The Sunday Mail
According to Islam, Allah Almighty created man for a noble purpose: to worship Him and lead a virtuous life based on His teachings and guidance.
How would man know his role and the purpose of his existence unless he received clear and practical instructions of what Allah wants him to do? Here comes the need for Prophethood.
Thus The Almighty had chosen from every nation a Prophet (Messenger) or more to convey His Message, His instructions and His guidance to the people. We do not have any direct way of knowing why we were created.
What will happen to us after death? Is there any life after death? Are we accountable for our actions? In other words, is there any reward or punishment for our deeds in this life?
These and so many other questions about God, Angels, Paradise, Hell, etcetera, cannot be answered without direct revelation from the Creator and Knower of the unseen.
Those answers must be authentic and must be brought by individuals whom we trust and respect. That is why Messengers of The Almighty are the select of their societies in terms of moral conducts and intellectual abilities.
Major characteristics of Prophets
One might ask: How were the Prophets chosen and who were entitled to this great honour? Prophethood is Allah’s blessing and favour that He may bestow on whom He wills. However, from carefully studying the lives of the various messengers throughout history, three features of a Divinely chosen Prophet may be recognised:
1. He is the best in his community morally and intellectually. This is necessary because the Prophet’s life serves as a model for his followers. His personality should attract people to accept his message rather than drive them away by any imperfect character. After receiving the message he is infallible. That is, he would not commit any sin or transgression of the commands of The Almighty.
2. He is supported by miracles to prove that he is not an impostor. Those miracles are granted by the power and permission of God Almighty and are usually in the field in which his people not only excel but are regarded as superiors. We might illustrate this by quoting the major miracles of the three Prophets of the major world religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Moses’ contemporaries were excellent in the art of magic. So his major miracle was to defeat the best magicians of his days in Egypt. Jesus’ contemporaries were recognised as skillful physicians. Therefore, his miracles were to raise the dead back to life and cure incurable diseases. The Arabs, who the contemporaries of the Prophet Muhammad, were known for their eloquence and magnificent poetry. So Prophet Muhammad’s major miracle was the Qur’aan. The equivalent of which the whole legion of the Arab poets and orators could not produce despite the repeated challenge from the Qur’aan itself.
3. Every Prophet stated clearly that what he received as revelation was not of his own but from God for the well being of mankind. He also confirmed what was revealed before him and what may be revealed after him. A Prophet does this to show that he is simply conveying the message which is entrusted to him by the One True God of all people in all ages. So the message is one in essence and for the same purpose. Therefore, it should not deviate from what was revealed before him or what might come after him.
For further information on Islam or a free copy of the Holy Qur’aan, please contact: Majlisul Ulama Zimbabwe, Council of Islamic Scholars
P.O. Box W93, Waterfalls, Harare
Tel: 04-614078/614004, Fax : 04-614003