam, which is next only to that of Allah. Since the Messenger is central to faith, the Qur’an spells out distinctly his status and the domain of his activities.

This definitive Qur’anic statement was also necessary in view of the prevailing misperceptions among the Arabs of the day about venerating their messengers beyond the permitted limit, even to the point of ascribing divinity to them. The most glaring such example is that of the Christians who mistook their Messenger Jesus, son of Mary as, God forbid, the Son of God. The Hindus too, have misconstrued messengers as the incarnation of God.

Servants of Allah

The Qur’an dismisses such an outrageous proposition, asserting that it is beyond any messenger to lay claim to divinity:

It is not possible that a man to whom the Book has been given and wisdom and the Messenger’s office, should say to people: “Be you my worshipers, rather than Allah’s.” On the contrary, he would say: ”Be you worshippers of Him Who is truly the Cherisher of all.” (Aal `Imran 3:79)

Allah does not ask you to take angels and prophets for lords and patrons. What! Would He ask you to unbelief after you have surrendered to Him? (Aal `Imran 3:80)

The Qur’an makes a point of bringing out the humanness of all the messengers, especially the Prophet Jesus (peace and blessings be upon him). Take this statement as illustrative: “Jesus Christ does not disdain to serve and worship Allah”. (An-Nisaa’ 4:172)

He is seen declaring: “I am indeed a servant of Allah. He has blessed me with revelation and made me a Messenger.” (Maryam 19:30)

Significantly enough, almost all the messengers are introduced in the Qur’an as Allah’s servants, for example, Zakariyah (Maryam 19:2), Noah (al-Isra’ 17:3), David (Sad 38:17), Solomon (Sad 38:30), Job (Sad 38:41 and 44), Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael (Sad 38:45) and Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) (Al-Israa’ 17:1, Al-Baqarah 2:23, Al-Furqan 25:1, Al-Kahf 18:1 and Al-Hadid 57:9).

In all these instances, the messengers are described as `AbduAllah (servant of Allah). Likewise, the Arabs of the Prophet Muhammad’s day found it hard, rather impossible, to believe that a fellow human being could serve as God’s Messenger. For them, it was too elevated an office to be held by a fellow human being.

Ordinary Human Beings

The Qur’an recounts the unbelievers’ rejection of messengers on the grounds that they are ordinary human beings:

There came to them Messengers with clear signs. But they said: ‘Shall a mere human being direct us?’ So they rejected the Message and turned away. (At-Taghabun 64:6).

The same point features in their remarks reported in the Qur’an elsewhere (see Ibrahim 14:10, Ya-Sin 36:15, Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:154 and 186, Al-Israa’ 17:94, Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:3, Al-Mu’minun 23:24, 33 and 47).

The messengers, however, always presented themselves as human beings:

Their Messengers said to them: ‘True, we are human like you, but Allah grants His grace to such of His servants as He pleases’. (Ibrahim 14:11)

Of a similar import are the following Qur’anic verses: Al-Israa’ 17:93, Al-Kahf 18:110 and Fussilat 41:6).

In sum, serious misgivings about the Messenger’s humanness, his office and his role had been in circulation when the Qur’an declared the above. This statement dispels all the mental cobwebs about this important institution, clarifying who the Messenger is and what he does by Allah’s command.

Invaluable Favour

The first and foremost point to be noted is that the Messenger represents Allah’s invaluable favour to mankind. For, without the Messenger, mankind would have groped in error and ignorance.

Man would not, of course, have found his own way to Allah, and as a result, he would have missed forever such everlasting bounties from Allah as divine guidance, an excellent role model for leading one’s life and deliverance in the Next. We must be thankful to Allah for having blessed us with His messengers in the same measure as we owe gratitude to Allah for providing us with the basic necessities of life, for example, air, water, food and parents.

That Allah’s Messenger constitutes a divine favor for believers signifies that believers show their readiness to derive numerous and abiding benefits from the Messenger.

On the contrary, the unbelievers follow the path of self-destruction in rejecting him. The believers greet his message and so doing they improve their prospects both in this life and the Next. Allah’s Messenger, like any bounty of nature such as sunlight or rainfall is a source of immense benefit for everyone.

The Believers

However, only the believers make the most of his message. By opposing and rejecting him the unbelievers foolishly deny themselves a great bounty.

As to the Qur’anic statement that the Messenger is “from among” the people whom he addresses, it stands out as yet another favour from Allah.

Had the Messenger been from some other species, say an angel or jinn, it would have been impossible for people to follow in his footsteps. For, he would simply have been too different to be emulated in any degree. In his response system, his abilities and capacities, his performance level and his deportment, someone from another species would not have provided an inspiration for man to follow.

_________________________

The article is an excerpt from Abdur Raheem Kidwai’s book “The Qur’an: Essential Teachings”, published by the Islamic Foundation.

Abdur Raheem Kidwai is a professor of English at the Aligarh Muslim University, India and a well-known author of many works on the Qur’an, Islam and Muslims. Of his books are “The Qur’an: Essential Teachings”, “Daily Wisdom: Selections from the Holy Qur’an”, “Daily Wisdom: Islamic Prayers and Supplications”, “Empowerment of Indian Muslims: Perspectives, Planning and Road Ahead”.

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Noah and His People: The Flood and the Ark

Noah’s Prayer

Noah's ark

When what Allah willed had happened and the unbelievers were drowned, the rain stopped and the water sank away.

Noah stayed with his people for nine hundred and fifty years, calling them to Allah, but his people would not believe. They would not stop worshipping idols. They refused to return to Allah.

How long could Noah wait? How long could he watch the earth and its people being ruined? How long could he put up with his people worshipping stones? How long could he watch them eat from Allan’s provisions while they worshipped something else?

Why did Noah not get angry? He was more patient than anyone else could have been! Nine hundred and fifty years: Glory be to Allah!

Then Allah revealed to Noah: “None of your people will believe except those who have already believed.” (Hud 11:36)

When Noah called his people again, “they said, ’Noah! You have disputed with us and you have disputed often with us, so bring us what you promised us if you are speaking the truth’.” (Hud 11:32)

Noah became angry for Allah and despaired of those people. He called upon Allah not to leave even one of the unbelievers on the earth!

And Noah said: My Lord! Leave not one of the disbelievers in the land. (Nuh 71:26)

The Ark

Allah answered Noah’s prayer and He decided what the fate of the unbelievers would be. All of them would be drowned in a great flood.

Allah wanted to save Noah and the believers. He commanded Noah to build a great ship, and Noah began straightaway.

The unbelievers from his people saw him working busily and they mocked: ‘What is this, Noah? Since when have you become a carpenter? Didn’t we tell you not to sit with the carpenters and ironsmiths and now you have really become a carpenter!

‘Where is this ship going, Noah? Everything about you is unbelievable! Is it going to sail in the sand or climb up the mountains? The sea is a long way from here. Will the jinn carry it or will oxen pull it?‘

Noah heard all that and was patient. He had heard worse things and had been patient. But sometimes he would say to them, “If you mock us, we will mock you as you mock.” (Hud 11:38)

The Flood

The promise of Allah came. We seek refuge with Allah!

It rained and rained until the sky was like a sieve which could not hold the water. Water poured down and gushed up and flowed in until it surrounded the people on every side.

Then Allah revealed to Noah, Take with you those of your people and family who believe.’

Allah revealed to Noah to take with him a pair of every animal and bird, a male and a female, because the flood would cover the earth. Neither man nor beast would be saved from it. Noah did so. With him in the Ark were those of his people who believed in him and a pair of every bird and animal.

The Ark rode with them on waves like mountains. The people outside the Ark climbed onto every high place and every hill, fleeing from Allah’s punishment.

But there is no refuge from Allah except in Him.

Noah’s Son

Noan had a son who was with the unbelievers. Noah saw his son in the flood and said, “‘My son, embark with us and do not be with the unbelievers.’ He said, ‘I will seek refuge on a mountain that will protect me from the water.’

Noah said, ‘Today there is no protector from Allah’s command except for the one to whom He shows mercy.’

The waves came between them and Noah’s son was among the drowned.” (Hud 11: 42, 43)

Noah was sad about his son; How could he not be sad about his own son? He wanted to save him from the Fire on the Day of Judgment since he was not able to save him from the water. The Fire is worse than the water.

The punishment of the Next World is harsher. Did not Allah promise that He would save his family? Yes! And Allah’s promise is true. He wanted to speak to Allah on behalf of his son.

“He Is Not One of Your Family”

Noah called on his Lord and said, ‘My son is part of my family and Your promise is true. You are the most just of those that judge.’ (Hud 11:45)

But Allah does not look at people’s family trees. He looks at their actions. Allah does not accept pleas on behalf of idol-worshippers. The idol-worshipper is not part of a Prophet’s family, even if he is his son.

Allah made Noan aware of that. He said,”Noah, he is not part of your family; he is of evil conduct Do not ask of Me that about which you do not know, I warn you lest you be one of the ignorant.” (Hud 11:46)

Nun became aware and turned to Allah, repentant. He said; “My Lord, I take refuge with You lest I should ask of You something about which i have no knowledge. If you do not forgive me and show mercy to me, I will he among the losers.” (Hud 11:47)

After the Flood

When what Allah willed had happened and the unbelievers were drowned, the rain stopped and the water sank away.

The unbelievers of the people of Noah were destroyed. Neither the heavens nor the earth wept for them. It was said, “Away with the wrong-doing people!“ (Hud 11:44)

The Ark stopped on Mount Judi. It was said, ”Noah, get down in peace.” (Hud 11:48)

Noah and the people of the Ark got down and walked on the earth in peace. Allah blessed the descendants of Noah and they spread in the land and filled the earth.

There were communities among them and there were Prophets and kings among them.

Peace be upon Noah among all beings!

Peace be upon Noah among all the worlds! (As-Saffat 37:79)

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 The article is an excerpt from the author’s Stories of the Prophets, UK Islamic Academy publications.

Read Also:

Prophet Noah’s Call and Message

From Adam to Noah: The Need for Guidance

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