Is our Prophet (pbuh) any different from other prophets?

Details of the Question
Is our Prophet (pbuh) any different from other prophets?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

1- We must believe in all prophets whom Allah sent to human beings. They are the leaders and source of pride of the humankind.

Although all prophets are the most superior and the most virtuous ones of all humankind, there may be differences in levels and degrees between them. Actually, the verses (al-Baqarah, 253; al-Isra 21, 55) which say that “Those apostles We endowed with gifts, some above others” indicate that there may be differences in superiority between them.

Moreover, the verse “We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures.” (al-Anbiya, 107) indicates that the reason why all beings are shown mercy is the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

2- Quran especially emphasizes that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) is a human being and orders him to say “Say thou: "I am but a man like you: It is revealed to me by Inspiration, that your God is one God: so stand true to Him, and ask for His Forgiveness." And woe to those who join gods with God.” (Fussilat, 41:6).

The Messenger of Allah is a human being. None of his followers have denied this fact and have had wrong beliefs about their prophet like people prior to them had. However, what kind of meanings and wisdom does the statement “I am a human being” which is emphasized in various Quranic verses bear?

The statement “I am a human being” includes meanings such as the Messenger of Allah has got basic human needs, is responsible for worship, is mortal, cannot know the unseen unless Allah lets him know and his power and strength is limited. Deducing from this statement that the Messenger of Allah can tell lies like other people, can sin or do all kinds of unfavorable behaviors like ordinary people contradicts to the qualities such as trustworthiness, rightness, guidance to the right way, sharp-wittedness and honorability which prophets must have.

Allah the Supreme has chosen some people for a specific duty. They are the prophets to convey messages they receive from Allah to people faultlessly and completely. Of course, people to take on this significant duty must have some supreme qualities. We see many times in Quran that they are exalted and praised by Allah. They are supervised and protected by Allah. They have got best qualities, intellectually and morally outstanding, and very respectful and loyal to what is entrusted to them. The fact that they have got some different qualities must not be found strange. Prophets, who are human beings as we stated before, have got some qualities and characteristics exclusive to them. These qualities distinguish them from ordinary people. Their lives before they were chosen for this divine duty by Allah had also been different from lives of other people. These high-quality human beings, who represent good moral values at their zenith, were always away from theft, mendacity, deceit, idolatry, immoral behaviors and other similar bad qualities. If they had done something considered immoral in their lives before the duty of prophethood, it would have been difficult for them to dissuade people from doing the same thing. Their words would have been unavailing for people.

Allah the Glorious points out in Holy Quran that some prophets, who were sent to people as messengers, are superior to others in some ways, in addition to that they are superior to and more virtuous than ordinary people. The verse “Those apostles We endowed with gifts, some above others: to one of them God spoke; others He raised to degrees (of honour)” (al-Baqarah, 2:253) indicates this fact.

The Supreme Creator and the owner of the Cosmos, of course, creates consciously and decides wisely. He organizes everything by seeing, disciplines everything with knowledge and provides reasons and benefits that are seen in everything. As the Doer knows, of course the One who knows speaks. As He is going to speak, of course He is going to speak to those who have got opinions and conscious and who can speak. As He is going to speak to those who have got opinions, He is going to speak to speak the most conscious beings of all beings, that’s, human beings. As He is going to speak to human beings, of course He is going to speak to the perfect ones who have also got the gift of elocution. As He is going to speak to those who are perfect, the most capable, the most moral and who can guide people, of course He is going to speak to Muhammad (pbuh). Muhammad, who was agreed to be the most capable and the most moral by both his friends and enemies... Muhammad, whom the one fifth of humankind chose to follow… Muhammad, whose spiritual sovereignty ruled over the half of the world and whose light lit up the future for one thousand and four hundred years… Muhammad, to whom enlightened and believing people refresh their loyalty five times a day and pray for his mercy and happiness and praise him… Muhammad, whom Allah made a prophet and guide for humankind…

3- Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh)

a. A High-Quality Human Being

Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) is a human being, yet he is a very high-quality and eminent human being. This eminence has been recorded by The Supreme Creator and declared to us. When one looks at his life generally, it is seen in the first place that he acted in control by the Supreme Creator’s revelation, that he did not wait any remuneration for his duty, he was sincere to the utmost degree, he invited people to believe in Allah’s existence and oneness and that his aim and goal was immensely clear.

Again when his life is examined, it is easily noticed that he was immensely right in his words and actions, he was at the zenith of trustworthiness, he was very careful and attentive about fulfilling this holy duty, that he solved complicated problems in such an easy way which was favored and approved by everyone and how pure he was.

He received revelation like all other prophets and was gifted with clear and great miracles that interested everyone, as evidence of his prophethood. He was given the Holy Quran, which is a universal Book protected from deterioration. Birds protected Kaaba, which was going to be the prayer direction of his and his followers, from the People of Elephant. He made the holy metaphysical travel of Miraj (ascension), which is above the comprehension capability of humankind, in the name of all humankind. The Moon was divided into two as evidence to his prophethood and the doors of the space were shut for devils so that they would not be able to deceive human beings through this way anymore.

Every stage of his life formed a different aspect of his eminence and unsurpassability. There was not the slightest lie even in his jokes. He showed a great patience for all the troubles, problems and torments he experienced from the time he was born until his death. He presented an exemplary, superhuman forgivingness and tolerance to inhuman actions and treatments he, his relatives and his friends received from people. His wide mercy which included not only all human beings but also animals attracted everyone’s attention, both friends and foes. Although it was possible for him to access and have everything as a human being, he led a very modest and simple life. He did not expect any remuneration for any of his works and he did not show the slightest sign of tiredness and hopelessness when he was left alone and in hard times. He was always more advanced and deeper than everyone in terms of worshipping and rendering service to Allah… In summary, whatever we call a high moral quality, he represented it at its zenith as an ideal example.

b. Protected

Allah the Glorious protected His Honorable Messenger from sins and made him an untainted and flawless being. He also protected him from all kinds of dangers which could come from people. He saved him and eliminated all kinds of complots resorted by enemies at many dangerous points when he faced death and it was impossible to escape.

He presented a clear example of coexistence in peace and with differences in community which is needed by our modern world and he shared the same city with people of different religions and beliefs.

c. His Prophethood is Universal

Yes, he is the last prophet. His prophethood is not limited to a country or a specific period of time; but his prophethood is a Universal one covering all times and places. Besides, he is the prophet of the jinn, too.

Not only people believing in him but also other people could not hide their admiration of his unsurpassable supreme character and respected this invaluable gift of the sky to the earth. For instance, Michael Hart put him in the first place in his book titled “The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History”. Great German Statesman Bismarck put his admiration of him into words as “O Muhammad (pbuh), I regret of not living in the same time with you!” and in International Law Congress in1927 showed their admiration in him by adding the following statement to the statement of result: “The humankind is proud of Hazrat Muhammad; because although he was illiterate, he developed such a great law system 13 centuries ago that we, the Europeans, would be happy if we could reach its value and truth two thousand years later.”

4. His Superior Qualities

There are some qualities called “hasais”, which are exclusive to him only, stated in both Quran and hadith. These qualities can be listed as follows:

Besides being a human being, he is also the last prophet (al-Ahzab, 33:40). His prophethood is universal (al-A’raf 7:158; al-Anbiya 21:107) and also includes the Jinn (al-Akhaf 46:29; al-Jinn 72:1-13). His wives are the mothers of the believers (al-Ahzab 33:6). His old sins and new sins to be committed later have been forgiven (al-Fath 48:1-2). Other prophets promised to believe in him (al-i Imran 3:81). He was giving the tidings that he was given Kawthar (al-Kawthar 108:1). Captured property was halal for him (al-Anfal, 8:1). He was sent as a mercy upon the worlds (all beings) (al-Anbiya 21:107). His qualities are known to the People of the Book (al-Baqarah, 2:89, 146). It was guaranteed that the religion he brought would be protected (al-Tawbah, 9:33). Isra (night travel) and Miraj (ascension) are exclusive to him (al-Isra, 17:1; al-Najm, 53:1-18). Angels helped him in person occasionally (al-i Imran, 3:13, 122-123). Obeying him means also oneying Allah (al-Nisa, 4:80). He is given the right of testimony and intercession on the Day of Judgment (al-Baqarah, 2:143). He was crowned with Maqam al-Mahmoud (al-Isra, 17:79). His people (people believing in him) have been made the most decent of all people (al-i Imran, 3:110). His life and his land were sworn upon (al-Hijr, 15:72; al-Balad, 90:1-2). He and his people were given the Laylat-al-Qadr (the Night of Power) which is more virtuous than a thousand months (al-Qadr, 97:1-5).

5. His Miracles

The Lord of the Universe is a human being. However, he is a human being with a single finger pointing of whose the Moon divided into two, a human being in the palm of whose the pebbles talked, for whom the trees rooted off and walked towards saying “Salutations to you o the Messenger of Allah!”, a human being who filled up three hundred people with a few handfuls of date, in whose hands a jug of milk became abundant enough to fill lots of people, water flew through his fingers when he sank his fingers into a bowl and three hundred people took ablution with that water, for whom the log – on which he sermonized once upon a time until a pulpit was made for him – cried so loud that everybody heard it, a human being who was saluted by trees and stones on his way, who eased Ali’s pains by touching him and then Ali had never felt any pain again, besides whom the dumb children started to speak all of a sudden and said “You are the Messenger of Allah.” He was a human being, with whose touch the salty waters became mild, and whom even wild animals such as wolves and lions recognized and obeyed…

Both our prophet and other prophets said “we are but human beings” when their people expected them to do miraculous things. When we look at the reasons why the verses related to the fact that the Messenger of Allah is a human being were sent and the relations between them, we see that idolaters expected some superhuman actions from him. Actually, unbelievers living in Mecca, such as Utba bin Rabia, Shaiba bin Rabia, Abu Jahl and Walid bin Mughira, gathered together one day and invited the Messenger of Allah to join them. They asked him to prove his prophethood right by causing waters spring out or rivers flow out from the ground, or by breaking the sky into pieces and making it fall unto them, or by showing them Allah and angels. Upon this, the following Quranic verses were sent down:

They say: "We shall not believe in thee, until thou cause a spring to gush forth for us from the earth, or (until) thou have a garden of date trees and vines, and cause rivers to gush forth in their midst, carrying abundant water; or thou cause the sky to fall in pieces, as thou sayest (will happen), against us; or thou bring God and the angels before (us) face to face, or thou have a house adorned with gold, or thou mount a ladder right into the skies. No, we shall not even believe in thy mounting until thou send down to us a book that we could read." Say: "Glory to my Lord! Am I aught but a man, - an apostle?" (al-Isra, 17:90-93).
As it is comprehended from these verses, the aim in emphasizing that the Messenger of Allah is a human being is that things, which belonged to the Divinity, were expected from him. In other words, it is that he was expected to do things which are beyond human power in order to leave him in a difficult situation. However, he is a human being. It is impossible for a human being to be a god. Therefore, his humanness was put forward in order to state this impossibility clearly.
Actually, he had never stated that the treasures of Allah were with him or he had never claimed to be an angel. He stated that he was knowledgeable about the unseen (ghaib), and yet that he was but a messenger receiving revelations.

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