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Seerah of the World Leader (PBUH) - 3: The Importance and Reality of Prophethood

15 Jun 2017
Seerah of the World Leader (PBUH) - 3: The Importance and Reality of Prophethood

 (From the Book Seerat Sarwar e Aalamﷺ)

The Most Important Need of Mankind

 وَعَلَى اللّٰهِ قَصۡدُ السَّبِيۡلِ وَمِنۡهَا جَآئِرٌ​ؕ 

(Quran 16:9 part) It rests with Allah alone to show you the Right Way, even when there are many crooked ways.

This contains an argument for Prophethood along with a proof of Tauhid (unity and oneness of God) and of Allah’s compassion and providence. The argument is this:

There are many divergent ways of thought and action open for man to choose from. Obviously, all these divergent ways cannot be straight ways, because there can be only one straight way; therefore, there can be only one right theory of life which is based on that way, and only one right way of life which is based on that right theory. Thus, it is clear that the choice of the right way of life is man’s most important and basic need, for its wrong choice would inevitably lead to his ruin. This is because all other things fulfill his animal needs only, but this is the greatest necessity of his life as a human being and without its fulfillment his life would be an utter failure.

Now, it cannot be expected that Allah Who made so many provisions, and on such a large scale, for the fulfillment of the animal life of man, did not make any arrangement for the fulfillment of this real and greatest necessity of man. Just as He has provided for all the necessities of his life, so He has also provided for this greatest need of his through Prophethood. If Prophethood is denied then it should be pointed out in what way Allah has fulfilled this basic need of man. Experience of centuries has shown that mankind has always blundered whenever it has chosen a way of life by itself. This is because man’s wisdom and intelligence are limited, and he cannot depend on these for the choice of the right way of life. Above all, one cannot say that Allah has made no arrangement for this basic need of man, for this will be the greatest misconception of Allah that He may make most elaborate arrangements for man’s animal life but should leave him in the lurch to search out a way for himself for the fulfillment of this most important and basic need.5

 Divine Guidance Instead of Forced Guidance

​ؕ وَلَوۡ شَآءَ لَهَدٰٮكُمۡ اَجۡمَعِيۡنَ

(Quran 16:9 part) Had He so willed, He would have (perforce) guided you all aright.

Here a question arises: Why didn’t Allah will to guide all the people aright inherently when He had taken upon Himself to show the right way? It is true that Allah could have imbued man, like other creatures, with the inborn instinct and enabled him to choose the right way without conscious thought, experience or teaching. But this would have been against His will which was to create a being, having will and power and freedom to follow the right way or the wrong way, whichever he chose for himself. This is why he has been endowed with different means of knowledge and power of conscious thought, deliberation and will, and has been empowered with the authority to make use of all powers in him and all things around him. Moreover, He has placed in him and all around him such factors as might lead him to guidance or deviation. All these things would have become meaningless, had he been created righteous by birth, and he could never have attained the heights of progress, which can be achieved only by the right use of freedom. That is why Allah has chosen Prophethood for man’s guidance, and left him free to follow or reject a Prophet. This is a test by means of which Allah judges whether man accepts the guidance that is presented to him in a rational way.6

 The Need of Signs of Guidance in Moral and Physical Life

  وَعَلٰمٰتٍ​ؕ وَبِالنَّجۡمِ هُمۡ يَهۡتَدُوۡنَ‏ 

(Quran 16:16) and He has set other landmarks in the earth. And by the stars too do people find their way.

This is a sign of Allah that He has broken the monotony of land by placing conspicuous landmarks on it to distinguish different regions from one another. These have many benefits and one of these is to help guide travelers and navigators to their destinations. One also realizes the importance and value of these landmarks, when one is traveling through a sandy desert where there are hardly any objects to guide on the way, and one is liable to lose the way any time. One feels the lack of landmarks much more in the sea voyage. It is in the deserts and the seas that people realize the true significance of stars by which they are directed aright to their destinations.

This verse contains arguments for Tauhid. Providence, and Compassion of Allah, and also a proof of Prophethood. For the mind is instinctively turned towards this question: Can it be possible that Allah who has made so elaborate arrangements for man’s guidance to fulfill his physical needs has neglected to provide for his moral and spiritual needs? It cannot be so, for it is obvious that even the greatest loss of some physical necessity due to the adoption of a wrong way is nothing as compared with the loss of spiritual and moral values due to deviation from the right way. It would be nothing less than having doubt in Allah’s Compassion and Providence to think that He, Who had made so elaborate provision for man’s guidance on land and sea by creating mountains, rivers, stars and other objects, would have neglected to make provision for his moral and spiritual guidance. And it stands to reason that He must have provided prominent beacons of light to guide man to that right way of life which is indispensable to his true success.7

 The Importance of Informed Guidance for the Mankind

قَالَ رَبُّنَا الَّذِىۡۤ اَعۡطٰـى كُلَّ شَىۡءٍ خَلۡقَهٗ ثُمَّ هَدٰى‏ 

(Quran 20:50) He said: "Our Lord is He Who gave everything its form and then guided it."

 

That is, we acknowledge Him alone as our Lord in every sense. He is our Sustainer, our Maker, our Master, our Sovereign and is Supreme in everything, and there is no other lord in any sense but Him.

This concise sentence needs serious attention. It means that it is Allah alone Who has created everything and given it its distinctive structure, form, capabilities, characteristics, etc.

For instance, man has been given the hands and feet which are given the most appropriate structure that was needed for their right functioning.

A human being, an animal, a plant, mineral and the like, air, water and light, everything has been given that particular form which was needed for its right functioning in the universe.

Then He has guided everything a right to function properly. It is He Who has taught everything the way to fulfill that object for which it has been created. He has taught the ear to hear and the eye to see, the fish to swim and the bird to fly; the earth to grow vegetation and the tree to blossom and bear fruit. In short, He is not only the Creator of everything but also its Guide and Teacher.

Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) employed this concise and meaningful sentence to convey the message to Pharaoh and his people. He not only gave a suitable reply to Pharaoh as to who his Lord was, but also told him why He was his Lord, and how there was no other lord but God. The argument implied in it was this: As Pharaoh and every one of his subjects was obliged to Allah for his human form and could not live even for a moment without the functioning of the different parts of his body which were performing their functions in accordance with the guidance of Allah, so Pharaoh’s claim that he was the lord of the people was absurd, and its acknowledgment by his people that he was their lord, a folly.

Besides this, Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) also hinted at the need of Prophethood which was denied by Pharaoh. When Allah guides everything in the universe, He has also to fulfill the need of the guidance of mankind. Whereas the guidance of the animals and birds has been provided by instinct, the guidance of rational human beings has been provided by sending Messengers who appealed to them by rational arguments.8

  1. Tafheem ul Quran vol 2. Surah An-Nahl, Reference note 9.
  2. Tafheem ul Quran vol 2. Surah An-Nahl, Reference note 10.
  3. Tafheem ul Quran vol 3. Surah Ta-ha, Reference note 23.

 

-Author Syed Abul A'ala Maududi, compiled in Urdu by Naeem Siddiqui, and Abdul Wakeel Alvi, Translation in English by Dr. Zafar Ishaq Ansari, compiled in English by Syed Jawed Anwar.

 

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