Question: What form should our belief in prophets take?
The fourth fundamental of îmân is belief in prophets. The statement Wa rusulihî in the Âmantu expresses the belief in Allahu ta’âlâ’s prophets.
The first of the 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 number is not known. It is well known that they were more than 124,000.
Belief in prophets means believing the fact that all prophets, without exception, are 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.
Prophethood cannot be attained by working hard, by performing a lot of acts of worship, by suffering hunger and discomfort. It is possessed only with Allahu ta’âlâ’s favor and selection.
Every thousand years since Âdam ‘alaihis-salâm, the first human and the first prophet, Allahu ta’âlâ sent humankind a new religion through a new prophet with a Sharîa. Through them He showed human beings the way of living in peace and comfort 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.
Question: What are the names of 33 well-known prophets?
Their names are as follows:
Âdam, Idrîs, Shît, Nûh, Hûd, Sâlih, Ibrâhîm, Lût, Ismâ’îl, Is’hâq, Ya’qûb, Yûsuf, Ayyûb, Shu’aib, Mûsâ, Hârûn, Khidir [Hizir], Yûshâ’ bin Nûn, Ilyâs, Alyasa’, Dhu’l-kifl, Sham’un, Ishmoil, Yûnus bin Matâ, Dâwud, Sulaimân, Luqmân, Zakariyyâ, Yahyâ, ‘Uzair, ‘Îsâ bin Mariam, Dhu’l-qarnain, and Muhammad ‘alaihimus-salâtu wassalâm.
Only the names of 28 of them are written in the Qur’ân al-karîm. It is not certain whether Dhu’l-qarnain, Luqmân, ‘Uzair, and Khidir [Hizir] were prophets or not. Hadrat Muhammad Ma’thûm writes in his 36th letter of the second volume that the report stating that Khidir [Hızır] was a prophet is authentic. He writes in his 182nd letter: “That Khidir [Hizir] ‘alaihis-salâm appears in a human form (from time to time), and does some things, too, does not show that he is alive. Allahu ta’âlâ has given his soul, as well as the souls of many other prophets and walîs, the permission to appear in a human form. Seeing them does not prove that they are alive.”
All prophets, from Âdam ‘alaihis-salâm to the Last Prophet Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm, taught the same îmân and stated the same principles for their ummah to believe. Jews believe in Mûsâ ‘alaihis-salâm and deny ‘Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm and Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm. Christians believe in ‘Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm and deny Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm. Muslims, on the other hand, believe in all prophets.
Question: Is it a must to memorize the names of prophets?
No, it is not necessary to memorize them.
The attributes of prophets
Question: What are the attributes of prophets?
It has to be believed that every prophet has the following peculiarities:
1. Amânah: Every prophet is trustworthy.
2. Sidq: They are veracious and truthful in religion and other matters. They are far from telling a lie.
3. Tabligh: Prophets communicate all of Allahu ta’âlâ’s commandments and prohibitions to their ummats.
4. Adâlah: They are just and far from injustice.
5. Ismah: They are free from committing grave and venial sins. Some cases that outwardly show them to have committed sins, whether they appear in the Qur’ân al-karîm or in sound ahâdîth, must be explained away and given a suitable meaning. They do not commit any grave or venial sins before or after they are informed of their prophethood. Of the human beings, only prophets are innocent and sinless.
6. Fatanah: All prophets are wiser and more intelligent than other people.
7. Amn-ul ‘azl: None of them is removed from prophethood. (Farâid-ul Fawâid)
Disbelieving in prophets and holy books
Question: Is a person who says, “I believe in Allah, but I do not believe in prophets and books,” considered a Muslim?
The fundamentals of îmân are six. A person who disbelieves in one of them cannot be a Muslim.
Does Allahu ta’âlâ, who creates everything with hikmah, leave human beings uncontrolled? He certainly informs them about how they should act. Sending down Books through His prophets, He has communicated dos and don’ts. Therefore, denying the prophets means denying Allahu ta’âlâ.
Prophets conveyed Allah’s commandments in full. Allahu ta’âlâ, the Omnipotent, knows the things that will happen in the future [that is, the things He will create]. So does He send as prophets those people who will change His commandments and who will do wrong actions? If they changed Allah’s commandments or spoke wrong utterances (never!), would Allahu ta’âlâ, the Omnipotent, not prevent it? He appointed as prophets those people whose every quality He knew and who were the most reliable. Allahu ta’âlâ had known the states of those whom He would designate as prophets before He created them as well.
Allahu ta’âlâ declares, “I created human beings so that they will worship Me.” If He had not sent prophets or Books, how would we worship Him? A person’s believing in Allah but disbelieving in His prophets shows his or her being abnormal.
Prophets were sent everywhere
Question: Why did prophets always appear in Arabia? Why were they not sent to such places as Europe and the Far East?
Prophets were sent to every part of, every city of the world. However, because there were not any believers in them, or there were few, it is supposed that no prophet was sent to those places.
Hadrat Imâm-i Rabbânî declares:
“In ancient times as well, there was almost no place on earth where prophets were not sent. Even in India, which is supposed to be the most deprived in this respect, prophets were appointed from among Indians. I can give you the names of those cities. Prophets were sent even to villages. But people denied and mocked them, saying they were crazy. When their depravity increased, Allahu ta’âlâ destroyed them. Some time later He sent another prophet in the same way, and the same thing happened again. In India many ruined cities can be seen that were thus destroyed” (Vol. II, Letter 259).
[Those who live in the mountains, in a forest, in a cave, or in the desert and have never heard of any religion will not enter Paradise because they do not have îmân. They will not enter Hell either because they have neither heard of nor denied Allah, Paradise, and Hell. After rising from death, they will be questioned about their deeds. If they have sins, they will be inflicted torment at the place of Mahsar as much as their sins necessitate. After everyone gets his or her due, such people will be annihilated like all animals. They will not stay in any station forever. (Maktûbât-i Rabbânî, Farâid-ul-Fawâid, Tâj)
A person who lives in mountains or in a desert and has not heard of prophets is called shâhiq al-jabal. Such people are excusable. It is as if no prophet has come for them. They are not commanded to believe in prophets. Concerning them, the 15th verse of Isrâ Sûra of the Qur’ân al-karîm declares: “We do not torment unless We send a prophet before!” (Ithbât-un-Nubuwwa)]
The benefits of prophets
Question: What benefits did prophets provide for human-kind?
This question is wronger than saying, “What benefits does the mind provide for people?” Everybody knows the advantages the mind provides and the disadvantages when its absence is in question. Though the mind is very important, it cannot find the truth by itself, either.
Knowledge of the next world and things which Allahu ta’âlâ likes or dislikes cannot be found out through the mind. If they could be ascertained through reason, there would be no need for sending numerous prophets.
A retrospective view of history will show us that when left alone, humans have always deviated into degenerate paths. Using their mind, they thought of the Omnipotent, who created them, but they could not find the way leading to Him, that is, the truth. Hadrat Imâm-i Rabbânî declares:
“Allahu ta’âlâ sent prophets as a compassion and favor to all creatures. Allahu ta’âlâ made known His existence and Attributes to us, impotent humans, through these great prophets of His. Through their mediation, He separated the things that would be useful to men in this world and the next from the harmful ones. If these prophets had not been sent, the human mind could not have realized that Allahu ta’âlâ exists and could not come to comprehend His greatness. In fact, the ancient Greek philosophers, who presumed themselves to be very intelligent, were not able to comprehend Allahu ta’âlâ’s existence. They supposed that time had been making everything. This means to say that the human mind cannot comprehend this great blessing. Unless prophets exist, it cannot attain this endless bliss.”
If prophets had not been sent, humans could not have even known their humanity. Not being aware of either conjugal or community life, they would have lived like animals. Now in even today’s corrupt religions are conjugal life, family life, and human and animal rights. All these were learnt from prophets.
Only Allahu ta’âlâ knows what is beneficial and what is harmful to humans. He sent His prophets to human beings in order to inform them of what and how they should believe in, what they should do, and what they should avoid, so that they would attain comfort in both this world and the next.
All prophets, instead of meddling in worldly affairs that are ascertained through reason, only commanded their people to work in order to find them and get use from them, and they explained how each worldly affair could draw people to everlasting happiness or perdition. They also explained clearly the things Allahu ta’âlâ liked or disliked. (Endless Bliss)
Prophethood cannot be attained by working
Question: It is said, “A prophet is superior to all of us. He attains this superiority by working.” Can a person become a prophet by working for it?
Prophethood cannot be attained by working hard or by performing a lot of acts of worship. It is possessed only with Allahu ta’âlâ’s favor and selection. Hadrat Imâm-i Rabbâni declares:
Perfections in prophethood can be attained only by Allahu ta’âlâ’s granting. One cannot obtain this great blessing by working and struggling hard. No effort can be a means for possessing this great blessing. No riyazat or mujâhada causes one to attain to this exalted favor. Wilâyat (the rank a walî has reached) is not so. One can acquire its beginnings. It can be achieved through riyazat and mujâhada. It is also possible that they can make few people attain to the blessing of wilâyat without them working and striving for it. Wilâyat means fanâ and baqâ [filling the heart with the things Allahu ta’âlâ likes]. Fanâ and baqâ, too, are obtained by Allahu ta’âlâ’s granting. After one has acquired their beginnings by working, Allahu ta’âlâ honors whomever He wills with the blessings of fanâ and baqâ. That Sarwar’s [that is, the Prophet ‘alaihis-salâm] performing mujâhadas before and after he was informed of his prophethood was not for the purpose of attaining this blessing. It was for the purpose of gaining other benefits. It was for such subtleties as having a little questioning and accounting, eliminating the mistakes made out of human weaknesses, rising to the higher ranks, observing the manners when talking to the angel, who neither eats nor drinks, and having many wonders and miracles which were necessary in the grade of prophethood. Prophets attained this blessing without any agency. The companions of prophets became inheritors as they followed them. They were honored with this blessing through the agency of prophets. After prophets and their companions, very few people were honored with this blessing. This blessing may be bestowed upon others as well as a result of following and being an inheritor. (Vol. I, Letter 301)