4. Belief in Prophets
5.1. NEED FOR PROPHETS
Man, who has mind and conscience, thought about both the world he lives in and his own creation and tried to find answers to questions related to these issues in every age. Man found some realities as a result of these efforts, with his limited mind and knowledge but he wasnt able to find satisfactory answers to his questions. Satisfactory answers were learnt from the divine messages received through prophets. The following is stated in the Quran related to this issue:
We have sent among you a Messenger of your own rehearsing to you Our signs, and purifying you, and instructing you in Scripture and wisdom, and in new Knowledge. (al-Baqara, 151).
Prophets were sent in order to teach men how to worship their Lord. It is a reality that man needs a guide to teach him the types of worship like prayer, fasting, almsgiving etc stated in the Quran. The Lord gave men endless blessings. Men can learn how to thank their Lord only through prophets that are sent.
An artist who produces a valuable work of art wants to show this work to people who are good at art, to receive their admiration and appreciation and wants himself to be known. He sometimes holds a general exhibition where he displays all of his works. He appoints an attendant to inform people about, to explain and to show the exhibition.
Similarly, Allah created conscious beings to show the manifestation of His endless perfection and beauty attributes. The most superior of these beings are men. No doubt, there is a need for an interpreter to understand the exhibition of the universe. This guidance is the work of Prophets. The universe is like a book in terms of conveying the names and attributes of Allah. There is a need for Prophets to teach this book to mankind.
Prophets are distinguished people whom Allah appoints out of His grace to guide and enlighten men. Allah informed Prophets the divine judgments through revelation and appointed them to convey and explain them to men. In the Quran the following is stated: وَمَا عَلَى الرَّسُولِ اِلاَّ الْبَلاَغ that is, The Messenger's duty is but to proclaim (the Message) (al-Maeda 99).
Man was created in such a way to live in a community. Therefore, there is a need for the principles brought by Prophets to arrange all of the social and legal procedures sagaciously among the individuals that form the community. Otherwise the establishment of peace, security, justice, reliance, social assistance and solidarity, brotherhood, fraternity, affection, love and respect will not be in the expected level. Despite the material and technical advancement of todays communities, their social problems have increased because of their deprivation from the criteria brought by Prophets. The peace and happiness of the family have disappeared. The social abyss between the social layers has increased.
5. 2. THE EXISTENCE OF ALLAH NECESSITATES PROPHETHOOD
Prophets tell us that the happenings in the universe are meaningful. They also tell us that there is a reason, an aim and a benefit for man. They also mention the relation of the whole universe with man. They speak about the value of man. They state that the misfortunes that come to man are not coincidental that they all have a reason. They state that there is no coincidence in the universe.
Each man would like to find out what the great personality, that does him a lot favors and grants him a lot of things, wants from him to please Him, how to please Him, what his future will be. Allah, who gives men endless blessings, told men what to do to please Him and what their future will be through Prophets.
It is natural that the owner of a skill wants to see and to show his skills and art. He will certainly appoint somebody to explain his skills and art. Similarly, Prophets informed people about the aim of the creation of the universe, the orders and consent of Allah. Prophets mirrored the divine names in the best way. They advised men in the best way that they should believe, obey, thank and praise Allah. Men were able to understand the answers to the questions where the beings come from, where they go and what their duties are thanks to the messages brought by Prophets.
5. 3. PROOFS OF PROPHETHOOD
Prophets never told lies and never stopped being straightforward during their lives. When Allah conveyed them this divine duty, their most important assistant was the fact that they never stopped being straightforward. Another element that strengthened the causes of Prophets and that supported them was Miracles.
Why is a Miracle shown?
A Miracle is approval by Allah that the causes of the Prophets are right. It means that the Prophet tells the truth. Suppose that you said in the assembly of a ruler, The true ruler has appointed me to such and such position. At a time when you were asked to prove your claim, the word Yes uttered by the ruler would sufficiently support you. Or, if the ruler changed his usual practice and attitude at your request, this would confirm your claim even more soundly and more definitely than would the word Yes. (Letters (Mektubat), Page 90).
A person can claim that he is a prophet. Therefore Allah gave each Prophet miracles as a mark and sign of being Allahs messenger. A miracle is an extraordinary thing that men become too weak to do and is only granted to Prophets by Allah.
About 1000 of the miracles of the Mesenger of Allah (PBUH) were seen. Some of these miracles occurred in front of the eyes of hundreds or even thousands of people. That is, it is impossible for them to be denied or to be lies. However, his permanent miracle that will last till the Day of Judgment is the Quran. A lot of scholars, interpreters and researchers expressed clearly that it was impossible for this holy book to be written by a man and that it could only be the book of Allah.
The most distinguished people in the world are the chains of Prophets beginning with Hazrat Adam. The last link of this chain is undoubtedly Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH). He himself not only showed the essentials of Islam but he also brought the details of the religion even the smallest manners and principles himself. For instance, he showed and applied everything from the manners of going to bed to eating, drinking water, sitting even speaking and wanted his umma to apply them.
Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) is extremely affectionate towards his umma. It is stated definitely that when he was born, as a miracle, the words my umma, my umma were heard from his lips. In the gathering place in the hereafter, when everybody even the Prophets are busy and in a hurry, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) will say my umma, my umma (Reported from Fathul- Bari Sharh-i Bukhari; El-Hasais-ul Kubra, 1/134).
Religion is a test and trial. Allah will differentiate between the good men and the bad men with this trial. The proclaimers of the religion are Prophets. Prophets need to show some miracles to persuade those who hear their proclamation. No miracles to force the mind to accept were shown. It is the necessity of the offer to leave the door open for the mind and not to grasp the free will If the miracles had been in such a way to grasp the free will, then people with diamond spirits like Abu Bakr and people with coal spirits like Abu Jahl would have been in the same level and the secret of the trial would have been spoiled.
5.4. THE ATTRIBUTES OF PROPHETS AND THEIR HIGH VIRTUES
Prophethood is quite a heavy and big load. When Prophets carried out their duties they followed important orders and principles. Some of them are as follows:
1. Sidq (Loyalty): It means honesty. It is one of the most important characteristics of Prophets.
2. Amanah (Trust): It means to be reliable. Prophets are the most reliable and trustworthy people.
3. Ismah (Innocence): It means not to commit sins, to be protected from committing sins. Prophets were freed and forgiven from any sins by Allah.
4. Fatanah (Intelligence): It means to be clever and intelligent. Prophets were created so talented as to understand the orders of Allah and the happenings.
5. Tabligh (Conveying): It means to inform, to convey. To command the good things and to forbid the evil things are the fundamental duties of Prophets.
6. Altruism and not asking anything: Prophets never asked any money for the services they offered; on the contrary they sacrificed their interests.
7. Divine consent: Prophets always depended on divine consent in their services.
5. 5. SOME ISSUES ABOUT PROPHETS
Revelation: It is the words of Allah told to the Prophets chosen by Him among human beings to convey those words to the other human beings (Cerrahoğlu Prof.Dr. İsmail, Tefsir Usûlü p.39, Ankara 1979.).
The number of Prophets was stated to be one hundred and twenty-four thousand in a hadith (Mishqat-ul Masabih 3/122).
There are 25 Prophets mentioned in the Quran. They are as follows:
Adam, Idris (Enoch), Nooh (Noah), Hood, Saleh, Ibrahim (Abraham), Loot, Ismaeel (Ishmael), Ishaq (Isaac), Yaqoob (Jacob), Yousuf (Joseph), Ayub (Job), Shuaib (Jethro), Musa (Moses), Haroon (Aaron), Dawood (David), Sulaiman (Solomon), Elias (Elijah), Alyasa (Elisha), Dhul kifl (Ezekiel), Younus (Jonah), Zakaria (Zacharias), Yahya (John), Eesa (Jesus Christ), Muhammad (PBUH).
In addition, there are three more people called Uzair (Ezra), Luqman and Dhul-qarnain; it is disputable whether they are prophets or saints.
5. 6. MIRACLES AND WONDERS OF CIVILIZATION
Prophets were sent to arrange the life in the world and in the hereafter. Prophets were leaders both in spirituality and in material development.
Human beings needed to eat and drink as soon as they appeared on the earth. This made agriculture obligatory. Hazrat Adam, the first man and the first prophet, started agriculture as a result of the command he received through Hazrat Jibril; he sowed wheat and produced bread. Another prophet to think of when agriculture is in question is Hazrat Yousuf. He made the first examples of great grain barns and silos. He saved the crops collected during the seven years of abundance and used them during the following seven years of shortage. Hazrat Yousuf is also known as the first prophet to make a clock. Hazrat Nooh built a ship as a result of the revelation of Allah and became the first sailor.
Some Miracles Indicating Science and Technology
In the event that Hazrat Musa struck a stone with his stick and twelve springs of water gushed from the stone (al-Baqara, 60.al-Baqara, 60.), which is a miracle of Hazrat Musa, there is a sign that people can extract water through an instrument from hidden underground water resources. Todays science found the drill. That verse indicates the drill and further.
The Miracles of Hazrat Eesa reviving the dead, curing the people born blind and the people with speckled skins (Aal-e-Imran, 49.) show that remedies can be found even for the most chronic diseases. That verse shows and encourages more than the level mankind reached in medicine today.
In the verse O Fire! Be thou cool, and (a means of)) safety for Abraham! (al-Anbiya. 69.), there is a sign for science and technology. Accordingly, it is understood that out of materials like fire resistant amianthus (rock wool) Allah hid under the earth, clothes and other fire resistant thins can be made.
The verses informing us the miracles of the prophets indicate science and art, apart from their literal meaning. It is possible to understand different things from a verse. Absolute obedience to prophets is ordered in the Quran. So the Quran encourages men to learn science by these verses. Since the purpose of mens creation is to fully worship their Creator, men can only perform full worshipping by the sciences and information he learns.
"O Kings and Rulers! If you wish to act with pure justice, try to see and understand the face of the earth in all its details, like Solomon. For, by rising to the level of being informed whenever he wishes about every part of his realm, a just ruler and king who cherishes his subjects is saved from being made answerable, and may act with complete justice." And Almighty God in effect says through the allusive tongue of the verse: "O Sons of Adam! I gave one of My servants a broad realm, and in order to act completely justly within it, I allowed him to know personally of all situations and events that occurred there. And since I have given all men, by their natures, the ability to be vicegerent of the earth, I gave them also the capacity to see, consider, and understand the face of the earth in accordance with that ability, since My wisdom required it. If individuals do not attain to that point, as a race men may attain to it.
And if they do not reach it physically, the saints may reach it in meaning. In which case, you may benefit from this great bounty. Come on, let's see you do it! On condition you do not neglect your duties of worship, work to turn the face of the earth into a garden every part of which you may see, and the sounds of every corner of which you may hear. Heed the decree of the Most Merciful: هُوَ الَّذِى جَعَلَ لَكُمُ اْلاَرْضَ ذَلُولاً فَامْشُوا فِى مَنَاكِبِهَا وَكُلُوا مِنْ رِزْقِهِ وَاِلَيْهِ النُّشُورُ : It is He Who has made the earth manageable for you, so traverse its tracts and enjoy of the sustenance which He furnishes, but unto Him is the Resurrection." Thus, the above mentioned verse alludes to the farthest limit in much further advances in the attraction of forms and sounds, one of man's finest arts, and hints encouragement. (Words (Sözler)
5. 7. SOURCES
- Mishqat-ul Masabih, 3/122, hadith no:5737; Musnad Ahmad, 5/266; Musnad Abu Dawood At-Tayalisî, hadith no: 478.
- Kashf-ul Khafa-Ajluni, 2/164; Sharh-uş Shifa Aliyy-ul Qari, 1/6., Badıllı A : Risale-i Nurun Kudsî Kaynakları. Envar Neşriyat, Istanbul, 1992, p.306.
- Chapter Al-Qamar , 1st Verse; Sahih Bukhari, 2/251, 5/62, 6/178; Mustadrak-ul Hakim, 2/472; Bayhaqî (Dalail-un Nubuwwah), 1/279–281
- Reported from Fath-ul Bari Sharh-i Bukhari ; Al-Hasais-ul Kubra, 1/134; Hujjatullah Ala-l alamin, p:228 and 252; Al-Mawahib-ul Ladunniya Zurqani, 5/182.