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Common Call of All the Messengers and Prophets of God and Their Position

Common Call of All the Messengers and Prophets of God and Their Position

By Syed Abul A'ala Maududi

(Translated from the book "Seerat Sarwar e Aalam")

We see in the Holy Quran that prophet after prophet came and called their people towards only one thing:

“O my people, worship Allah; you have no deity other than Him.”

Be it the land of Babylon or the land of Sodom or the country of Madyan or the area of Hijr or the Valley of Nile. Be it 40th, 20th or 10th century A.D. Be it slaves or independents, be it aging and weary, or be at the zenith in terms of cultural and political status. Hence everywhere and in every era and in every nation, the leader coming from Allah presented only one thing, and that was to obey Allah, and there is no God but Him. Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) عليه السلام clearly said to his people that there is no cooperation and work participation between you and me till you accept this original principle. “We have denied you, and there has appeared between us and you animosity and hatred forever until you believe in Allah alone.” Prophet Musa (Moses)  عليه السلام after going to Pharaoh and before demanding, “Send with me the Children of Israel,” announced, “I am a messenger from the Lord of the worlds,” and invited, “Would you purify yourself, And let me guide you to your Lord so you would fear.” He warned them he is not the Lord, but the Lord is one who has created everything and advised the way of living. Our Lord is He who gave each thing its form and then guided1.

Prophet Isa (Jesus) عليه السلام, whose people were slaves of the Romans, did not invite the children of Israel and the nearby nations towards the flag of the war of independence against the Roman imperialism but invited towards: “Indeed, Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. This is a straight path.” It is obvious that the events mentioned in the Quran are not from the other world. It is of the same world where we live and are related to same human beings as we are. This cannot be said that the countries and nations, where prophets عليهم السلامcame, did not require solution to political, social and cultural issues and which required focus. Hence the event is that every leader of the Islamic movement, ignoring the local and temporary issues, kept upfront this issue and used all their might on it. The conclusion is that this was mother of all issues for them, and they would stop all issues of life for its solution.2

Jesus [Isa (A.S)] explained the purpose of his prophethood.

وَمُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيۡنَ يَدَىَّ مِنَ التَّوۡرٰٮةِ وَلِاُحِلَّ لَـكُمۡ بَعۡضَ الَّذِىۡ حُرِّمَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ​وَجِئۡتُكُمۡ بِاٰيَةٍ مِّنۡ رَّبِّكُمۡ

 ÙÙŽØ§ØªÙ‘َقُوۡا اللّٰهَ وَاَطِيۡعُوۡنِ

اِنَّ اللّٰهَ رَبِّىۡ وَرَبُّكُمۡ فَاعۡبُدُوۡهُ​ Ø• هٰذَا صِرَاطٌ مُّسۡتَقِيۡمٌ‏


(3:50-51) And I have come to confirm the truth of whatever there still remains of the Torah, and to make lawful to you some of the things which had been forbidden to you have come to you with a sign from your Lord; so have fear of Allah and obey me. Surely, Allah is my Lord and your Lord; so serve Him alone. This is the straight way.

This shows that as with the other prophets, the fundamental points of Jesus' mission were the following:

(1) Man should acknowledge the exclusive sovereignty of God, which demands absolute service and obedience to Him, and Him alone. This principle serves as the basis for the entire structure of human morality and social behaviour.

(2) Man should obey the prophets since they are the representatives of the true Sovereign.

(3) The Law which should regulate man's conduct by elaborating what is right and what is wrong should be none other than the Law of God. The laws devised by others should be abrogated. There is, thus, no difference between the missions of Jesus, Moses and Muhammad (peace be on them all). Those who think that the missions of the Prophets differ from one another and who believe that their objectives vary have fallen into serious error. Whoever is sent by the Lord of the Universe to His creatures can have no other purpose than to dissuade God's subjects from disobeying Him and assuming an attitude of vanity and disregard towards Him, and to admonish them against associating anyone with God in His divinity (that is, either holding anyone to be a partner with the Lord of the Universe in His Sovereignty or recognizing others beside God as having a rightful claim on part of man's loyalty, devotion and worship), and to invite them all to be loyal to, and to serve, obey and worship God alone.3

Quran mentions the purpose of sending the prophets in other way:

رُسُلًا مُّبَشِّرِيۡنَ وَمُنۡذِرِيۡنَ لِئَلَّا يَكُوۡنَ لِلنَّاسِ عَلَى اللّٰهِ حُجَّةٌ Û¢ بَعۡدَ الرُّسُلِ Ø• وَكَانَ اللّٰهُ عَزِيۡزًا حَكِيۡمًا‏

(4:165) These Messengers were sent as bearers of glad tidings and as warners so that, after Allah’s sending the messengers, people may have no plea against Allah. Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.

God's purpose in sending the prophets was to establish His plea against mankind. God did not want criminals to have any basis on which to plead that their actions were done in ignorance. Prophets were therefore sent to all parts of the world, and many Scriptures were revealed. These prophets communicated knowledge of the truth to large sections of people, and left behind Scriptures which have guided human beings in all ages. If anyone falls prey to error, in spite of all this, the blame does not lie with God or the prophets. The blame lies rather with those who have spurned God's message even after having received it, and with those who knew the truth but failed to enlighten others.4

Prophets and messengers were sent not just delivering the truth but to be obeyed too:

وَمَاۤ اَرۡسَلۡنَا مِنۡ رَّسُوۡلٍ اِلَّا لِـيُـطَاعَ بِاِذۡنِ اللّٰهِ ؕ

(4:64) (And tell them that) We never sent a messenger but that he should be obeyed by the leave of Allah.

This is to impress upon us that prophets are not sent so that people may pay lip-service to their prophethood, and then obey whomever they wish. The purpose of sending prophets is that people should follow the laws of God as brought and expounded by them rather than laws devised by man, and that they should obey the commands of God as revealed to the Prophets to the exclusion of the commands of others. Otherwise there would be no meaning if people just accept him as a Messenger (without obeying).5

Prophets were also sent to struggle utmost to make Deen of Islam a dominant Deen:

هُوَ الَّذِىۡۤ اَرۡسَلَ رَسُوۡلَهٗ بِالۡهُدٰى وَدِيۡنِ الۡحَـقِّ لِيُظۡهِرَهٗ عَلَى الدِّيۡنِ كُلِّهٖۙ ÙˆÙŽÙ„ÙŽÙˆÛ¡ كَرِهَ الۡمُشۡرِكُوۡنَ‏

[9:14]  Make war on them. Allah will chastise them through you and will humiliate them. He will grant you victory over them, and will soothe the bosoms of those who believe.

The Arabic word ad-din has been translated into ‘ways’. For the word deen,  it is used for the ‘way of life’ or the ‘system of life’, which is followed in obedience to the supreme authority.

Now let us try to understand the significance of this verse. The object of the mission of the Messenger is to make the guidance and the right way he has brought from Allah dominant over all the other ways and systems of life. In other words, the messenger is not sent to allow Allah’s way to remain subordinate to other ways in order to enjoy concessions from them. He is sent by the Sovereign of the earth and the heavens to make His way dominant over all other ways.6

Restraining Evil on Earth, Tasks of the Prophets

What basically, constitutes evil is to surrender oneself to one's lusts, to commit acts in subservience to other human beings and to subscribe to base morals, social orders, civilizations, principles and laws derived from sources other than God's guidance. This is the essential evils from which innumerable sins issue and which the Qur'an seeks to eradicate. The Qur'an also emphasizes that sound order is the original condition, and disorder and evil occurred later as accidents resulting from man's ignorance and transgression. In other words, man's life on earth did not start with ignorance, savagery, polytheistic beliefs, rebellion against God and moral disorder where after reforms were gradually introduced. On the contrary, man's life began with good order and was later corrupted because of man's perversity and folly. God sent prophets from time to time in order to eradicate the disorder that had set in and to restore the original, good order. These prophets constantly exhorted people to refrain from disrupting the original order and creating evil.

Thus, the Qur'anic view on this question is altogether different from that of the proponents of the false doctrine of evolution, who postulate that man has gradually come out of darkness into light; that life has advanced in a unilineal fashion, towards increasingly better conditions. The Qur'an rather postulates that human life began in the full light of Divine Guidance, that the original state of affairs was in accord with the Right Way prescribed by God. The blame for corruption goes to man who, falling victim to Satan's allurements, veered towards darkness and corrupted the right order of human life again and again. As for God, He continually sent prophets in order to summon men from darkness to light, and to ask them to eschew evil and wickedness.7 & 8

Prophets’ claim to prophethood implied the call to total change, obviously, including political change. For if a person lays claim to be God's messenger, it implies that people obey him unreservedly. For God's messengers are not sent to the world to obey other human beings and live in subordination to them; they rather ask others to accept them as their leaders and rulers.9

Need for Sending Messengers:

وَلَوۡلَاۤ اَنۡ تُصِيۡبَـهُمۡ مُّصِيۡبَةٌۢ بِمَا قَدَّمَتۡ اَيۡدِيۡهِمۡ فَيَقُوۡلُوۡا رَبَّنَا لَوۡلَاۤ اَرۡسَلۡتَ اِلَـيۡنَا رَسُوۡلًا فَنَـتَّبِعَ اٰيٰتِكَ وَنَـكُوۡنَ مِنَ الۡمُؤۡمِنِيۡنَ‏

28:47) (We did so) lest a calamity might seize them because of the misdeeds they committed where after they would say, "Our Lord, why did you not send a messenger to us that we follow Your revelation and become among those who believe?

This very thing has been presented at several places in the Quran as the reason for sending the messengers, but it will not be correct to conclude from this that a messenger should be sent on every occasion at every place for this purpose. As long as the message of a prophet remains intact in the world and the means of conveying it to others exist, there is no need for a new prophet, unless need arises to supplement the previous message, or to supplant it by a new message; nevertheless, when the teachings of the prophets are forgotten, or become mixed up with errors and deviations and can no longer be relied upon as means of guidance, then the people do get a chance to make the excuse that there existed no arrangement whatsoever to make them aware of the distinction between the truth and the untruth and guide them to the right way so they could not be guided aright. To meet such an excuse, Allah sends the prophets in such conditions so that anyone who follows a wrong way after that may himself be held responsible for his going astray.10

Prophets are not sent so that people may pay lip-service to their prophethood, and then obey whomever they wish. The purpose of sending prophets is that people should follow the laws of God as brought and expounded by them rather than laws devised by man, and that they should obey the commands of God as revealed to the prophets to the exclusion of the commands of others.11

Sending Messengers at the Time of Final Decision

وَمَا نُرۡسِلُ الۡمُرۡسَلِيۡنَ اِلَّا مُبَشِّرِيۡنَ وَمُنۡذِرِيۡنَ Ûš وَيُجَادِلُ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡا بِالۡبَاطِلِ لِـيُدۡحِضُوۡا بِهِ الۡحَـقَّ وَاتَّخَذُوۡۤا اٰيٰتِىۡ وَمَاۤ اُنۡذِرُوۡا هُزُوًا‏

(18:56) We raise messengers only to give good news and to warn. But the unbelievers resort to falsehood in order to rebut the truth with it and scoff at My revelations and My warnings.

This verse has two meanings:

(1) We send Our messengers to forewarn the people before the coming of the judgment of the good results of obedience and the evil consequences of disobedience. But these foolish people are not taking advantage of these forewarnings and insist on seeing the same evil end from which the messengers desire to save them.

(2) If they insist on meeting with the scourge, they should not demand this from the messenger because the messenger is sent not to bring a scourge but to warn the people beforehand to escape from it.12

اِنَّ الدِّيۡنَ عِنۡدَ اللّٰهِ الۡاِسۡلَامُ وَمَا اخۡتَلَفَ الَّذِيۡنَ اُوۡتُوا الۡكِتٰبَ اِلَّا مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ مَا جَآءَهُمُ الۡعِلۡمُ بَغۡيًا ۢ بَيۡنَهُمۡؕ

(3:19) The true religion with Allah is Islam. The People of the Book adopted many different ways rather than follow the true way of Islam even after the knowledge of truth had reached them, and this merely to commit excesses against one another.

This shows that the deen of every messenger of God, in every age and clime, was none other than Islam (submission to God). Likewise, every divine book, in whichever language it was revealed, and to whichever people it was addressed, contained the teachings of Islam. The various religions which have spread among mankind are distortions of this true, original deen (religion and way of life), and are the result of tampering. Coveting privileges over and above those to which they were entitled, people altered the beliefs, principles and injunctions of the true religion in a manner conducive to their own interests.13

All the Messengers Were Representing Same Deen

وَتَقَطَّعُوۡۤا اَمۡرَهُمۡ بَيۡنَهُمۡؕ كُلٌّ اِلَـيۡنَا رٰجِعُوۡنَ‏

(21:93) But they tore asunder their faith into many parts. But to Us they are bound to return.

In this verse, the addressees are the entire mankind. It means: O mankind, in reality all of you belonged to one community and had one and the same religion and all the prophets brought one and the same creed which was this: Allah alone is the Lord of all mankind; therefore, they should worship Him alone. But afterwards the people corrupted this creed and invented and adopted the things they liked and mixed their own theories, whims and practices into it. This brought into being countless communities and religions. Thus, it is absolutely wrong to say that a particular prophet was the founder of a particular religion and another of another, and so on. The very fact that different religions came into being at different periods of time, does not prove that the prophets created these differences. It is obvious that the prophets of God could not have founded different religions, nor could they have taught their followers to worship any beings other than Allah.14 

Understanding of Prophets Before Prophethood

Holy Quran tells us that the knowledge the prophets عليهم السلام had before the revelation, its nature was no different from that of the common man. He had no such source of knowledge before the revelation which the common person did not have. So, said:

 Ù…َا كُنتَ تَدۡرِى مَا ٱلۡكِتَـٰبُ وَلَا ٱلۡإِيمَـٰنُ

“You did not know what is the Book or faith.” (42:52)

وَوَجَدَكَ ضَآلاًّ۬ فَهَدَىٰ

 “And He found you lost and guided.” (93:7)

Along with this, the Holy Quran also tell us that the prophets عليهم السلام before the prophethood, through the same common source of science and knowledge that the other humans had, reached the destination of faith of unseen. Whatever revelation did was just to bear precise testimony to those truths, which their hearts had witness to, that they were right and were made witness to these authenticities so that they could bear testimony to the whole world with exact proof. This topic has been mentioned repeatedly in Surah Hud  (11). Hence it is mentioned about Prophet Mohammad صلى الله عليه وسلم:

أَفَمَن كَانَ عَلَىٰ بَيِّنَةٍ۬ مِّن رَّبِّهِۦ وَيَتۡلُوهُ شَاهِدٌ۬ مِّنۡهُ وَمِن قَبۡلِهِۦ كِتَـٰبُ مُوسَىٰٓ إِمَامً۬ا وَرَحۡمَةً‌Ûš

“So is one who [stands] upon a clear evidence from his Lord [like the aforementioned]? And a witness from Him follows it, and before it was the Scripture of Moses to lead and as mercy” (11:17).

Then after the same topic is mentioned by the tongue of Prophet Nuh عليه السلام:

يَـٰقَوۡمِ أَرَءَيۡتُمۡ إِن كُنتُ عَلَىٰ بَيِّنَةٍ۬ مِّن رَّبِّى وَءَاتَٮٰنِى رَحۡمَةً۬ مِّنۡ عِندِهِۦ فَعُمِّيَتۡ عَلَيۡكُمۡ أَنُلۡزِمُكُمُوهَا وَأَنتُمۡ لَهَا كَـٰرِهُونَ

"O my people have you considered: if I should be upon clear evidence from my Lord while He has given me mercy from Himself but it has been made unapparent to you, should we force it upon you while you are averse to it?” (11:28).

Then the same topic is repeated by Prophet Saleh عليه السلام and Prophet Shoaib عليه السلام in sixth and eighth Ruku respectively. This clearly means that before getting straight knowledge of the truth through revelation, the prophets عليهم السلام would reach the truth of unification and revival by using the correct way of the natural ability of pondering and observing (which has been interpreted in the above verses as “clear evidence from my Lord”). Their access of this was not God-gifted but earned by efforts. Then Allah would give the knowledge of revelation, and this was not earned by efforts but God-gifted.

This observation of signs, pondering and use of common sense is completely different from those speculations and estimation which philosophers commit. This is the thing which the Holy Quran tries to convince every human being and repeatedly says to see the signs of God’s nature by opening the eyes and to extract true result from it.15

Messengers’ Knowledge of Unseen

This is not a correct idea that the messengers had only that much knowledge of unseen that was required to be given to the worshippers. This is also contradictory to the specifications of the Holy Quran and the Hadiths and also do not come out of the verses which the author argues upon. In the Holy Quran, it is mentioned of Prophet Yaqub عليه السلام that he said to his sons:

إِلَى ٱللَّهِ وَأَعۡلَمُ مِنَ ٱللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ

 “And I know from Allah that which you do not know” (12:86).

Moreover, in many places in the Holy Quran, it is known that, before God’s sending punishment to nations, their prophets have been informed. However, they have not informed their nations of times and details. Prophet Nuh عليه السلام was informed of the punishment so early that he built a ship before the storm. But he did not inform his people that a storm is coming on them. It is come to be known from Hadith that Prophet Mohammad صلى الله عليه وسلم was informed of much information of unseen which was not shared with his Ummah. Hence, once Prophet Mohammad صلى الله عليه وسلم said in one of his sermons:

“O Ummah of Mohammad! By God if you knew the information which I knew, you would laugh little and wept more” (Bukhari – Chapter: Sadqah fil Kusoof).

And on one more occasion Prophet Mohammad صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “I see you from behind similarly as I see from front” (Bukhari – Chapter: Izzatuh Amam Annas).

Hence many verses and traditions indicate that the knowledge of unseen that was given to the messengers was much more than what reached the worshippers through them. And that is what mind wants that worshipers should get knowledge of unseen to that extent which is important and related to belief and faith.

However, the messengers should also receive information other than this as well, which would help them in performing their duties. Like the policy of the state and its secrets are important to an extent to be known to deputy of the government and its governors and passing this to the general public, these secrets would harm instead of benefit. Similarly, the Kingdom of Allah has many secrets which are known to Allah’s special representatives and messengers, and the general public is unaware. This knowledge of unseen helps the messengers in performing their duties; however, the general public neither requires it nor can bear it. The thing that can be said correctly is precisely that the knowledge of the prophet is less than Allah and more than worshippers. And the rest that how much is the quantity, we do not have scale to measure it.16

Strict Surveillance of Prophets

In any society, the position of a prophet is very delicate. A minor incident experienced by an ordinary man in his life may not be of any consequence, but it assumes the status of law when experienced by a prophet. That is why the lives of the prophets have been kept under close supervision by Allah so that none of their acts, not even a most trivial one, may deviate from Divine Will. Whenever such an act has emanated from a Prophet, it was rectified and rectified immediately so that the Islamic law and its principles should reach the people in their absolute purity not only through the Divine Book but also through the excellent example of the Prophet, and they should include nothing which may be in disagreement with Divine Will.17

Direct Knowledge and Observation

All the prophets were enabled by Allah to see His signs in the heavens and the earth according to their ranks. And for this purpose, all the material curtains were lifted so that they could see with their naked eyes the unseen realities, to which they were required to invite the people.

This was done so that the prophets could say with full conviction what they had seen with their own eyes. For this experience would distinguish them from a philosopher who bases all his theories on guesswork and cannot say that he bears witness to what he claims. In contrast to philosophers, prophets could say that they bore witness to the things which they presented because they had seen them with their own eyes.18

Extraordinary Powers

وَلَمَّا فَصَلَتِ الۡعِيۡرُ قَالَ اَبُوۡهُمۡ اِنِّىۡ لَاَجِدُ رِيۡحَ يُوۡسُفَ لَوۡلَاۤ اَنۡ تُفَـنِّدُوۡنِ‏

(12:94) And as the caravan set out (from Egypt), their father said (in Canaan): "Indeed I smell the fragrance of Joseph.66 I say so although you may think that I am doting."

This is an instance of the extraordinary powers the prophets possessed. Prophet Jacob perceived in Canaan the smell of Prophet Joseph’s shirt from such a distant place as Egypt as soon as the caravan started on the journey. At the same time, it also shows, by contrast, that these powers of the prophets are not inherent or personal characteristics but are bestowed on them by Allah as and when He wills. That is why Prophet Jacob could not perceive the smell of the clothes of Prophet Joseph as long as Allah did not will it, when he had been living in Egypt.

In this connection, it should also be noted that, in contrast to the Quran which represents Prophet Jacob as a great Prophet who was able to perceive the smell of Prophet Joseph from such a long distance, the Bible represents him as an ordinary, uncultured father. According to Genesis 45: 26-27, “When they told him, saying, ‘Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt’, Jacob’s heart fainted, for he believed them not, and only when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived.”19

Prophets Being Human

All the former prophets were human beings; therefore, there is nothing strange or unusual that a human being like Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been sent as a messenger.

The mission and teachings of this prophet are the same as of those who were sent before him.

All the prophets had been granted a privileged position by Allah, Who blessed them with special favours. For instance, though they were made to suffer from hardships and persecutions for years, ultimately Allah heard their prayers and helped them in miraculous ways against their enemies and persecutors.

In spite of Allah’s special favours on them, they were no more than His humble servants and human beings and had no share whatever in Godhead. So much so that sometimes they committed errors of judgment, fell ill, were put to trials and even committed faults, for which they were called to account by Allah.20

Meaning of Infallibility of the Prophets

In case of Nuh (Noah), we see, as Noah was like the other Prophets, a human being; he also suffered from the common human weakness; that is, natural parental love for children. So he begged his Lord to deliver his son from the deluge. Allah admonished him because the high character of a prophet demanded that he ought not to have made such a request even for his own flesh and blood. That is why, no sooner was the warning administered to him, than he realized that he had come down from the high position of a prophet to the level of a mere father because of the critical psychological human weakness. Therefore immediately after the warning, he repented of his weakness, and behaved as if his own son had not been drowned in the deluge a moment before this. This character shown by him is a clear proof that he was a true prophet. He returned to the same height and meekly asked his Lord’s forgiveness for showing any concern for his own son who had forsaken the truth and sided with falsehood. The prophets were immediately corrected by Allah if there were any mistakes. That is why prophets are infallible. 21

وَلَـقَدۡ هَمَّتۡ بِهٖۚ وَهَمَّ بِهَا لَوۡلَاۤ اَنۡ رَّاٰ بُرۡهَانَ رَبِّهٖؕ كَذٰلِكَ لِنَصۡرِفَ عَنۡهُ السُّۤوۡءَ وَالۡـفَحۡشَآءَؕ اِنَّهٗ مِنۡ عِبَادِنَا الۡمُخۡلَصِيۡنَ‏

(12:24) “And she advanced towards him, and had Joseph not perceived a sign 22 from his Lord, he too would have advanced towards her. Thus, was Joseph shown a sign from his Lord that We might avert from him all evil and indecency, 23 for indeed he was one of Our chosen servants.”

“Evidence of his Lord” means inspiration from Allah to rouse his conscience to the fact that it was not worthy of him to yield to the temptation of the woman. As regards to the question, “What was that evidence”, it has been stated in the preceding verse, that is: “My Lord has shown much kindness towards me. Should I, then, misbehave like this?” Such workers of iniquity never fare well. This was the divine evidence that saved Prophet Joseph in the prime of youth from that great temptation. The significance of “And he would have desired her, if it had not been that he saw the evidence (sign) of his Lord” is this: “Even a prophet like Joseph could not have been able to save himself from sin, had not Allah guided him rightly with His evidence. Incidentally, this verse makes plain the nature of the immunity of prophets from sin. It does not mean that a prophet is infallible and incapable of committing any error, offense or sin, or doing wrong, or making a mistake. What it means is this: though a prophet possesses passions, emotions, and carnal desires like other human beings and is capable of committing a sin, he is so virtuous and God-fearing that he never deliberately cherishes any evil intentions, for he is endowed with such great arguments from his Lord as do not allow the lusts of the flesh overpower the voice of his conscience. And if ever he succumbs inadvertently to any of the human weaknesses, Allah at once sends a revelation to him to set him on the right path. For the consequences of his error do not remain confined to his own person but react on the whole mankind, for even his slightest error might mislead the world to the most horrible sins.22

Few Verses Related to Prophet’s Character

وَاذۡكُرۡ فِى الۡكِتٰبِ اِبۡرٰهِيۡمَ اِنَّهٗ كَانَ صِدِّيۡقًا نَّبِيًّا

(19:41) “(O Muhammad), recite in the Book the account of Abraham.26 Most surely, he was a man of truth, a Prophet.”

وَاذۡكُرۡ فِى الۡكِتٰبِ مُوۡسٰٓى اِنَّهٗ كَانَ مُخۡلَصًا وَّكَانَ رَسُوۡلًا نَّبِيًّا‏

(19:51) “And recite in the Book the account of Moses. He was a chosen one, a Messenger, a Prophet.”

وَنَادَيۡنٰهُ مِنۡ جَانِبِ الطُّوۡرِ الۡاَيۡمَنِ وَقَرَّبۡنٰهُ نَجِيًّا‏

(19:52) “We called out to him from the right side of the Mount, and We drew him near to Us by communing to him in secret.”

وَاذۡكُرۡ فِى الۡـكِتٰبِ اِسۡمٰعِيۡلَ اِنَّهٗ كَانَ صَادِقَ الۡوَعۡدِ وَكَانَ رَسُوۡلًا نَّبِيًّا Ûš‏

(19:54) “And recite in the Book the account of Ishmael. He was ever true to his promise, and was a Messenger, a Prophet.”

وَ كَانَ يَاۡمُرُ اَهۡلَهٗ بِالصَّلٰوةِ وَالزَّكٰوةِ وَكَانَ عِنۡدَ رَبِّهٖ مَرۡضِيًّا

(19:55) “He enjoined his household to observe Prayer and to give Zakah (purifying alms); and his Lord was well pleased with him.”

وَاذۡكُرۡ فِى الۡكِتٰبِ اِدۡرِيۡسَ اِنَّهٗ كَانَ صِدِّيۡقًا نَّبِيًّا

(19:56) “And recite in the Book the account of Idris. He was a man of truth, a Prophet,

وَّرَفَعۡنٰهُ مَكَانًا عَلِيًّا‏

(19:57) “and We exalted him to a lofty position.”

اُولٰٓـئِكَ الَّذِيۡنَ اَنۡعَمَ اللّٰهُ عَلَيۡهِمۡ مِّنَ النَّبِيّٖنَ مِنۡ ذُرِّيَّةِ اٰدَمَ وَمِمَّنۡ حَمَلۡنَا مَعَ نُوۡحٍ وَّمِنۡ ذُرِّيَّةِ اِبۡرٰهِيۡمَ وَاِسۡرَآءِيۡلَ وَمِمَّنۡ هَدَيۡنَا وَاجۡتَبَيۡنَا ؕ اِذَا تُتۡلٰى عَلَيۡهِمۡ اٰيٰتُ الرَّحۡمٰنِ خَرُّوۡا سُجَّدًا وَّبُكِيًّا

(19:58) “These are the Prophets upon whom Allah bestowed His favour from the seed of Adam, and from the seed of those whom We carried (in the Ark) with Noah, and from the seed of Abraham and Israel. They were those whom We guided and chose (for an exalted position). They were such that when the words of the Most Compassionate Lord were recited to them, they fell down in prostration, weeping.”

وَلَـقَدۡ اٰتَيۡنَاۤ اِبۡرٰهِيۡمَ رُشۡدَهٗ مِنۡ قَبۡلُ ÙˆÙŽ كُنَّا بِهٖ عٰلِمِيۡنَۚ‏ 

(21:51) “Surely, We had bestowed wisdom upon Abraham even earlier, and We knew him well.”

وَوَهَبۡنَا لَهٗۤ اِسۡحٰقَ Ø• وَيَعۡقُوۡبَ نَافِلَةً Ø• وَكُلًّا جَعَلۡنَا صٰلِحِيۡنَ‏

(21:72) “And We bestowed upon him Isaac and Jacob as an additional gift, making each of them righteous.”

وَجَعَلۡنٰهُمۡ اَـئِمَّةً يَّهۡدُوۡنَ بِاَمۡرِنَا وَاَوۡحَيۡنَاۤ اِلَيۡهِمۡ فِعۡلَ الۡخَيۡرٰتِ وَاِقَامَ الصَّلٰوةِ وَاِيۡتَآءَ الزَّكٰوةِۚ وَكَانُوۡا لَـنَا عٰبِدِيۡنَ Û™Ûš‏

(21:73) “And We made them into leaders to guide people in accordance with Our command, and We inspired them to good works, and to establish Prayers and to give Zakah. They worshipped Us alone.”

وَلُوۡطًا اٰتَيۡنٰهُ حُكۡمًا وَّعِلۡمًا وَّنَجَّيۡنٰهُ مِنَ الۡقَرۡيَةِ الَّتِىۡ كَانَتۡ تَّعۡمَلُ الۡخَبٰٓـئِثَؕ اِنَّهُمۡ كَانُوۡا Ù‚ÙŽÙˆÛ¡Ù…ÙŽ سَوۡءٍ فٰسِقِيۡنَۙ‏  وَاَدۡخَلۡنٰهُ فِىۡ رَحۡمَتِنَا Ø• اِنَّهٗ مِنَ الصّٰلِحِيۡنَ‏

(21:74-75) “We bestowed upon Lot sound judgement and knowledge,67 and We delivered him from the city that was immersed in foul deeds. They were indeed a wicked people, exceedingly disobedient. And We admitted him into Our mercy. Verily, he was of the righteous.”

وَنُوۡحًا اِذۡ نَادٰى مِنۡ قَبۡلُ فَاسۡتَجَبۡنَا لَهٗ فَنَجَّيۡنٰهُ وَاَهۡلَهٗ مِنَ الۡكَرۡبِ الۡعَظِيۡمِۚ‏  وَنَصَرۡنٰهُ مِنَ الۡقَوۡمِ الَّذِيۡنَ كَذَّبُوۡا بِاٰيٰتِنَا Ø• اِنَّهُمۡ كَانُوۡا Ù‚ÙŽÙˆÛ¡Ù…ÙŽ سَوۡءٍ فَاَغۡرَقۡنٰهُمۡ اَجۡمَعِيۡنَ

(21:76-77) “We bestowed the same favour upon Noah. Recall, when he cried to Us before,68 We accepted his prayer and delivered him and his household from the great distress, and We helped him against a people who rejected Our signs as false. They were indeed an evil people, and so We drowned them all.”

وَدَاوٗدَ وَسُلَيۡمٰنَ اِذۡ يَحۡكُمٰنِ فِى الۡحَـرۡثِ اِذۡ نَفَشَتۡ فِيۡهِ غَنَمُ الۡقَوۡمِۚ وَكُنَّا لِحُكۡمِهِمۡ شٰهِدِيۡنَ Û™‏  فَفَهَّمۡنٰهَا سُلَيۡمٰنَۚ وَكُلًّا اٰتَيۡنَا حُكۡمًا وَّعِلۡمًا وَّسَخَّرۡنَا مَعَ دَاوٗدَ الۡجِبَالَ يُسَبِّحۡنَ وَالطَّيۡرَ Ø• وَكُنَّا فٰعِلِيۡنَ‏   وَعَلَّمۡنٰهُ صَنۡعَةَ لَبُوۡسٍ لَّـكُمۡ لِتُحۡصِنَكُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَاۡسِكُمۡۚ فَهَلۡ اَنۡـتُمۡ شٰكِرُوۡنَ  وَلِسُلَيۡمٰنَ الرِّيۡحَ عَاصِفَةً تَجۡرِىۡ بِاَمۡرِهٖۤ اِلَى الۡاَرۡضِ الَّتِىۡ بٰرَكۡنَا فِيۡهَاؕ وَكُنَّا بِكُلِّ شَىۡءٍ  عٰلِمِيۡنَ‏  وَمِنَ الشَّيٰطِيۡنِ Ù…ÙŽÙ†Û¡ يَّغُوۡصُوۡنَ لَهٗ وَيَعۡمَلُوۡنَ عَمَلًا دُوۡنَ ذٰ لِكَ Ûš وَكُنَّا لَهُمۡ حٰفِظِيۡنَۙ‏

(21:78-82) “We bestowed the same favour upon David and Solomon. Recall, when they gave judgement regarding a tillage into which the sheep of some people had strayed at night, and We were witnesses to their judgement. We guided Solomon to the right verdict, and We had granted each of them70 judgement and knowledge. We made the mountains and the birds celebrate the praise of Allah with David. It was We Who did all this. It was We Who taught him the art of making coats of mail for your benefit so that it may protect you from each other's violence. Do you, then, give thanks? And We subdued the strongly raging wind to Solomon which blew at his bidding towards the land We blessed.74 We know everything. And We subdued many devils who dived (into the sea) for him and carried out other jobs besides that. We kept watch over all of them.”

It should, however, be noted that in this context, the incident has been cited to show that the prophets were after all human beings in spite of their God-given powers and abilities. In this case, Prophet David committed an error of judgment because he was not guided by Allah as was Prophet Solomon, though both of them were prophets. In the succeeding passage, the wonderful powers of both have been mentioned to show that they were God-given and did not make anyone a god.23

وَاَيُّوۡبَ اِذۡ نَادٰى رَبَّهٗۤ اَنِّىۡ مَسَّنِىَ الضُّرُّ وَاَنۡتَ اَرۡحَمُ الرّٰحِمِيۡنَ Û–Ûš‏ فَاسۡتَجَبۡنَا لَهٗ فَكَشَفۡنَا مَا بِهٖ مِنۡ ضُرٍّ وَّاٰتَيۡنٰهُ اَهۡلَهٗ Ùˆ مِثۡلَهُمۡ مَّعَهُمۡ رَحۡمَةً مِّنۡ عِنۡدِنَا وَذِكۡرٰى لِلۡعٰبِدِيۡنَ‏

(21:83-84) “We bestowed (the same wisdom, judgement and knowledge) upon Job.76 Recall, when he cried to his Lord: ‘Behold, disease has struck me and You are the Most Merciful of those that are merciful’. We accepted his prayer and removed the affliction78 from him, and We not only restored to him his family but as many more with them as a mercy from Us and as a lesson to the worshippers.”

وَاِسۡمٰعِيۡلَ وَاِدۡرِيۡسَ وَذَا الۡكِفۡلِؕ كُلٌّ مِّنَ الصّٰبِرِيۡنَ Û–Ûš‏  وَاَدۡخَلۡنٰهُمۡ فِىۡ رَحۡمَتِنَا Ø• اِنَّهُمۡ مِّنَ الصّٰلِحِيۡنَ‏

(21:85-86) “And (We bestowed the same favour) upon Ishmael, Idris80 and Dhu al-Kifl,81 for they were all steadfast. And We admitted them into Our mercy, for they were of the righteous.”

ÙˆÙŽ ذَا النُّوۡنِ اِذْ ذَّهَبَ مُغَاضِبًا فَظَنَّ اَنۡ لَّنۡ نَّـقۡدِرَ عَلَيۡهِ فَنَادٰى فِى الظُّلُمٰتِ اَنۡ لَّاۤ اِلٰهَ اِلَّاۤ اَنۡتَ سُبۡحٰنَكَ Û–  اِنِّىۡ كُنۡتُ مِنَ الظّٰلِمِيۡنَ Û– فَاسۡتَجَبۡنَا لَهٗۙ وَنَجَّيۡنٰهُ مِنَ الۡـغَمِّؕ وَكَذٰلِكَ نُـنْجِى الۡمُؤۡمِنِيۡنَ‏

(21:87-88) “And We bestowed Our favour upon Dhu al-Nun.82 Recall, when he went forth enraged,83 thinking We have no power to take him to task.84 Eventually he cried out in the darkness, ‘There is no god but You. Glory be to You! I have done wrong’. Thereupon We accepted his prayer and rescued him from grief. Thus do We rescue the believers.”

وَزَكَرِيَّاۤ اِذۡ نَادٰى رَبَّهٗ رَبِّ لَا تَذَرۡنِىۡ فَرۡدًا وَّاَنۡتَ خَيۡرُ الۡوٰرِثِيۡنَ Û–Ûš‏ فَاسۡتَجَبۡنَا لَهٗ وَوَهَبۡنَا لَهٗ يَحۡيٰى وَاَصۡلَحۡنَا لَهٗ زَوۡجَهٗ Ø• اِنَّهُمۡ كَانُوۡا يُسٰرِعُوۡنَ فِىۡ الۡخَيۡـرٰتِ ÙˆÙŽ يَدۡعُوۡنَـنَا رَغَبًا وَّرَهَبًا Ø• وَكَانُوۡا لَنَا خٰشِعِيۡنَ‏

(21:89-90) “And We bestowed favour upon Zechariah, when he cried to his Lord, ‘Lord! Leave me not solitary (without any issue). You are the Best Inheritor’. So We accepted his prayer and bestowed upon him John, and We made his wife fit (to bear a child). Verily they hastened in doing good works and called upon Us with longing and fear, and humbled themselves to Us.”

The story of Prophet Zacharias has been cited to impress on the minds that all the prophets were human beings and servants of Allah and had no tinge of Godhead in them. They had no power to bestow children upon others because they themselves had to pray to Allah for children for themselves.

The story of Prophet Jonah has been cited to show that even a great Prophet like him did not go unnoticed when he committed an error in regard to Allah’s message. But when he repented, Allah, by His grace, delivered him alive from the belly of the fish.

The mention of Prophet Job has been made to show that even prophets were put to hard trials and afflictions and even they had to beg Allah to restore them to health, not to speak of curing others of diseases.

Along with these, the other important thing which is meant to be impressed is that all the prophets believed in the doctrine of Tauhid. That is why they begged and prayed to One Allah alone to fulfil their needs and requirements. Though they met with trials, Allah helped them and granted their prayers in supernatural and miraculous ways.24

1. Meaning Prophet Musa(Moses) and Haroon (Aaron) عليهما السلامwere also appointed for the same service on which all prophets after Prophet Nuh عليه السلامtill Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم were appointed and that is to believe that Allah the Lord of Worlds is your Lord and to accept that after this world you will be present in the life after death and be accountable for your deeds. Not only your success but the success of all people is dependent on accepting the belief on call towards oneness of Allah and the life after death and to establish the system of life on this principle which has been presented prophets of Allah in all time. -Author
2. Tahreek e Aazadi e Hind aur Musalman, Hissa Doem (2)-(Urdu-page 105-106), translated by Ibrahim Usmani (new)
3. Towards Understanding Quran, Surah Al-i’Imran n. 48, translated by Dr. Zafar Ishaq Ansari
4. Towards Understanding Quran Surah, An-Nisaa n. 208, translated by Dr. Zafar Ishaq Ansari
5. Towards Understanding Quran, Surah An-Nisaa n. 94, translated by Dr. Zafar Ishaq Ansari
6.Towards Understanding Quran, Surah At-Tauba n. 32, translated by Dr. Zafar Ishaq Ansari
7. Towards Understanding Quran, Surah Al-A'raf n. 44, translated by Dr. Zafar Ishaq Ansari
8. When ignorant people attempt to trace the history of 'religion', they tend to the view that man began his life in the darkness of polytheism and that, in the course of time, corresponding to man's progress, this darkness gradually receded and light increased till man arrived at monotheism.

The Qur'anic version, however, proclaims that man began his life in full light of the Truth. God revealed this Truth to the very first man He created, one to whom He intimated the right way of life for man. Thereafter, the human race remained on the Right Way for some time and lived as one community. Later, however, people invented deviating ways. This did not happen because Truth had not been communicated to them. The cause was rather that some people wilfully sought to acquire privileges, benefits, and advantages beyond their legitimate limits, and thus subjected others to injustices. It was in order to enable people to overcome this corruption that God sent His prophets. These prophets were not sent to found separate religions in their own names and bring new religious communities into existence. Rather the purpose of the prophets was to illuminate before people the Truth which they had allowed to be lost, and once again make them into one community. (Towards Understanding the Qur'an, (al-Baqarah 2, n. 230,)
9. Towards Understanding Quran, Surah Al-A'raf n. 88, translated by Dr. Zafar Ishaq Ansari
10.Towards Understanding Quran, Surah Al-Qasas n. 66, translated by Dr. Zafar Ishaq Ansari
11. Towards Understanding Quran, Surah An-Nisaa n. 94, translated by Dr. Zafar Ishaq Ansari
12. Towards Understanding Quran, Surah Al-Kahaf n. 53, translated by Dr. Zafar Ishaq Ansari
13. Towards Understanding Quran Surah, Al-i’Imran n. 17, translated by Dr. Zafar Ishaq Ansari
14. Towards Understanding Quran Surah, Al-Anbiya n. 91, translated by Dr. Zafar Ishaq Ansari
15. Rasael wa Masael, vol 1, pages 25 to 27, translated by Ibrahim Usmani (new).
16. Rasael wa Masael, vol 1, pages 34 to 36, translated by Ibrahim Usmani (new).
17. Towards Understanding Quran, Surah, Surah At- Tahreem Intro, translated by Dr. Zafar Ishaq Ansari
18. Towards Understanding Quran, Surah Al-Isra, n. 1, translated by Dr. Zafar Ishaq Ansari
19. Towards Understanding Quran, Surah Yusuf, n. 66, translated by Dr. Zafar Ishaq Ansari
20. Towards Understanding Quran, Al-Anbiya, n. 49, translated by Dr. Zafar Ishaq Ansari
21. Towards Understanding Quran, Hud, n. 50, translated by Dr. Zafar Ishaq Ansari
22. Towards Understanding Quran, Surah Yusuf n. 22, translated by Dr. Zafar Ishaq Ansari
23. Towards Understanding Quran, Al-Anbiya, n. 70, translated by Dr. Zafar Ishaq Ansari
24.Towards Understanding Quran, Al-Anbiya, n. 87, translated by Dr. Zafar Ishaq Ansari

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




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