Channel: Jamal Badawi
Series: Jamal Badawi - Prophethood
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Ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another episode of expanding focus. This is going to be our fifth episode in the series on profit within Islam. Our guest today is Dr. Jamal Weatherly, Salaam Alaikum. Sufism and welcome to our show.
Maybe we should start as usual by giving a short summary of the last.
In the last presentation, we kept exploring the notion of profit within Islam. And I suppose there are five basic points that were made. One was the difference between prophecy and profit. And he said that profit is not a prophet because he can prophesy or tell foretell the future. It is only one minor aspect of his message. But the prophet basically sent for guidance of people. The second issue was the relationship between ingenuity and profit to it. And we said yes, a prophet is an intelligent person, he's wise person. But this does not mean that his teachings are emanating from his own wisdom or his own thinking, because this is a direct revelation that he receives from God.
The third was the relationship between Americans and Prophethood. And again, we said that, yes, Americans is one aspect of the message of prophethood that should be put in the proper perspective without undermining or over emphasis. And we said that God has given certain profits, certain signs to convince some of the skeptics, but this Americans should not be regarded in themselves as the core essence of the message of those profits. And we said that even for many skeptics, after they have seen the Americans, they didn't believe.
The fourth issue was the question on the number of profits. And we said that the Quran, the Word of God, as revealed to Muhammad mentioned the names of 25 prophets, most of them are known to our Jewish and Christian friends. But there are some also few who will not necessarily mentioned in the Bible. But we indicated also that according to the Quran, there were many other prophets in different parts of the world in different times whose names do not necessarily appear in the Quran. And all of this are guarded as prophets of Islam in a way in the broader sense of the word Islam.
And finally, the question was raised about the obligation of the Muslim to believe in all prophets, and we said that this is part and parcel of the statements of Islamic creed that when the person say, I believe that there is no deity but Allah or God, and that Muhammad is His Messenger, by mentioning the name Muhammad, in fact, you're really admitting all prophets also, who was sent before Prophet Muhammad that this is part or an article of faith, if you will.
Okay. Now, having sort of dissipated some of the misconceptions about the concept of profit, maybe we should start again, having emphasized that every Muslim has to believe in profits and Prophethood, we have to define now what is the main mission? What is the main task of
if you put it in a nutshell in one word, Islam. If you might recall, in one of the series that you have before on monotheism, we mentioned that the word Islam means submitting oneself to the will of God and accepting his guidance to conduct your life according to the teaching of God. And we indicated that this is the essence of the message of all prophets from Abraham to Mohammed throughout the entire history or before it even Abraham like Prophet Noah.
It follows from this then that all the prophets are regarded as brothers as Muslims. In fact, the Quran does use the word Muslims to refer to prophets and their followers, Muslim in essence of those who submitted willingly to the will of Allah to the will of Allah, the will of God. But it's the if you want to explore it further by specifying which areas of knowledge are derived from profits or their mission. Perhaps I could summarize that in four basic points. First of all, a profit essentially is sent to help us
understand something about God and His attributes to give us this knowledge that you cannot otherwise get by our own means. And this is very essential to provide clarity in our understanding, it is essential so that we do not get mixed up. In the whole realm of philosophy and theology, we have to get the proper correct knowledge through prophets. It would help us to avoid having divided loyalty by knowing that there is only one single creator for the entire universe. Perhaps I could document that from the Quran. And just as examples of the basic course of the message of the prophets, in 2125.
For example, it says that not in messengers did we send before you that is before you or Mohammed, but we revealed to him that there is no God, but me. So worship and serve me.
In chapter 11, in the Quran, you find that there are several stories about different prophets, all of them are quoted to have said identical words so that people, virtually, Abdullah Ahmed, Illa, hempire, worship Gods he has no other deity but him. This has been summarizing their missions, exactly summarizing the mission says the Prophet such and such told these people with Allahu Allah, oh, my people worship God, you have no other God but him. So that shows again, that this is the the alpha or the beginning really identify the unifying theme and all the message of the Prophet. Not only this, we find that in order to make it clear, the Quran indicate that you cannot really achieve
the servitude, through servitude to God alone, unless one chance or false gods. one verse in the Quran, for example, 1636 it says, We verily have raised in every nation, a messenger, proclaiming, serve Allah, or God, capital G and shun false gods. So this is when it should be the knowledge about God. The second basic mission of the Prophet is to communicate to us the information about the unseen because you cannot obtain information about the unseen in the lab, or by our own thinking, What's going to happen in the future? What would be the destiny of the earth or the universe? Is there any life after death? And what form is going to take the question of punishment reward, the
day of judgment, the science of approaching of the Day of Judgment, these are matters, that has to be communicated directly to document that also from the Quran in chapter 27, verses 26 and 27. It says he that God alone knows the unseen, nor does he make anyone acquainted with his secrets except a messenger, whom he has chosen. So the unseen is known only to God, but only the specific information that he wishes to communicate he makes it available to a messenger or prophet.
A third basic function is that the Prophet is supposed to show us the way to tell us how to achieve salvation in this life and the hereafter, how to conduct our lives. what pleases God, what displeases him, what is our rules on earth? What is our position in the universe at large? Where are we going, what should be our relationship with each other? These are all things that we need a great deal of guidance on. And that's why the Quran for example, in two to 13. It says that the mission of those prophets is that they wish MOBA sharena woman theory and that is bringing glad tidings and warning people that is wanting a deviation from the past of God. on this issue, about guidance, we
should realize also the Islamic approach of guidance, it is not necessarily limited to preaching or just moralizing with people but indeed, guidance of the prophets means that they themselves as prophets should exemplify what they are preaching. And that is the reason why in a previous program on Prophethood, we discussed this infallibility of the prophets and their high moral characters. Not only this, but they are supposed also to
to help people improve themselves so they are not just preacher they're also helping people in higher spiritual plateaus. An example of this is in the Quran in three 164.
And mentioning in this case, the mission of Prophet Muhammad which is similar to others, reciting verses, that is to the people are signs of God to people sanctifying them
or purifying them and instructing them in scriptures and wisdom.
Fourth mission of the Prophet, which might sound surprising to some people, but indeed, within the Islamic
approach of integrating life, it is very relevant, that one of the mission of the Prophet also is to actually participate in the struggle
to establish social justice on Earth, even physically, to participate in fighting the forces of even oppression and exploitation. Of course, you might be immediately asking, What evidence do I have? We have an evidence in the Quran, there are several evidence in fact, let me just give you one verse in the Quran.
In 20, and 5725, it says, We that God verily sent our messengers with clear proofs, and revealed with them the scriptures and the balance, that is the balance between right and wrong,
that mankind may observe justice, or stand up in justice,
which shows that a prophet or messengers participation leading his people to fight evil,
to establish justice on earth is part and parcel of his mission. This four basic points, I think, can, like I said, it can be summarized basically in the fulfillment of the true submission to God on individual as well as collective level.
Great. This brings us to a question that is very often raised, whether in the Islamic context or in other
faiths as well. And that is the
the hierarchy of prophets if such a thing applies. Does Islam view the prophets as being
represented in a preferential?
Does Islam differentiate or distinguish between profits on any level assigning different status?
Well, it depends, of course, what you mean by hierarchy or status.
The basic rule is that if a person is making distinction between profits on fanatical or prejudicial basis, with the notion of trying to belittle this profit or that and saying that this profit is better than that, just for the purpose of prejudice, then this is forbidden. Right from the Quran itself. For example, in tu tu tu, tu 85. That's chapter two, verse 25. It reads, the messenger believes the message and in this case,
the messenger believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, as to persons of faith. Each of them believes in Allah or God, His angels, his books, and his messages. And then notice the remaining part. We Muslims, we make no distinction or differentiation between any of his messengers, and they say, we hear, and we obey grant as your forgiveness Our Lord, and unto you is the end of all journeys. So that's establish the basis.
But within this basic rule of what you might call brotherhood of all prophets, if you mean distinction that some prophets played a more important role in the, you know, upbringing or uplifting of the people, then surely they have been variations of roles. For example, in the Quran, in the same chapter, chapter two, verse 253. It says, Those messengers, we are endowed with gifts, some above others, that God has chosen to give more to one than the other.
Even in within this gentleman's
distinction that God mentioned about prophets. There is one term used to specify a characteristics of certain number of prophets. And that's the term is called an Arabic oluwaseun, or prophets with resolution those as a youth prophets. And this appears in 4635, it says, Therefore, patiently persevere or Muhammad, as did the resolute among messengers, the messengers who suffered more who had to persevere a good deal.
Many jurists believe that this fight this includes five prophets who are all mentioned in one verse in the Quran, 33 seven,
from whom the Quran says God has taken solemn covenant, and this includes prophets, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad May peace be upon them also these are regarded the major fight or the great five among all the prophets. Furthermore, within this category also of lizard youth profits, the greatest of all profits, definitely the one who played the greatest role. Among all of them, is the very last the last prophet Prophet Muhammad
The fact that his message was universal and directed to the entire humanity,
to bring them together. Under the same final scripture, a final revelation, which was given
by God shows again that his role was, again, the greatest among all the prophets. But it's important to emphasize what I mentioned before, again, that the distinction on the basis of fanaticism, is rejected in Islam, the distinction in a sense of my profit and your profit is erroneous, because there is nothing called your profit and microphones, for any sincere followers of previous follower of previous Prophet, he should have got all the profits as one brother with one, one brotherhood and there are all our profits, not mine,
Great. You mentioned the finality of the revelation given to the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Now, some skeptics would ask, why is a final revelation needed? Why not, for example, perpetual one.
That reminds me one time I had lectures, someone talking about comparative religion, and he said, You know, there are some people who believe that anybody could qualify for profit, if you tell him that, for example, brother, First News, a nice person is very moron. So I say all add his name to the list. Some people take it to the very, exactly. It depends, of course, what the logic of Islam is concerning this whole issue of prophethood. And that extends why a universal and final revelation is needed. To start with the bedrock of Islam, the very Cornerstone is this belief in monotheism, that there's one
creator, that's not even persons within the same practice, with one in every respect. Now, so you have oneness of God.
You have all humanity, and that the Quran emphasize that all humans belong to Adam, as the prophet of Islam said, you all belong to Adam or descent from Adam. That's Adam and Eve, and they were both created from nothing. So we have this common heritage or common linkage. So you have one humanity. And then we have one heirs that we are all sharing, we have one universe, that is part of the whole system.
We have also one
basic law that throughout the universe, that is the law that God has established in nature, we don't say the laws of nature, the laws that God created image should not avoid or apologize for saying God created.
Now, we have also one basic aim for this humanity, in its pursuit of material as well as spiritual progress.
It follows from all of these oneness or aspects of oneness, that there must also be one Prophethood one mission that all the prophets has carried throughout history. But again, coming back specifically to your question, Why bring this to some finality. If you look into the history of previous prophets, you know that many cases a prophet was sent. And after a few 100 years, another prophet was raised simply because the teaching of the first prophet were either lost or forgotten or somewhat changed, people added their own
mistaken interpretation into it. So for that reason, there was a need to have another profit. The other thing also is that without having this unity, like I mentioned before, some people will be tempted to say, No, I follow my profit, I follow this profit or that whereas all profits are carrying essentially the same message. So it makes a lot of sense that a profit would be sent to culminate to crystallize to bring together
with the guidance of God, of course, the entire essence of divine revelations throughout history, a prophet who His revelation will not anymore be lost or changed. And that we find in the case of the Quran is the only scripture known in the history of mankind, that was written down directly from the mouth of its prophet and lots of evidence is available about being available in tact in the very same form, it was revealed. An ether a prophet, who is scope of the mission is not only to his own people, as all prophets before Mohammed word, but rather to the entire executive to the entire humanity under one single Prophet, a prophet
whose mission is not only valid or related to the time when he was sent, but carries within itself, elements of flexibility and applicability for all times to come.
This whole issue then, various aspects of, of the oneness, like I said, makes it quite sensible to unite the entire humanity at a certain point of time, under the same aim, and
The same guy under the same Prophet, why not? Right? Then the obvious question after that is why,
at this particular time at this particular point in history, does the finality of the revelation have to appear? Now terms Why did Muhammad appear? Or why did the seal of the profit appear of the profits appear in the year 600? ad? You're asking me about the timing? Yeah, why? Why not before?
Before I get into some of the reasons, I'd like to make our mark here, that it is amazing to know
or not that no profit, no profit or messenger prior to Prophet Mohammed claimed, in explicit terms, that his message was the last or the conclusion. On the contrary, we find, and this could be a separate program in itself, that both in the Old and New Testament, there are always speaking about somebody to become prophet to come, including the New Testament. And again, we have different repetition of some of the verses than some others. But this we can come back to,
but never somebody claiming that he is the final unless only in the case of Islam, we find that this is documented in the Word of God itself, in the Quran, as well as in the word of Prophet Mohammed, this is just a significant point that might relate to future discussion. But as far as the timing, to start with, we have to say that, after all, the selection of the proper time is something that has been done not by a person, but by God Himself, that God chose at that time as the most appropriate to start with. And if we try as humans to understand why possibly not before or after, then it is only our human attempt to understand that we are not really judging the wisdom of God.
Okay, I could think at least of four basic points that would be very relevant here. First of all, the question of the means of transportation and communication.
in the past, as you know, it was very difficult to have communication or transportation, people moving from one place in the world to the other, it wasn't too practical to have a prophet or a prophet who has enough number of followers to spread all over the world and bring the message to other people. There weren't degrees, of course of that. But you could say that, in the from the seventh century on in the Christian era, perhaps the extent of movement, and contact between the people has become greater. And of course, with modern technology, it becomes even much easier to communicate the message.
A second basic reason is the means of writing, and preservation of the message. The Prophet is a human being, as you mentioned, he would live for a few years and then die. The only authentic teaching would be something that's preserved strip lessly,
preferably in writing, so that things will not be forgotten or mixed up. And now we know and this is, like I say, another area altogether, lots of evidence available that in the previous revelations given to previous prophets, it was not possible to remain it or keep it intact. For centuries, there were various reasons the believers were attacked, they were persecuted, the holy books were destroyed, some people started to write whatever they recalled. So there were problems. And this is something that everybody readily admits when you really study the historicity of the various scriptures prior to Islam. So with this difficulty, then it is quite possible that even though the
Prophet was honest about communicating what has been given to him, that this message, after him, might have undergone some loss, partial loss at least and possible change.
possible reason for that is that even whatever remained of the teaching of prophets, prior to Mohammed often has been mixed up with philosophical ideas with theological speculation, and at times, even with some of the mythology that preceded
the mission of on this profits. And that made it very difficult for people to sift out what was the exact words of the prophet and what was just mere theorizing or theological theory.
Putting theology and philosophy in the whole picture. At first and perhaps more important reason is the stage of maturity of humanity that a prophet was sent another prophet would come with some kind of modified, slightly modified mission, even though it's basically the same. And it made more sense that when humanity reaches a level, where a universal general message could be given to them, that carries like I mentioned before, the elements of flexibility, the elements of applicability, so that they would be interaction
Between the divine and the human, the divine gives you the permanent, unchangeable laws, work of life. And with human mind trying its best to interpret that and find detailed and specific application depending on the needs of time and place. Now, if you look at all of these four points that I mentioned, you find that with the advent of Prophet Muhammad, and ample historical evidence is there, that the message given to him was preserved intact. And this is a matter we can come to later that it has not been mixed up with the teaching of anybody else you find the doctrine is separate even from the words of Muhammad when he's not receiving revelation from words, his so
called habeas or prophetic tradition is separate even in the separate book. So the purity of the revelation has been preserved. And we see also that within a few years after his death, the message of Islam reached nearly half of the known world at that time, and today, of course, has Ah, the rest of the all corners of the world. So like I said, Before timing was selected by God. But there's a good number of possible logical reasons for this while at that particular time, okay, some people look at the concept of finality of the message of Muhammad, peace be upon him and ask the question.
Is the door of guidance closed? Okay, Mohammed is the seal of the prophets den? Are you Muslim sending us that there is no more guidance to be sent from God? I think, I think that mixes up the role of prophets with reformers. You see, a prophet is not sent to us to show us where to place the traffic lights, how to connect municipal taxes or how to organize the school board.
Profit it gives the broader guidance like is especially the last message the message of Islam, basically is a broad guidance principle that cannot be changed with time and place, because principles of freedom, equality, human brotherhood, and so on. And some laws some injunction that elaborate on it. But within that framework, it is quite possible for people to be inspired certain people to be especially inspired, but on individual level. But once the message of prophethood has been completed, the revelation has been preserved at the Quran itself asserts that this is the final revelation, it's the most perfect, complete and comprehensive code of life, then you don't really
need another prophet For details, you can work out your mind, you can think if there are some problems with people, for example, having some difficulty with understanding this is the concept of st has in Islam or trying to apply the laws, the divine law by exerting efforts and try to see how it could be applied under certain conditions, or in a certain period of time. So there's no
contradiction between the finality of prophethood and continuation of guidance in different lower forms. That's not anybody coming and claiming that he's a new Prophet, or that he received any new revelation. Okay, so it's not that we are saying really, that people do not deviate anymore. And since the final messages there, then people are going to be injured. People are still going to earth and people are still going to embrace from the proper path. But they don't need a profit every time they need reform exactly the format or matching is called a range of nature, for example, and by the way, there's something that's fascinates me on this, historically speaking, it is amazing to notice
that, since that assertion was made in the seventh century Christian here that Muhammad is the last prophet, they have never been a prophet, who can really resemble in any remote form even any of the great prophets of the past Abraham, Moses or Jesus.
And or anybody who claimed to have a revelation that any way can be compared, let's say with the Bible or with the Quran, and that itself is a historical manifestation. I'm not saying that they have not been claimed to have been claimed, but you can just judge it as compared with the greatest. Okay, Pergamon we have a half a minute, could you give us a an example from the Quran itself? That testifies to the finality of the message of Muhammad? Oh, yes there in the Quran and the saying of Prophet Muhammad, for example, in such as the 40 it says Muhammad is not the father of any of you men of your men, but he is the messenger of God and the last of prophets. Also in seven 158, it
says, say on Mohammed, I am the messenger of Allah or God to you all. And finally, in five, three, it says this day, have I perfected for you, your religion, completed my favors on you, and have chosen for you a code of life and Islam or submission. Thank you very much, Dr. Gamal. I'm afraid we're running out of time. Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, for joining us. We hope you're going to join us next time when we will be discussing a very fascinating topic that Jesus the Messiah in the Quran, kill them. This is Mohammed Paki, signing off Solomonic Marcus