Question: When cartoons and the like were drawn in some European countries with the purpose of insulting our master the Prophet, people have set out to retaliate by speaking ill of Hadrat ‘Îsâ. How can a person speak ill of prophets?
Hurling insults to our master the Prophet first and to Hadrat ‘Îsâ second are dirty tricks of the enemies of Islam. Muslims should not fall into these traps. In fact, the enemies of the religion themselves do not believe in any prophets.
Believing a prophet to be God or God’s son is not considered to have belief in him. That is, it does not make any difference for such people because a disbeliever does not become a disbeliever again. But a Muslim cannot speak ill of any of the prophets. All prophets were Muslims, and it is one of the principles of our faith to believe in and love all of them.
The fourth fundamental of îmân is to have belief in prophets. The phrase wa rusulihî in the Âmantu teaches us to believe in Allahu ta’âlâ’s prophets.
The first of prophets is Âdam ‘alaihis-salâm and the last of them is our Prophet, Muhammad Mustafa sall-Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Many prophets were sent between these two. Their exact number is unknown. It has been stated that they were more than 124,000.
Believing in prophets means believing that all prophets, without exception, were devoted and truthful people selected by Allahu ta’âlâ. A person who does not believe in one of them is regarded as not believing in any.
Every thousand years since Adam ‘alaihis-salâm’, the first human and the first prophet, Allahu ta’âlâ sent mankind a new religion through a new prophet with a Sharî’a. Through them He showed human beings the way of living in peace and comfort in this world and attaining endless felicity in the Hereafter. Those prophets by whom a new religion was revealed are called rasûl. The superior ones of rasûls are called ulul’azm. They are Âdam, Nûh (Noah), Ibrâhîm, Mûsâ (Moses), ‘Îsâ (Jesus), and Muhammad ‘alaihimus-salâtu wassalâm’.
All prophets, from Âdam ‘alaihis-salâm to the last Prophet Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm, taught the same îmân and stated the same principles for their umma to believe. Jews believe in Mûsâ ‘alaihis-salâm and deny ‘Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm and Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm. Christians believe in ‘Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm, but they do not believe in Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm. Muslims, on the other hand, believe in all prophets. It is an act of disbelief to deny or to insult any of the prophets.
Before they were defiled by humankind, all the heavenly religions, teaching the belief in the existence and oneness of Allahu ta’âlâ, were the same with respect to the principles of belief. The principles pertaining to practice were different. All prophets were Muslims. For example, the Qur’ân al-karîm states the following about the prophets whom Jews and Christians regard as their prophets:
(Ibrâhîm, Ismâîl, Ishâq, Ya’qûb, and their grandchildren are Muslims. Say to those who say that they are Jews or Christians: “Who knows better, you or Allah?” Who can be more zâlim than the one who conceals what Allah has communicated?) [Sûrat-ul-Baqara 140]