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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Belief in the Messengers of Allah (S.W.T)

He (the inquirer) said: Inform me about Iman (faith). He (the Prophet) replied: That you affirm your faith in Allah, in His angels, in His Books, in His Messengers, in the Day of Judgment, and you affirm your faith in the Divine Decree about good and evil. [Sahih Muslim]

Belief in the Messengers of Allah (s.w.t) is known as the fourth pillar of Iman. To understand this topic correctly the following must be known.

The main aspects constituting this pillar

1. To believe in all the Prophets and Messengers mentioned in the Qur'an and Sunnah
2. To believe they carry the truth
3. To believe the Prophets and Messengers are free from distorting the message
4. To believe we must obey them by the Will of Allah (bi-idhnillah)

1. Belief in all of those Prophets and Messengers mentioned in the Qur'an and Sunnah


1. Nabi means Prophet from the Arabic verb Naba (bump or elevated)
2. Nabuwa means Prophethood and is defined as “A report from Allah (s.w.t) to whomever he chooses as a Prophet”
3. Anbiya/Ambiya means Prophets
4. Rasul means Messenger
5. Risalah means Message in this case “What Allah (s.w.t) reveals to His Messenger from amongst His servants, whether written or not written to convey to the people”
6. Rusul/Mursaleen means Messengers
7. The definition of a Prophet: A Prophet is a person chosen by Allah (s.w.t) to reveal to, and to convey to the people whilst referring back to the to the Shariah (Laws) of the previous Messenger.
8. The definition of a Messenger: A Messenger is a person chosen by Allah (swt) to reveal a message, which must be conveyed to the people. This may contain a new Shariah.

The list of Prophets mentioned in the Qur'an in the chronological order as sent to mankind:

1. Aadam (Adam)
2. Idrees (Enoch)
3. Nuh (Noah)
4. Houd (Heber)
5. Saaleh (Shelah)
6. Ibraaheem (Abraham)
7. Lout (Lot)
8. Ismaa’eel (Ishmael)
9. Ishaaq (Isaac)
10. Ya’qoub (Jacob)
11. Yousuf (Joseph)
12. Shu’aib (Jethro)
13. Mousa (Moses)
14. Haroun (Aaron)
15. Daawoud (David)
16. Sulaymaan (Solomon)
17. Ayoub (Job)
18. Ilyaas (Elijah)
19. Dhulkifl (Ezekiel)
20. Al-Yasa (Elisha)
21. Younus (Jonah)
22. Zakariyaa (Zechariah)
23. Yahya (John)
24. Eesa (Jesus)
25. Muhammad

An example of a verse whereby Allah (s.w.t) mentions the prophets is, Say (O Muhammad S.A.W): "We believe in Allah and in what has been sent down to us, and what was sent down to Ibrahim (Abraham), Isma'il (Ishmael), Ishaq (Isaac), Ya'qub (Jacob) and Al-Asbat [the twelve sons of Ya'qub (Jacob)] and what was given to Musa (Moses), 'Isa (Jesus) and the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between one another among them and to Him (Allah) we have submitted (in Islam)." [Surah Aali Imran 3:84]

Although only 25 prophets are mentioned by name in the Qur'an, a Hadith in the Musnad of Imam Ahmed mentions that there were 124,000 of them in total throughout history, also Allah (s.w.t) says,

And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger. [Surah An-Nahl 16:36]

And, indeed We have sent Messengers before you (O Muhammad S.A.W); of some of them We have related to you their story and of some We have not related to you their story. [Surah Ghafir 40:78]

2. To believe the Messengers carry the truth

O mankind! Verily, there has come to you the Messenger (Muhammad S.A.W) with the truth from your Lord, so believe in him, it is better for you. [Surah An-Nisa 4:170]

This verse (ayah) means, Muhammad (s.a.w) has come to you with guidance, the religion of truth and clear proof from Allah (s.w.t), so believe in him.

Verily! We have sent you with the truth, a bearer of glad tidings, and a Warner. And there never was a nation but a Warner had passed among them. [Surah Fatir 35:24]

This ayah means a bearer of glad tidings to the believers and a Warner‎‎‎ to the disbelievers; all is in truth from Allah (s.w.t).

3. To believe that the Prophets and Messengers are free from distorting the message

This means to believe that Allah (s.w.t) protects the Prophets from making any mistakes or error in transmitting what Allah (s.w.t) intends via His revelation. The Prophets are infallible (Ma’soum) when it comes to this role. Allah (s.w.t) says, Nor does he speak of (his own) desire. [Surah An-Najm 53:3]

Asserting that nothing the Prophet utters is from his own desire or wish.

It is only an Inspiration that is inspired. [Surah An-Najm 53:4]

Meaning he the Prophet (s.a.w) only conveys to the people that which he is commanded, in its entirety without additions or deletions.

Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al Aas (r.a) said, "I used to record everything I heard from the Messenger of Allah so it would be preserved. The Quraysh discouraged me from this, saying, `You record everything you hear from the Messenger of Allah, even though he is human and sometimes speaks when he is angry' I stopped recording the Hadiths for a while, but later mentioned what they said to the Messenger of Allah, who said,

(Write! By He in whose hand is my soul, every word that comes out of me is the truth.)'' Abu Dawud also collected this Hadith.

Allah (s.w.t) says, "Say (O Muhammad S.A.W): "It is not for me to change it on my own accord; I only follow that which is revealed unto me. Verily, I fear if I were to disobey my Lord, the torment of the Great Day (i.e. the Day of Resurrection)." [Surah Yunus 10:15]

Meaning the Prophet (s.a.w) has no authority to change the revelation in anyway, rather he is a servant who receives commands from his Lord.

4. To believe we must obey the Messengers by the Will of Allah (bi-idhnillah)

We sent no Messenger, but to be obeyed by Allah’s leave. [Surah An-Nisa 4:64]

Meaning, that obeying the Prophets and Messengers was ordained for those people to whom they were sent. Allah's statement, (By Allah's leave)

Means, "None shall obey, except by My leave,'' according to Mujahid, and this Ayah indicates that the Prophets are only obeyed in direct obedience to Allah (s.w.t). Allah (s.w.t) says,

And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad S.A.W) gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it), [Surah Al-Hashr 59:7]

But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad S.A.W) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission. [Surah An-Nisa 4:65]

Other aspects to believing in the messengers

(i) Belief in their covenant with Allah (s.w.t)

And (remember) when Allah took the covenant of the Prophets, saying: "Take whatever I gave you from the Book and Hikmah (understanding of the Laws of Allah, etc.), and afterwards there will come to you a Messenger (Muhammad S.A.W) confirming what is with you; you must, then, believe in him and help him." Allah said: "Do you agree (to it) and will you take up My covenant (which I conclude with you)?" They said: "We agree." He said: "Then bear witness; and I am with you among the witnesses (for this)." [Surah Aali Imran 3:81]

`Ali bin Abi Talib and his cousin `Abdullah bin `Abbas said, "Allah never sent a Prophet but after taking his pledge that if Muhammad were sent in his lifetime, he would believe in and support him.'' [Tafsir Ibn Kathir]

(ii) The Prophets came with a universal message

And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): "Worship Allah (alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghout [Surah An-Nahl 16:36]

Allah (s.w.t) continued sending Messengers to mankind with this Message, from the first incidence of Shirk that appeared among the Children of Adam (a.s), in the people to whom Nuh (a.s) was sent - the first Messenger sent by Allah (s.w.t) to the people of this earth - until He sent the final Messenger, Muhammad (s.a.w), whose call was addressed to both men and Jinn, in the East and in the West. All of the Messengers brought the same Message, as Allah (s.w.t) says, And We did not send any Messenger before you (O Muhammad) but We revealed to him (saying): None has the right to be worshipped but I (Allah), so worship Me (alone and none else).'' [Surah Al-Anbiya 21:25]

(iii) They spoke in the tongue of their people

And We sent not a Messenger except with the language of his people, in order that he might make (the Message) clear for them. [Surah Ibrahim 14:4]

(iv) They came as Warner‎s

Verily! We have sent you with the truth, a bearer of glad tidings, and a Warner. And there never was a nation but a Warner had passed among them. [Surah Fatir 35:24]

(v) Every prophet had an enemy

And so We have appointed for every Prophet enemies - Shayateen (devils) among mankind and jinns. [Surah Al-An’am 6:112]

(vi) Allah (s.w.t) favored some Messengers over others

Those Messengers! We preferred some to others; to some of them Allah spoke (directly); others He raised to degrees (of honor); and to 'Isa (Jesus), the son of Maryam (Mary), We gave clear proofs and evidences, and supported him with Ruh-ul-Qudus [Jibril (Gabriel)]. [Surah Baqarah 2:253]

(vii) We do not differentiate between them

The Messenger (Muhammad) believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers. Each one believes in Allah, His Angels, His Books, and His Messengers. They say, "We make no distinction between one another of His Messengers" - and they say, "We hear, and we obey. (We seek) Your Forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the return (of all)." [Surah Baqarah 2:285]

(viii) The Prophets are witness over their people

Thus We have made you leading nation, that you be witnesses over mankind and the Messenger (Muhammad) be a witness over you. [Surah Baqarah 2:143]

(ix) They don’t ask for reward from the people for their conveyance

Say: "No reward I ask of you for this (the Qur’an). It is only a reminder for the Alamin [Surah Al-An’am 6:90]

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