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 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 I 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 I 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 I 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 I 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 I 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 I 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
A Muslim’s Beliefs regarding Jesus u
- He was one of the greatest of Allah’s messengers and one of those held in high esteem. Indeed, he is one of the messengers Allah describes in the Qur’an as having ‘firm resolve’, namely, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon all of them. About these prophets, the Qur’an states, “We made a covenant with all the Prophets – with you and with Noah and Abraham and Moses and Jesus son of Mary – We made a binding covenant with them.” (Soorat Al-Ahzaab, 33:7)
- He was a mere human being with no divine attributes whatsoever, whom Almighty Allah sent to guide the Children of Israel and supported with a number of miracles, as the Qur’an states, “He is only a slave on whom We bestowed Our blessing and whom We made an example for the tribe of Israel.” (Soorat Az-Zukhruf, 43:59) He never ordered his people to take him and his mother, Mary, as gods besides Allah; he only told them to do as Allah commanded him to tell them: “Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” (Soorat Al-Maa’idah, 5:117)
Muslims believe that Jesus was one of the greatest of Allah’s messengers, that he had no divine attributes whatsoever and that he was neither killed, nor crucified.
- He was the son of Mary, a chaste, pious and truthful virgin who entirely devoted herself to the worship of Allah. She gave birth to Jesus after miraculously conceiving him without a human father, his likeness in this being as that of Adam, as the Qur’an states, “The likeness of Jesus in Allah’s sight is the same as Adam. He created him from earth and then He said to him, ‘Be!’ and he was.” (Soorat Aal-‛Imraan, 3:59)
- There was no prophet between him and Muhammad r. In fact, Jesus u gave the good news of the advent of Prophet Muhammad r, as the Qur’an states, “And when Jesus son of Mary said, ‘O Children of Israel, I am the Messenger of Allah to you, confirming the Torah which came before me and giving you the good news of a Messenger to come after me whose name is Ahmad.’ When he brought them the Clear Signs, they said, ‘This is downright magic.’” (Soorat As-Saff, 61:6)
- We believe in the miracles he performed by Allah’s permission, such as his ability to heal the lepers, bringing dead people back to life and informing his people of what they ate and stored in their houses, all by Allah’s permission. Allah gave him the ability to perform such miracles to prove he was a true prophet who came with a divine message from his Lord.
- A person will not be considered a true believer unless he believes that Jesus u was Allah’s servant and messenger and strongly rejects the false statements Jews make about him and which Allah dismiss as untrue. He must al strongly reject the Christian beliefs about Jesus, who have gone far astray for taking him and his mother as gods besides Allah, claiming that he was the son of God or adopting the doctrine of the Trinity, referring to Allah as “the third of three”. Glorified is He and High Exalted above what they say!
- He was neither killed, nor crucified; instead, he was raised up by Allah to heaven. In fact, Allah gave someone else Jesus’ appearance, causing everyone to believe that Jesus was crucified. The Qur’an says about this, “And their saying, ‘We killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah.’ They did not kill him and they did not crucify him but it was made to seem so to them. Those who argue about him are in doubt about it. They have no real knowledge of it, just conjecture. They did not really kill him. Allah raised him up to Himself. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise. There is not one of the People of the Book who will not believe in him before he dies; and on the Day of Rising he will be a witness against them.” (Soorat An-Nisaa’, 4:157-59) In this way, Allah I protected him and raised Him to heaven. He will eventually return to earth towards the end of the world, rule by Muhammad’s law; then he will die and be buried, and will eventually be resurrected, like all human beings, as the Qur’an states, “From it We created you, to it We will return you, and from it We will bring you forth a second time.” (Soorat Taa Haa, 2o:55)
Belief in Muhammad r as a Prophet and Messenger
- We believe that Muhammad was Allah’s servant and messenger, that he is the best of all mankind without exception, the seal of the prophets and so there will be no prophet after him. He Fully delivered the divine message assigned to him, discharged his prophetic duties, sincerely counselled the Muslim community, and strove hard for the cause of Allah to the best of his ability.
- We believe what he said, obey his commands and avoid the acts he prohibited and warned us against. We must worship Allah according to his guidance (Sunnah) and take none but him as our example. The Qur’an says, “You have an excellent model in the Messenger of Allah, for all who hope for Allah and the Last Day and remember Allah much.” (Soorat Al-Ahzaab, 33:21)
- We must show more love for the Prophet r than for our own parents, children and indeed all humankind. “None of you will be a true believer,” the Prophet r once observed, “until he loves me more than his parents, his children and all mankind.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 15 and Saheeh Muslim: 44). However, true love for the Prophet r can only be realised by following his Sunnah. Indeed, true happiness and complete guidance cannot be attained without obeying him, as the Qur’an states, “If you obey him, you will be guided.’ The Messenger is only responsible for delivering the message clearly.” (Soorat An-Noor, 24:54)
- We must accept everything he has brought to us from Almighty Allah, adhere to his Sunnah, holding his guidance in high esteem, as the Qur’an states, “By your Lord, they will not be true believers until they seek your arbitration in their disputes and find within themselves no doubt about what you decide and accept it wholeheartedly.” (Soorat An-Nisaa’, 4:65)
- We must avoid disobeying his orders, for doing so is bound to lead to trials, misguidance and a severe punishment in the hereafter, as the Qur’an states, “Those who oppose his command should beware of a testing trial coming to them or a painful punishment striking them.” (Soorat An-Noor, 24:63)
Characteristics of Prophet Muhammad’s Message
Prophet Muhammad’s message has a number of characteristics which distinguish it from the previous divine messages. These include:
- It was the final divine message, as the Qur’an states, “Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but the Messenger of Allah and the Final Seal of the Prophets.” (Soorat Al-Ahzaab, 33:40)
- It abrogated all previous messages and laws, and thus no religion will be acceptable to Allah after Muhammad’s mission except Islam. This can only be done by following Prophet Muhammad’s guidance. Similarly, no one will be admitted into Paradise without following in his footsteps, for he is the most honourable of all Allah’s messengers, his community (ummah) is the best community that has ever been brought forth for the good of mankind and his law is the most comprehensive of all divine laws. The Qur’an says, “If anyone desires anything other than Islam as a religion, it will not be accepted from him, and in the next world he will be among the losers.” (Soorat Aal-‛Imraan, 3:85) The Prophet r also said, «By Him in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, any person of this Community, Jew or Christian, who hears of me and dies without believing in what I have been sent with will be among the inhabitants of Hell.” (Saheeh Muslim: 153; Musnad Ahmad: 8609)
- It is addressed to both the jinn and mankind. Recounting the statements of some of the jinn who embraced Islam, the Qur’an states, “Our people, respond to Allah’s caller and believe in Him.” (Soorat Al-Ahqaaf, 46:31) Addressing Muhammad r, the Qur’an also says, “We only sent you for the whole of mankind, bringing good news and giving warning.” (Soorat Saba’, 34:28) In this connection, the Prophet r said, “I have been favoured over the other prophets in six ways: I have been given the gift of concise yet comprehensive speech; I have been supported with fear [which Allah cats into my enemies’ hearts]; war booty has been made permissible for me; the entire earth has been made a means of purification and a place of worship for me; I have been sent to all of mankind; and the line of Prophets ends with me.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 2815; Saheeh Muslim: 523)
Benefits of Belief in Allah’s Messengers
Belief in Allah’s messengers has a number of benefits, including the following:
- Awareness of Allah’s care for His slaves for sending messengers to them to guide them to the right path and show them how to worship Allah. Indeed, the human mind cannot possibly do this. Addressing Prophet Muhammad r, Allah I says, “We have only sent you as a mercy to all the worlds.” (Soorat Al-Anbiyaa’, 21:107)
- Showing gratefulness to Allah for this great blessing.
- Showing love for Allah’s messengers, holding them in high esteem and adequately praising them for delivering Allah’s message to their people and giving them good counsel.
- Following the guidance contained in the message which the messengers have brought from Allah, namely, to worship Allah alone without associating any partners with Him in worship and adhering to the dictates of this message. This will bring about happiness for the believers in both this life and in the life to come. The Qur’an says, “Those who follow My guidance will not go astray and will not be wretched. But whoever turns away from My reminder, he will lead a miserable life.” (Soorat Taa Haa, 20:123-24)
Al-Aqsa Mosque, located in the old city of Jerusalem, is regarded by Muslims with great respect. It is the second mosque built upon the earth after the Sacred Mosque in Makkah. Indeed, Prophet Muhammad r, as well as all the other prophets, prayed in it.