The major factors distinguishing man from other creatures are: He has a soul besides his body; he can think, assess all events with his mind; he can decide by using his mind and carry out his decisions; he can distinguish good from evil; and he can realize his errors and repent for them, and so forth. But the question is: Can man use this most powerful weapon given to him without a guide, or can he find the right path and understand Allâhu ta’âlâ by himself?
A retrospective view of history will show us that when left alone with no guidance from Allâhu ta’âlâ, men have always deviated into degenerate paths. Using his mind, man thought of the Omnipotent, who created him, but he could not find the way leading to Allâhu ta’âlâ. Those who did not hear about the Prophets sent by Allâhu ta’âlâ first looked for the Creator around themselves. The sun, being the most useful thing to men, provoked some men to think that it was the creative power, and, therefore, they began to worship it. Later on, as he saw the great forces of nature, such as, a gale, a fire, a furious sea, a volcano and the like, he thought they were assistants to the Creator. He attempted to symbolize each of them. This, in turn, gave birth to idols. He dreaded their wrath and sacrificed animals to them. Unfortunately, he even sacrificed human beings to them. Every new event inspired a new idol, increasing the number of idols symbolizing events. When Islam first graced the earth there were three hundred and sixty idols in the Ka’ba. In short, man, by himself, can never understand Allâhu ta’âlâ, the world’s real Creator, the One, and the Eternal. Even today, there are still people who deify the sun, as well as fire. This should not be amazing, because without a guide, a light, one cannot find the right way in darkness. It is declared in the 15th âyat of Sûrat al-Isrâ in the Qur’ân al-kerîm: “… nor would We visit with Our Wrath [the worshippers of idols] until We had Rahimah-Allâhu ta’âlâ: May Allah’s mercy be upon them. Hayvâni nâtik: Creation which is able to speak. sent a Messenger ‘alaihis-salâm).”
Allâhu ta’âlâ sent Prophets (‘alaihimu’s-salâm) to teach His human slaves how to use the powers of mind and thought, to teach them about His Oneness, and to distinguish good from evil. Prophets (‘alaihimu’s-salâm) were human beings like us. They ate, drank, slept and felt tired, too. What distinguished them from us was that their intellectual and assessment abilities were much greater than ours. Moreover, they had pure moral qualities and, hence, the ability to communicate Allâhu ta’âlâ’s commandments to us. Prophets (‘alaihi mu’s-salâm) were the greatest guides.