Channel: Jamal Badawi
Series: Jamal Badawi - Prophethood
© No part of this transcript may be copied or referenced or transmitted in any way whatsoever. Transcripts are auto-generated and thus will be be inaccurate. We are working on a system to allow volunteers to edit transcripts in a controlled system.
Salam Alaikum, ladies and gentlemen, peace be upon y'all. And welcome to another episode of Islamic focus. I'm your host Muhammad Hussain Hosni. And this is going to be the second episode on the concept of prophethood. In Islam. Our guest today is Dr. Jamal by the way Salaam Alaikum. The person and and welcome to our program. I was wondering if we could start by giving a short summary of the first episode on Prophethood and then get to today's discussion. three basic points emphasize last time
relate to the whole concept of the need for revelation Do we really need revelation? We started off by addressing one question as to why can't we obtain the same knowledge we get through revelation by using scientific means.
And then this we said that science can give us some information, but science also is based on individual perception which which could vary. Science explains partial aspects of life, but not the totality of life as a whole. That science useful as it may be, cannot prescribe rules for our contacts in our life, nor can you answer
basic questions like the purpose of creation and why you are here on earth. And finally, we said by itself, science is incapable of achieving human happiness, because it is not based on comprehensive knowledge of the totality of human nature and its various facets, and that this through knowledge of the human nature is only known fully to Allah, God, the Creator, and as such through revelation, it reconciles these various elements of the nature of human existence. And the second question, we try to compare also the mystical experience with revelation and he said, there are different we cannot obtain the same knowledge that you get through divine revelation by mystical experience. Reason
being is that mystical experiences individual experience individualized, it cannot be transmitted or communicated to others, whereas revelation is a message to the prophet to conveyed to the rest of humanity. We said that the mystical experience also can, there might be errors involved, they might be extreme, we always hear about extremism and, and mystical practices. Whereas revelation must be accurate in itself, because it proceeds from God, there could be no error unless people of course change the documents which contain that revelation as to the Prophet is gone.
Certainly, we said that the mystical experience normally comes with some kind of personal effort on the part of the individual, whereas revelation is a divine gift. In other words, the prophet does not choose himself, God chooses him. It is something that is despite of himself. We said also that the mystical experience is a passive experience, it is satisfied, satisfying in itself. What as for the prophet and mystical experience, or the state of Revelation is only a stage in the process of conveying that to the rest and fighting the forces of evil and really exemplifies his message. And finally, we said that for a prophet, or messengers of God,
God is not something to be recognized or adored, but someone who should have our full submission, unwavering commitment and and obedience and finally, the question was raised as to what is revelation then, if it is not something we can get from science or foreign mystical experience Exactly. And we said that basically revelation is a kind of communication between God the Creator, and the rest of humanity,
sending a particular message of guidance that reforms the life of people and achieve their happiness in this life in the hereafter. And that this message is conveyed through select human beings who are messengers of God. We refer to a crucial passage in the Quran.
That's 40 to 51, which describe three basic channels of that revelation. One is inspiration, that is God inspiring the Prophet certain knowledge and truth. And then he explains it. Secondly, speaking to the prophet in a manner that is different from human speech that we don't exactly know what form it took, like God's speaking to Moses and to Muhammad. And finally, the third type, which is perhaps the highest and the most important, as far as the scriptural texts are concerned, is the revelation by word and meaning, that is, by God sending the engine of revelation in Arabic gibreel, in the biblical sense, Gabrielle, to carry that message dictated to the Prophet and the Prophet then would
communicate the same message as it is to the rest of the people. I wonder if you could elaborate a little bit more about this
intermediate, the I mean, the Archangel Gabriel, being used as a medium of communication between God and the Prophet, could you give us this?
One, again, since revelation is a matter that is not subject to speculation, I'll stick my remarks are limited to something that's documented in Quran and also in the prophetic tradition. But there are two basic forms that are reported about Gabrielle coming with the message to Prophet Mohammed.
One was in human form, that is Gabrielle come to the profits in the form of a man teaching him and dictating certain passages of the Quran to him.
This is most notably reported in the Quran itself, in 96, verses one through five.
Giving a narration of what happened in the first time that the Prophet Prophet Muhammad received revelation. He was meeting meditating in the cave of Herat outside of Makkah, when a man came to him, that was Gabrielle he knew later on that she was Gabrielle who helped him and he said, read or recite, he said, I can't read. It was, as you know, an illiterate person didn't get any education before.
Then the engine, again in a form of man helped him again. So you read, I can't read, then he recited the very first revelation of the Quran that you still find and fix today.
In the audition and wording, the translation of meaning in English it says, proclaim or Mohammed in the name of your Lord cherisher.
Who created created man out of something that tags I'll explain that in a minute.
proclaim, And your Lord is most bountiful. He thought, the use of the pen taught mankind that which
if knew not,
I mentioned the word something that hangs This is something again, that's quite amazing about the expressions used in the Quran. It says that God creates man out of something that hangs the original Arabic word Allah, which comes from your luck, or hence,
this was a mystery for centuries, and many translators of the Quran in English, made the error of translating that in a variety of ways like congealed clots of blood.
But in fact, if you stick to the original Arabic, it's something that hangs can be explained very easily now with modern knowledge and medicine, that the fertilized egg hangs literally in the woods, in the inside
the the fertilized
literally, in the world of theatres, which is something amazing to have been revealed 1400 years ago that shows of course, that it is not very Mohammed's onslaught it is revelation coming from.
They were also another incident reported in prophetic tradition, this time in the presence of the companions of the Prophet, where Angel Gabrielle came in a form of a human being. And then he started asking the prophet in the presence of the companions, some questions about what is the definition of Islam? What is involved in faith? What is excellence? What is the day of judgment, and he left and then the Prophet after that he said that this was Gabrielle came to teach you teach in a sense of dialogue, of preventing question answers, type of approach. However, the more common form in which Gabrielle brought revelation from God to Prophet Muhammad, was by coming without being seen
by others, but the Prophet would hear him very distinctly dictating to him certain passages of the Quran, and then the Prophet would recite the passages with people around him, memorizing it, and committing it to writing. It is important to emphasize that this was not a guarded secret. Many of the companions of the Prophet in very authentic narrations reported that they have noted this kind of situation and in fact, this was one of the main reasons why the Koran
as the last scripture,
was preserved in its originality in its own words, because people just had it at the same time, when the Prophet received from Gabrielle,
now let me
play the devil's advocate for a moment and ask you,
how did the companions know that the Archangel Gabriel, Gabriel exists? How did they testify to the seeing him or to that? I mean,
okay. First of all, as I described before, there was no physical sight of Gabrielle itself. But this physical sight of the Prophet gave that indication. To clarify,
whenever the Prophet started uttering the Quran, under this state of Revelation, if you will, they noted that Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, went through a very special spiritual state, their own description is that he used to concentrate very heavily, even when it's too cold. He, because of that concentration, he used to sweat or perspire.
They described that at times, also, you would have a kind of shiver, while under this state of Revelation. So this was one indication that this special state that stations, exactly physical state of the city is really in different states, or different kinds of claim. They're being held June, exactly.
In the whole process, this was one indicator. But there was a second indicator also, as I indicated before, why and under that particular state of concentration, he used to attach
the verses of the Quran that they wrote down and memorize directly from his mouth. So they realized that now he's saying something. And that's, you know, the, the, the style of the Quran is the style of God's speaking. It's not like a story, for example, or the
narration the Quran in many places, God speaks in services, or you who believe, follow the messenger, you know, addresses people. So they realize that this was something that Gabrielle is dictating. This was the second indication. The second indication was the own statement made by the prophet Prophet Muhammad himself, this be upon him, when he said, Yes, Gabrielle comes to me, I hear something, it's almost like the sound of a bell, and they hear the dictation of the passages of the Quran. So all these three indications put together, put together show that without actually seeing Gabrielle, Angel Gabrielle, the prophet was actually from this position. Okay, now I will invoke a
very common misconception that we see in western literature, until very lately, it was a very popular misconception as well. And that is the
idea of the Prophet Muhammad, being in a state of epileptic seizure, if you will, or suffering from epileptic seizure, being explained by his companions who didn't know much about epilepsy, while he was in a state of trance, or in a state of entanglement to, to his divine message. What do you have to say about that?
Like, I think like you said, At one time, this used to be a kind of a popular type of scene. But unfortunately, still, even until today, you find some supposedly scholarly writings about Islam by non Muslim Western, we asked to talk about this. But I do not claim to be a psychologist or anything I'm not. But we know from what psychologists tell us and psychologists that
is a source of disease, really, it is an introduction of the normal function of the brain. And the person, usually under an epileptic seizure would have certain kinds of convulsions. He would not be totally conscious. And under that state, a person would attach
meaningless and incoherent syllables or words that doesn't make any sense. It just status like mumbling, mumbling, things that could not be understood, you can't make sense of it. And then most often, even he would not remember what he said, after the epileptic seizures is, is over. Now, this kind of
description has nothing to do whatsoever with revelation, not only that Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him remember vividly each and every word that he uttered under that state of Revelation. But the most significant point is that the Quran is available. It's available in the very original language exact words
with which the Prophet uttered when he received that revelation, and anyone listening to the Quran definitely would know that it's not a meaningless mumbling incoherence alibi
or words, it's a bit of the biggest evidence or the biggest response as to what I might call perhaps. And if the lipstick assumption on the part of somebody is, you go and read the Quran and see whether any epileptic throughout the whole history of humanity could could other such thing that produce a book, Holy Scripture that has changed the whole history of the world, and provided guidance in spiritual, moral, political, economic and social life of hundreds of millions of people throughout history. But I'd like to add on a couple of observations on this whole issue of epilepsy,
that if the people who raised that issue were atheists,
when would somehow accept the motives behind their statements? because in essence, what's that whole nonsense about revelation and divine, they deny even the existence of God so if a person
with this kind of attitude, talks about epilepsy and say, All prophets are epileptic, or whatever, that might be understandable. But what really puzzles me is that many of the so called scholars who
said that a possible explanation of revelation given to Mohammed is epilepsy, are themselves confessed, Jews or Christians to measures world faith that are based themselves on revelation that leads to a question of possible use of double standards. Nobody, for example, a Jew or a Christian, any sincere Judeo Christian would never say that the Torah received by Moses is a product of epilepsy, I don't believe because this is not something material or verifiable. So what Moses claimed that God spoke to him on Mount Sinai or get him to Torah? No, that's epileps. Nobody says that. But when it comes to Mohammed, Prophet Mohammed as the last prophet, receiving the last
revelation, all well, maybe it's not really a revelation from God, it could be perhaps a kind of epilepsy, which puts us into a very honest question. You believe in God or you don't. You believe in the unseen or you don't? If you believe in God, and you believe that God is capable of conveying his message, through prophets to humanity, then you believe in the unseen, if you come to that point, then you believe in Revelation. So either all prophets were epileptic, and they were just inventing something, or all of them, genuine prophets have received that revelation through that it's just as simple as that.
And now I want to move to a more sort of fundamental question, and that is the idea of
the inspiration of God or revelation being an inspiration of God,
to a select subset of humanity that we refer to as prophets. Now, first of all, is the divine inspiration,
confined to a select few. And then other times we want to ask the people who say, well, Revelation should be given to anybody Why should a limited or inspiration be given to anybody?
or shouldn't be limited? And then to explain
the the byproduct of that question, which is the Prophet Mohammed being talked of as the seal of the prophet or the last prophet? Does this mean that there will be no inspiration? After
the problem arises lost mostly in translation? The original word
for revelation and inspiration in a way used in the Quran is why, why?
And the best response to that question is to refer to the Quran itself to show that there are two levels of defining why or revelation.
It could be defined in a general sense in a sense of God inspiring or guiding creatures, whether they are humans or even other than humans.
And the special meaning of what you by communicating specific scriptures, or holy book, on the first meaning to general meaning we find that the Quran for example, uses the very term why, in a sense of inspiring creatures to survive, talking about the be the honeybee, for example, in 1668, it says, a new load inspired or thought, the be to build itself in hills on trees, and immense habitation. That's but that's not what it's not a scripture giving to the bees, it's simply inspiring them to how to survive. It is also used in the Quran, in a sense of inspiring and guiding people who are not necessarily prophets, good people. An example of this, for example, about the disciples of Prophet
Jesus peace be upon him with it in the Quran in five 114. And behold, I that's God inspired the disciples that is of Jesus, to have faith in me and mine apostle, and my apostle or messenger. They said, We have faith, and do you witness that we vow to God as much
Kids are in submission.
It talks also about God inspiring the mother of Moses when she was afraid that the pharaoh might take her son, the infant Moses and kill him. And again, we read in five in the Quran, I think can be chapter five also. So we sent this inspiration to the mother of Moses, second your child. But when you have fears about him, cast him into the river, not casting in a box of course, but fear not Orgreave, for we shall restore him to you and we shall make him one of our messengers.
In fact, I without spending so much time on it, there are also other meanings in which the word Washington especially is used in the Quran. For example, in 4112, it's used in a sense of assigning or commanding, it's used also in a sense of informing, like an 811. And so in it 12, it is used in a sense of giving sign, subtle sign, as a 1910. Sometimes the same word and expression is used also in the sense as even prompting, like and six 112 and six 121. However, the special meaning of inspiration or guidance, in a sense of giving scriptures, a specific wording or meaning, through a select Prophet, to convey to the rest of humanity is something that is quite limited and limited
only to select messengers of God. So there's no contradiction, the door is not closed, but the final revelation in terms of a holiday in terms of a holy book has culminated already.
Now, since prophets occupies such a central role in the Islamic faith, maybe one should ask an even more fundamental question, and that is, what is the prophet in Islamic terms? Because the word prophet has been used for centuries, in different contexts, giving different connotations, but that's right, right. So So I would like very much to elaborate on the concept of Prophet within Islam, the most important thing to remember, maybe I can give a basic definition, then just make a remark on that it profit for the Muslim is a select human being selected by God to carry his message, and to be as a model for this teaching to humanity.
The problem that we find in defining a profit there are two extremes, especially when you compare the three basic monotheistic faiths Islam, Judaism and Christianity, that from the point of view of Islam, in the Bible, we have two kinds of extremes. One extreme is to deify a pious prophet to the level of godhood. And that is the case for example of Prophet Jesus peace be upon him. This is one extreme. The other extreme is exactly the opposite. That is to attribute measures moral sins, Cardinal sins, to those great figures as the major prophets that we all accept as Muslim Jews or Christians. Both of these for the Muslim are regarded as extremes. But perhaps one thing to
emphasize, if we use the document, the Quran itself. To clarify the issue, is that after all, they are humans, there is no question about the humanity of the message. There is nothing between human and divine. There's no demigod or half God has meant no gray area, no gray areas either created or catered to creators is only one, that's God. And in this we find, for example, in the Quran, addressing Prophet Mohammed, it says before you are Mohammed also, the messengers we sent were but men to whom we granted revelation or inspiration that's in 21. Seven.
Concerning against the great prophet about him, there was a great deal of controversy about his nature, Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him. The Quran says in 369, the similar tomb of Jesus before God is as that of Adam, He created him from dust. Then he said to him Be and he was, and that again make a similitude in the sense that God was able to create Adam from neither a father or mother is able to create Jesus from a mother and not from the Father, very simple.
The third quotation, indicate also that the very fact that prophets or messengers were human was one of the underlying reasons why people rejected them, which they should not, for example, in 6460 trades, that was because there came to them messengers with clear signs, but they said, shall we have human beings guide us? So they rejected the message and turned away?
The Quran also respond to those who think that it is quite strange that God should delete his message through just a normal human being and messenger. The Quran says and attempt to
Is it a matter of wonderment to mankind?
That we have sent our inspiration to immense from among themselves, that he should warn mankind of their dangers, and give the good news to the believers that they have before their Lord, the lofty rank of truth. But they say that is unbeliever. This is indeed an evident sorcery
to indicate Finally, the inconsistency of those who reject the messenger ship of Prophet Muhammad, while believing in prophets before him, the Quran addressed them very clearly in 691. No just estimate of God do they make when they say nothing does got sent down to amen? By way of Revelation, say, who then sent down the book, which was a spruit, a light and guidance to people. So it's inconsistent. So yes, God gives the revelation to Moses. But now when it comes to Muhammad, we don't believe in him because he's a human, how could a human get divine revelation? Right, now? We've got a couple of minutes. Could you give us some examples from the Quran itself? In talking about
humanity? Does it refer to them as human? Or does it impute on them sort of superhuman? Polish? No, the Quran is very obvious in that I could confirm what was said earlier by giving examples about certain things that humans are copying, which is quite common cause were to come in with them. First that they ate and drank. For example, in 2520 essays and the messengers who we sent before you or Mohammed, we're all human, who ate food, and walked through the Marketplace, talking about, for example, Prophet Jesus and his mother's make peace be upon both of them. It says the anointed or Christ, the son of Mary, was no more than messengers. Many were the messengers that passed away
before him, his mother was a woman of truth. And then it says, they had both to eat their daily food. As a basic rule, also, it says that prophets in general, get married, got married, and had children, with the exception, of course of a few like Prophet Jesus and john the baptist because they died or went as young. And of course, if they have lived, maybe they would have met it. After all, not every human get married, but in general, they got married and had children. For example, in 1738, it says, we did send apostles or messengers before you, Mohammed, and appointed for them wives and children. The Quran shows that prophets also may suffer agony and disease and difficulties. For
example, about Prophet Abraham, it says, and when I am ill, that Abraham says, it is he got who cured me that's in 2016, at about profit job.
It says, and remember job when he cried to his Lord, truly, distress has seized me, but you are the Most Merciful of those that are merciful. That's the 2183. The Quran indicates even that a prophet may be killed. Not only that he may die naturally or him he may be killed even by his enemies. For example, addressing people before Islam, it says, that whenever comes to a prophet, or messenger, with that which you yourself, desire, not, you are puffed up with pride, some you call imposters and others you slay, that's in 287. Also, Mohammed is no more than a messenger, many messengers passed away before him if he died, or were slain, will you then turn back on your heels? And finally, the
Quran indicates that a prophet Donald does not control his own destiny because it's all controlled by God. For example, it says, the tongue of Prophet Muhammad, saying I have no power over any good or harm to myself, except as God wills. That's in 718. Thank you very much, Doctor, by the way, and hope you'll join us next time for a an extension of this very interesting discussion. Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, and we hope to see you next time this is Mohammed Hosni signing off, and may peace be upon your Salam aleikum wa