The Mission of the Prophet
Al-Azhar Magazine – June 1968
In historical order the Holy Quran is the latest and the final of all revealed books and as such it interprets not the growing and incomplete man but the mature and complete man. The Holy Quran was revealed in an historical age and its purity has been well preserved. The Arabic word ‘Deen’ is defined in the Holy Quran as the ‘Fitrat’ or nature in which God has created man. In this context the Holy Quran Says:
فَأَقِمۡ وَجۡهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفً۬اۚ فِطۡرَتَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلَّتِى فَطَرَ ٱلنَّاسَ عَلَيۡہَاۚ لَا تَبۡدِيلَ لِخَلۡقِ ٱللَّهِۚ ذَٲلِكَ ٱلدِّينُ ٱلۡقَيِّمُ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَڪۡثَرَ ٱلنَّاسِ لَا يَعۡلَمُونَ
It means: “So set thy purpose for religion (Deen) as a man by nature upright – the nature (fitrat) of Allah in which He has created man. There is no altering (the law of) Allah’s creation. That is the right religion, but most men know not.” (30:30)
‘Deen’, therefore denotes the composite law of nature which holds and moulds the destiny of the universe. The universe is a composite whole and not a sum-total of isolate fragments. Every item of creation, every genus and species bears a relation with the rest of the universe. Each depends upon the other and none is wholly independent. Nevertheless, each item of creation is dominantly governed by a particular set of laws and each of these is a science. The Holy Quran revealed when man and his nature were made complete, that is when humanity attained maturity as it is clear from the following verse:
ٱلۡيَوۡمَ أَكۡمَلۡتُ لَكُمۡ دِينَكُمۡ وَأَتۡمَمۡتُ عَلَيۡكُمۡ نِعۡمَتِى وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ ٱلۡإِسۡلَـٰمَ دِينً۬اۚ
It means: “This day have I protected your religion (Deen) for you and completed my favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion”. (5:3)
Henceforth man would require no further prophets or Books for his guidance but would guide himself admirably well in the right path with the Holy Quran and with the aid of his highly developed intuition and intellect.
The Holy Quran contains the principles of the religion of Islam. It is a concrete and complete system dealing with all walks of human life. It interprets the true nature of man and establishes peace and harmony between him and his nature; and regulates his course of life according to the nature framed of God. Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) was the recipient of the Holy Quran and in him are found the percepts of Islam in their concrete and applied form. In his life and work, therefore, we get Islam in flesh and blood. His percepts and examples are most reliable guides to the theoretical as well as practical knowledge of Islam. The Holy Quran was revealed and revelation and prophet hood were made final when humanity reached albescence- when human intellect with the help of the Quran was in a position to interpret life correctly and to mould its destiny thereby.
The chief object of the perfect religion should be the elevation of humanity towards that perfection which is the ultimate purpose of the creation of man. The perfect religion, therefore ought to place, on a systematic basis, the fundamental principles of morality, regulating social obligations and human duties, which brings man nearer and nearer to the aim of his existence in the earth. It is the distinctive characteristic of Islam; that it is not merely a system of positive moral rules, based on a true conception of human progress but it is also the establishment of certain principles, the enforcement of certain temper of mind which the conscience is to apply to ever-varying exigencies of time and place. The wonderful adaptability of Islamic rules to all ages , places, nations and circumstances; their entire agreement with the light of reason and the absence of all the mysterious ideas, prove that Islam represents the latest developments of the religious faculties of human being. It combines within itself the prominent features in all ethnic and general religious compatible with the reason and moral intuition of man. Thus Islam signifies a religion of right-thinking, right speaking and right-doing, founded on Divine love, Universal charity and the human brotherhood.
The mission of Prophet Muhammed(peace be upon him) was indeed a miraculous revolution that brought about an unprecedented change among the warring tribes of Arabia, at one time engaged in blood feuds. The Prophet infused the true light to see the face of truth from the mirror of conscience and to understand the merit of mutual respect and love of service to fellow-men, as the highest form of submission to the sovereignty of the Supreme. Te life of the Prophet presents a picture of perfection for our guidance. He exemplified in himself every aspect of human behavior to be a perfect model of man. The Prophet exhorted the people to cultivate the spirit of selfless service and sacrifice, through which alone salvation is assured, and to rise to the pinnacle of greatness in the standard of human achievement and to reach the summit of satisfaction.
Islam with its seeds of human brotherhood, equality and justice, tasking root in the soil of Arabia, blew the wind of change far and wide and swept the world to adopt the percept of unit, fraternity and equality, as the soundest and safest structure of solidarity in human relationship. Islam tries to attain the object of perfection by grasping the principle that man will be judged by his work alone. The following verses of the Quran expressed the power and sovereignty of God, and his universality of His religion:
لِّلَّهِ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِۗ وَإِن تُبۡدُواْ مَا فِىٓ أَنفُسِڪُمۡ أَوۡ تُخۡفُوهُ يُحَاسِبۡكُم بِهِ ٱللَّهُۖ فَيَغۡفِرُ لِمَن يَشَآءُ وَيُعَذِّبُ مَن
يَشَآءُۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ ڪُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ قَدِيرٌ (٢٨٤) ءَامَنَ ٱلرَّسُولُ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيۡهِ مِن رَّبِّهِۦ وَٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَۚ كُلٌّ ءَامَنَ بِٱللَّهِ وَمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَتِهِۦ
وَكُتُبِهِۦ وَرُسُلِهِۦ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيۡنَ أَحَدٍ۬ مِّن رُّسُلِهِۦۚ وَقَالُواْ سَمِعۡنَا وَأَطَعۡنَاۖ غُفۡرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا وَإِلَيۡكَ ٱلۡمَصِيرُ (٢٨٥) لَا يُكَلِّفُ ٱللَّهُ
نَفۡسًا إِلَّا وُسۡعَهَاۚ لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتۡ وَعَلَيۡہَا مَا ٱكۡتَسَبَتۡۗ رَبَّنَا لَا تُؤَاخِذۡنَآ إِن نَّسِينَآ أَوۡ أَخۡطَأۡنَاۚ رَبَّنَا وَلَا تَحۡمِلۡ عَلَيۡنَآ إِصۡرً۬ا كَمَا
حَمَلۡتَهُ ۥ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِنَاۚ رَبَّنَا وَلَا تُحَمِّلۡنَا مَا لَا طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِۦۖ وَٱعۡفُ عَنَّا وَٱغۡفِرۡ لَنَا وَٱرۡحَمۡنَآۚ أَنتَ مَوۡلَٮٰنَا فَٱنصُرۡنَا عَلَى
(ٱلۡقَوۡمِ ٱلۡڪَـٰفِرِينَ (٢٨٦
It means: “Unto Allah (belongeth) whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever in the earth; and whether ye make known what is in your minds or hide it, Allah will bring you account for it. He will forgive whom He will and He will punish whom He will. Allah is able to do things. The messenger believeth in that which had been revealed unto him from his Lord and (so do) the believers. Each one believeth in Allah and His angels and His scriptures and His messengers- We make no distinction between any of His messengers-and they say: We hear, and we obey, (Grant us) Thy forgiveness our Lord. Unto thee is the journeying. Allah taketh not a soul beyond its scope. For it (is only) that which it hath earned and against it (only) that which it hath deserved”.
The mission of Prophet Muhammed was first achieved in the midst of a nation sunk in a degrading and sanguinary superstition, and steeped in barbarism to which the Quran refers as follows:
هُوَ ٱلَّذِى بَعَثَ فِى ٱلۡأُمِّيِّـۧنَ رَسُولاً۬ مِّنۡہُمۡ يَتۡلُواْ عَلَيۡہِمۡ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦ وَيُزَكِّيہِمۡ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ وَٱلۡحِكۡمَةَ وَإِن كَانُواْ مِن قَبۡلُ لَفِى ضَلَـٰلٍ۬ مُّبِينٍ۬
It means: “He it is who hath sent among the unlettered one a messenger of their own, to recite unto them His revelations and to make them grow, and to teach them the Scripture and Wisdom, though hereto fore they were indeed in error manifest”, (62:2)
He inspired them with the belief in one sole God of truth and love. He united them by the ties of brotherhood. Before that, Arabian peninsula was wrapped in absolute moral darkness. Spiritual life was utterly unknown. Neither Judaism nor Christianity had made any lasting impression on the Arab mind. The people were sunk in the cruelty and vice. The idea of future existence, and of retribution of good and evil, were, as motives of human actions, practically unknown. Only a few years before Muhammad’s mission witnessed a moral desert, where all laws, human and divine, were contemned and infringed without remorse, and was now transformed into a garden. Idolatry, with its nameless abominations, was utterly destroyed. Islam furnishes the only solitary example of a great religion which though preached among a nation and reigning for the most part among a people not yet emerged from dawn of an early civilization, has succeeded in effectually restraining it votaries from idolatry. This phenomenon has been justly acknowledged as the Pre-eminent glory of Islam and the most remarkable evidence of the genius of its Prophet. In the fulfillment of Muhammad’s mission in his life time; lies his distinctive superiority over the Prophets and reformers o different times of history.