Another Proof for the Legitimacy of the Prophet of Islam
In order for us to realize the legitimacy of a Prophet’s claim to prophethood and in order to find out if he is truthful or a pretender, apart from observing his miracles, we have the following set of methods available to us:
His ethical traits and his past social activities;
The conditions which govern and dominate the time of the claim;
The temporal conditions;
The content of the claim;
The program of implementation and the means to arrive at the objective;
The level of the claimant’s faith and loyalty to his aims;
His firm standing against any compromise;
The speed of his influence ever the public;
A Survey of those who have adopted the new faith and a study of their social standing.
Through the application of these nine approaches to any claimant of prophethood, we could easily test the validity of his claim.
Now we will apply the above tests to the Prophet of Islam and present a brief description of his traits despite the fact that a complete description of the characteristic of the Prophet of Islam(s) requires numerous volumes of books.
With respect to the ethical traits and post social activities of the
Prophet (s), both his detractors and supporters agree upon the fact that he was completely trustworthy and was well known for this trait. History tells us that when he was leaving for the city of Medina, he appointed `Al¢(s) to return people’s deposits to them.
His bravery, perseverance, good-temper, generosity, and gentleness could be observed during his holy wars as well as during times of peace. His public pardon which he issued after the conquest of Mecca and the surrender of the aggressive enemies of Islam is a living document for this claim.
We all know that both the ordinary person and the genius consciously or unconsciously are influenced by their environment. Of course, this influence varies from person to person.
Now, imagine an individual who had been brought up for forty years in an environment dominated by idol worship and superstition. How could he show his inclination towards pure monotheism and fight against all manifestations of infidelity?
Is it not odd that out of such a strange environment replete with superstitious ideas, the best form of scientific advancement could emerge?
Could we ever think that such an extraordinary individual could have come forth without divine confirmation?
Observe the time at which such a great Prophet appeared. He appeared when the world was under the domination of a dark age: the time in which despotism, discrimination, unjust racial attitudes and class conflict prevailed. It is better to listen to Imam `Al¢(s) who had witnessed both the pre-Islamic and post-Islamic eras: He says:
“God appointed him for such a mission at a time when people used to live under ignorance, when their wisdom and rational thinking were under devilish whims and wishes; at a time when arrogance and false pride had caused their down fall; at a time when the darkness of the period of Ignorance had led them astray and they were caught between ignorance and perplexity”()
Now think, under such severe conditions, how could a religion have come into being whose watchwords were equality among men, and the elimination of racial and class discrimination?
The content of its invitation were equality and unanimity in all aspects, the negation of cruel and unjust relationships, the unity of mankind, the struggle against cruelty, a design for a world government, defense of the needy, and the adoption of purity and piety.
In implementing his program, he always employed sacred means to arrive at his sacred goals. He used to say explicitly:
وَلاَ يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَئَانُ قَوْمٍ عَلَى أَلاَّ تَعْدِلُوا.
Your enmity with a specific group should not hinder you from performing justice. [Qur’¡n 5:8]
His commands in the arena of war included the observance of ethical principles, not attacking non-military persons, avoiding the destruction of date-plantations and orchards, not contaminating the enemy’s drinking water and the amicable treatment of prisoners of war.
The effect of his teachings was so profound that his enemies worried about individuals getting close to this because his influence over people was tremendous. So when he would begin to deliver his sermons, his enemies would make much commotion so that his followers could not hear what he was saying. In order for the Prophet’s enemies to discourage people from being attracted by the Prophet’s charisma, they called him a wizard and described his words and discourse as magic. The use of these pejorative titles indicates the profound impact the Prophet had over his listeners.
The amount of sacrifice that he made towards the new religion which he had brought proved that he cared more than others about it.
In some wars when newly converted young men would flee the scene, he showed great fortitude and never turned his back on the enemy. In those situations when the enemy tried to bribe, intimidate or entice him, he stayed firm and maintained position.
The enemies of Islam repeatedly tried to make him go astray, but they failed each time. He used to say: Even if you place the sun in one of my hands and the moon in the next, I would never abandon this religion.
His efforts in communicating the principles of Islam were both amazing and swift. His impact on people was tremendous. Those who read western views on Islamic history would notice how surprised they are concerning the spread of Islamic ideology among different people. For instance, three well-known authors writing on “the history of western civilization and its bases in the East” have openly confessed to this fact for example one of them has said:
“It is still a mystery how Islam spread all over the civilized nations of those days in less than a century.”
Yes, indeed it is still an enigma how Islam spread so widely among the hearts of people and how it could absorb civilizations and establish a civilization of its own.
His enemies were the tyrants and unjust dictators and some of the affluent classes of society The newly converted on the other hand were among the penniless and the deprived, poverty-stricken individuals or even slaves: they were people who had nothing except for sincerity and purity of heart.
From the above discussion, we could easily come to the conclusion that Mu¦ammad’s invitation to Islam was a divine one: it was an invitation whose source lay in the supernatural, and it was the Hand of God who had dispatched him for man’s salvation from dire corruption, ignorance, injustice and faithless ness.
THINK AND ANSWER
The Prophet of Islam: the Seal of the Prophets
The Prophet of Islam is the last of God’s prophets and with him the cycle of prophethood comes to an end and this is one of the “essential beliefs of Islam.”
The true meaning of “essential” here is that anybody who enters the rank and file of the Muslims would soon realize that all followers of the Prophet believe him to be the last. In other words, such a person would soon realize that Muslims agree unanimously on the principle that Mu¦ammad(s) is the last of the prophets in the same way that they emphasize the principle of monotheism and no Muslim is awaiting the arrival of another Prophet.
In fact, with the Prophet’s mission, human civilization and perfection are now on their right paths and have reached a mature status to be able to stay on their own course. Now man can solve his problems through his use of Islam’s complete codes of instructions and teachings.
This notion could be expressed in another way: Islam is the most complete and ultimate stage in the evolution of human civilization. In its ideology, Islam is the most complete and in practice, Islamic laws deal with all human needs.
To verify this claim, we will present three clear reasons hare:
The necessity behind Mu¦ammad’s being the last Prophet: We have seen so far that anybody who comes into contact with a Muslim would realize that he or she believes that the Prophet of Islam is the last Prophet. Therefore, if anybody accepted Islam through logical reasoning, he has to accept this principle. And since in the previous lectures we dealt with the legitimacy and authenticity of this religion, we have to accept and believe that the Prophet of Islam is the last Prophet.
Some verses of the Holy Qur’¡n deal with this principle. An example is the following:
مَا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَا أَحَدٍ مِنْ رِجَالِكُمْ وَلَكِنْ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَخَاتَمَ النَّبِيِّينَ.
“Mu¦ammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Apostle of Allah and the seal of the prophets.” [Qur’¡n 33:40]
This interpretation came into being at a time when the adoption of sons was a common practice among Arabs. They used to accept as their son somebody else’s son whom they adopted their own. That child would be adopted and accepted in the family circle and even got some share in the inheritance.
Islam put an end to such a backward custom, and adopted sons no longer benefited from inheritance. Among these was Zayd, the adopted son of the Prophet of Islam. Thus, this verse says: Instead of introducing the Prophet of Islam as the father of a specific individual, define him through two of his real characteristics: i.e. his prophethood and his being the last Prophet.
This interpretation reveals the fact that this principle was an accepted and generally verified fact.
Now we would like to know the real meaning of finality as related to the Prophet’s mission. The word “Kh¡tam” comes from the word “Khatm,” meaning “final.” For instance, a seal at the end of a letter is called khatm or finisher.
In Islamic narrations, we read that when the Prophet(s) decided to write letters to the rulers in those days to invite them to the new religion, he was told to stamp and seal his letters with a seal because it was the habit of Iranian rulers and statesmen not to accept any letter that was not sealed. For this reason, the Prophet(s) ordered his men to make a ring for him on the signet of which was written:
“There is no associate for God and Mu¦ammad is God’s messenger.” From then on letters were sealed with this ring.
Thus, the true meaning of “kh¡tam” is something that completes.
There are numerous narrations, as well, which irrevocably prove the fact that the Prophet of Islam is the last prophet.
Some of these narrations are as follows:
In an authentic narration from J¡bir Ibn `Abdull¡h An¥¡r¢, the Prophet(s) said:
“Among the prophets I am like the last brick in the construction of a building. Everybody who looks at the building admires it. They say: this building is beautiful except for the fact that one brick is missing. I am that missing brick. I am the completer in the line of the Prophets.”()
Imam ¯¡diq (s) says:
حَلاَلُ مُحَمَّدٍ حَلاَلٌ أَبَداً إلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ وَحَرَامُهُ حَرَامٌ أَبَداً إلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ.
“What Mu¦ammad made ¦al¡l [i.e. something considered Islamically permissible by the Prophet(s)] would be ¦al¡l until the Day of Resurrection Day. And what he made ¦ar¡m [i.e. something prohibited by Islam] would be ¦ar¡m until the Day of resurrection.”()
In a well-known narration, narrated by both Sh¢`ah and Sunni traditionists, we read that the Prophet told Imam `Al¢(s):
أَنْتَ مِنِّي بِمَنْزِلَةِ هَارُونَ مِنْ مُوسَى إلاَّ أَنَّهُ لَيْسَ نَبِيٌّ بَعْدِي.
“You are to me as Aaron was to Moses except for the fact that there will be no Prophet after me.”
There are ten other narrations like this one, in the literature.
There are some issues concerning Mu¦ammad as the Last Prophet:
Some say, if the mission of the prophets is a divine benefit, why should the people of these days be deprived of such a benefit? Why should there not be a leader to guide people today?
Those who utter such words are ignorant of the fact that the deprivation of the people today of having a Prophet could not be considered as a weak-point for people; rather, due to the fact that people of the world have matured sufficiently, there is no need for another Prophet. These people could use Islamic guidelines to continue their lives.
To clarify the issue, let us give an example: There have been five prophets who brought divine books (i.e. those in authority); they were Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and the Prophet of Islam(s). Each one of these had tried to lead the people of the world during an era in human history. Each Prophet then passed on his mission to the next. This succession of missions continued up to the point when the people of the world had arrived at their destination. This resembles the act of a student who finishes his stages of education up to the time when he graduates from university.
Now, if a doctor does not attend either elementary school or participate in BA programs, it does not mean that he does not deserve to attend school. Rather, it implies that he has enough knowledge now to make him capable of solving his own problems and make progress in life.
Still, another question may be raised, human society is always in a stare of flux; everything is changing rapidly. How could Islam, with its unchanging laws, care for human needs today?
Now, let us answer this important question: There are two series of laws in Islam. One series of laws are like man’s specific traits, unchangeable, such as struggling: struggle against injustice and the like.
There is another set of rules which change if human needs change. For instance, in Islam we have a principle, called (أَوْفُوا بِالْعُقُودِ) [Respect your contracts].
Naturally, with the passage of time, there will appear all sorts of useful social, trade and political contracts which could be considered under the above principle.
There is, yet, another principle, that says, “Any verdict or rule which could be detrimental to the individual’s wellbeing should be deleted from the system of laws.”
You would notice how such general Islamic laws could be useful in solving human problems. There are many good laws like these in Islam. With the help of such rules, we were able to solve the perplexing obstacles and difficulties related to the Islamic Revolution in recent years.
Still, another question might be raised: No doubt, we will need a guide to solve our religious problems, however, in the absence of a Prophet and his substitute, there might be some obstacles facing Islam. As a result, is this not a blow against Islam?
To answer this question: We should know that Islam has made provision for this issue. It has entrusted us with the wil¡yat al-faq¢h which means that a learned and pious jurisprudent can solve the problems of the Muslims. The way to recognize such a social and religious position is explicitly stated in Islamic law. Therefore, there is no need to worry.
Thus, wil¡yat al-faq¢h is the continuation of the mission of the prophets and the Infallibles (s). Therefore, Islamic societies should never lack leaders.()
THINK AND ANSWER