What are the Wisdoms Behind the Stories of Prophets?
There are many wisdoms and reasons why the stories of prophets mentioned in the Quran. The most significant of them are as follows:
1—The stories of prophets prove that the Quran is the word of Allah and the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) is the last prophet. The Quran mentions the important events and exemplary happenings that happened to some of the prophets beginning from Hazrat Adam (pbuh) to the last Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). The same stories are also mentioned in the Old and New Testament. The Quran mentions the issues that those books agreed by approving them and mentions the issues that they disagreed by correcting them. The people of the book cannot object to the news of the Quran; they cannot say that this piece of new is old..
Thus, those stories are not the products of the mind and intelligence of our Prophet. They are not things that can be thought of and made up; they are narrations that are based on listening. They are related to reading, writing and culture. As a matter of fact, the Messenger of Allah was illiterate according to all of the scholars. He could not read or write; he did not receive any education.
Then, the fact that an illiterate person informs people about the events in the past as if he has seen them proves that he is the Messenger of Allah and that his knowledge is based on the divine revelation. (Sözler, 376.)
The issue is referred to as follows in the Quran:
“We do relate unto thee the most beautiful of stories, in that We reveal to thee this (portion of the) Qur'an: before this, thou too wast among those who knew it not..” (Yusuf, 3)
“Such are some of the stories of the Unseen, which We have revealed unto thee: before this, neither thou nor thy People knew them..” (Hud, 49.)
2—The stories of the prophets were not mentioned in order to give plain information about history or to narrate stories of the past. They were narrated in order to teach believers something and make them draw lessons from various events. For instance, the verses that were sent down about Hazrat Ibrahim in Makkah are usually about his struggle of oneness and belief against his nation. Meanwhile, our Prophet was having a struggle of oneness against polytheists and idolaters. However, when Muslims contacted the People of the Book in Madinah, the verses that were sent down regarding Hazrat Ibrahim included issues that will interest the People of the Book like the construction of the Kaaba, sacrificing his son for Allah. Therefore, each one of the stories of the prophets mentioned in the Quran has a separate place and a separate reason why they were sent down.
3—One of the important reasons why the stories of the prophets are mentioned in the Quran is to console and strengthen all of the believers, primarily the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and to threaten the unbelievers with torture.
Our Prophet (pbuh) was tortured severely by his tribe and nation from time to time. At those times, the stories of the prophets were sent down, and the Prophet, hence the believers were consoled. The verses that were sent down expressed that the other prophets underwent the same process and had the same struggle. The tribes and nations of the other prophets opposed their prophets, too; they named their prophets as soothsayers and mad; they said the prophets acted like that because they aimed a financial benefit, a political aim or fame. They oppressed, tortured and even martyred their prophets. Hazrat Prophet and the believers were consoled and they were asked to show patience and endurance through those stories.
In the stories that were sent down, the destruction of the previous nations was also narrated; thus, the message that the polytheists could not get away with what they had done and that they would certainly be punished both in the world and in the hereafter was given. Thus, the feelings of compassion and mercy of the Prophet and the believers were aroused; they were encouraged to work harder, more patiently and perseveringly in order to correct their nation and to save them from torture.
There are many incidents in which the stories of the prophets were a source of consolation and compassion for the Prophet and the believers.
4—Another reason why the stories of the prophets are mentioned in the Quran is to prove the institution of prophethood. Thus, the prophethood of Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) is proved spontaneously. By narrating the stories of the prophets, the Quran clearly proves that the institution of prophethood exists in the history of mankind. He who cannot deny the institution of prophethood cannot deny Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh), either. The signs and evidence that show the prophethood of the prophets mentioned in the Quran are present in Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) more perfectly and abundantly. Then, Hazrat Muhammad is a prophet, too.
5 —The belief of believing people are strengthened against the attacks and denials of the people of aberration by mentioning the stories of the prophets in the Quran. The previous prophets and the stories of their nations narrated in the Quran show that the way that Muslims are following is not an ideology and belief that is put forward for the first time but a continuation of the struggle between belief and unbelief that has been going on throughout history. In the past, prophets came and called people to the truth and belief. Some people obeyed them but others denied them; the struggle continued like that.
Prophets always supported the causes of each other; what one of them said did not contradict what other prophets said. They told the same principles to people. If the prophets had not been sent by Allah, and if what they preached had been the products of their own ideas, it would have been impossible for the prophets who came at different times and from different places to tell people about the same principles, to agree on the same ideas, to teach people the same things and to mention the same truths. There would have been decrees and principles that contradicted each other. Since something like that did not occur, it means the way that the prophets and the people believing in them followed is the true path. The ideas that the prophets informed the people about are not their own ideas but the revelation that they received from Allah. Then, there is no reason why Muslims should have any doubts or hesitations about the straightness and the truth of the way they are following.
6—Belief illuminates the future and the past (all the times) of man and protects him from non-existence, nothingness and darkness, and makes him connected with the prophets and the people that believed in them; it makes man obtain as many spiritual bodies as the number of people he is connected with. Thus, the spirit of man is saved from the narrow dimensions of the present time and attains a wideness that can travel imaginarily in the future and the past (all the times).
He becomes connected with the history of the whole mankind beginning from Hazrat Adam thanks to belief. He feels curiosity and interest toward those events that took place in the past.
He assumes a feeling and consciousness as if he has been in those events to draw lessons from them. Due to that wide interest and connection that belief makes man obtain, the stories of the prophets were narrated in detail in the Quran, satisfying the curiosity that Muslims feel toward the past. Thus, it was made possible for believers to experience spiritually and imaginarily the events that happened to the prophets and their nations, to draw lessons from them and to be familiar with them.
Badiuzzaman states the following about the issue:
“If you want a companion, the Quran is sufficient for you...
Indeed, in the imagination, one meets with the prophets and angels in it, watches the events in which they were involved, and becomes familiar with them..” (Mektubat, 251.)
7—Another important wisdom behind the fact that the stories of the prophets are narrated in the Quran is the targets that their miracles show. As a result of the advancement of the mankind in art and science, many art and science wonders like airplanes, electricity, trains, etc have been invented and they have an important place in the daily lives of people. The Quran, which addresses the mankind in general and which mentions everything based on their importance, has not ignored them. It indicated them in two ways: mentioning about the miracles of prophets and narrating some historical events.
By pointing out to the principles and foundations of material advancement through the stories of the prophets, the Quran virtually says something like this, “ O people! The miracles that you see are some samples and examples. You can produce things that are similar to them by uniting your ideas and working together.”, encouraging us. The past is the mirror of the future. The inventions that will be made in the future are based on the principles and fundamentals established in the past. Actually, all of the advancements in our age have taken place as a result of the inspirations originating from the signs pointed out by religions.
For instance, the wonders like the first watch, ship, using the iron by softening it were given to man with the hand of miracle; similarly, the inventions that will be made in the future like airplanes, rockets, centrifuge drawing water under the ground, fireproof materials, learning the language of birds, transmitting the sound and vision were all implied by miracles. There are many other miracles that mankind has not been able to produce things similar to them; they are trying to invent them gradually with the advancement of the civilization.
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