2: THE MESSENGERS
3: PROPHET ABRAHAM (PBUH)
4: PROPHET MOSES (PBUH)
5: PROPHET DAVID TO CHRIST (PBUT)
6: PROPHET JESUS CHRIST, THE SON OF MARY (PBUH)
7: PROPHET MUHAMMAD (PBUH)
8: THE OLD SACRED SCRIPTURES-BIBLE
9: QUR’AN- THE FINAL TESTAMENT
“By the soul and Him Who perfected it and inspired it with knowledge of what is wrong for it and what is right for it: indeed successful will be the one who keeps it pure, and indeed failure will be the one who corrupts it!”(Qur’an;91:7-10);“And verily We have raised in every nation a messenger, (proclaiming): Serve Allah and shun false gods. After that, Allah guided some of them while deviation proved true against the others….”(Qur’an;16:36)
God has created the mankind, to live in this world for the trial, which he (or she) undergoes by either leading the life in accordance with the commands of God hence becoming His obedient servant by totally surrendering to the will of God (in Arabic known as Muslim) or follow the footsteps of Satan by disobeying his Creator: “God has created the heavens and the earth to manifest the truth, and to reward each human being according to its deeds, and none of them shall be wronged.”(Qur’an;45:22); “He who created death and life, that He may try which of you is best In deed: and He is the Exalted In Might, Oft-Forgiving;”(Qur’an;67:2). He has not left the humanity in lurch, He has provided the guidance and freedom of choice resulting in individual responsibility and accountability. God has provided the guidance essentially through three ways: Firstly; the natural Guidance (instinctive cognition). Secondly; through grant of intellect and providing Signs (ayah). Man is endowed with forms and faculties exactly suited to what is expected of him, and to the environment in which his life will be cast, giving due order and proportion to everything. He has ordained laws and decrees, by which human can develop themselves and fit into His whole scheme of progression for all His Creation. Thirdly; direct guidance through His Messengers and scriptures. However being Merciful, He forgives the minor sins: “Those who avoid great sins and shameful deeds, only (falling into) small faults; Verily Thy Lord is ample In Forgiveness. He knows you well when He brings you out of the earth, and when ye are hidden In your mothers’ wombs. Therefore justify not yourselves: He knows best who it is that guards against evil.”(Qur’an;53:32 also 4:31). Each mode of guidance needs some elaboration.
Much earlier than the creation of humanity, God first created all the spirits of humanity, which testified Him to be their Lord, this was the ‘First Covenant’, which is binding accordingly on each individual, then they were put to sleep. Allah says: “O Prophet, remind mankind about incident when your Lord brought into existence the offspring from the loins of Adam and his descendants (virtually each single individual of mankind) and made them testify about themselves. Allah asked them: “Am I not your Lord?” They all replied: “Yes! We bear witness that You are.” This We did, lest you mankind should say on the Day of Resurrection: “We were not aware of this fact that You are our Lord and that there will be a Day of Judgment.”(Qur’an;7:172). He brings the humankind into this world in succession, each one at appointed time, spirit is breathed in to him. This spiritual heritage, the individual covenant with God, is part of his nature of every human being as human consciousness. The Quality or state of being aware is termed as consciousness. As applied to the lower animals, consciousness refers to the capacity for sensation and, usually, simple volition. In higher animals, this capacity may also include thinking and emotion. In human beings, ‘consciousness’ is understood to include “meta-awareness,” awareness that one is aware. The term also refers broadly to the upper level of mental life of which the person is aware, as contrasted with unconscious processes. Levels of consciousness (e.g., attention vs. sleep) are correlated with patterns of electrical activity in the brain (brain waves). The three states of the development of the nafas (human soul, conscious) are: Firstly Nafs Ammara (Qur’an;12:53), which is ‘Prone to Evil’, if not checked and controlled, will lead to perdition; Secondly; Nafs Lawwama: (Qur’an;75:2) which feels ‘Conscious of Evil’, and resists it, seeks Allah’s grace and pardon after repentance and tries to amend with the hopes to attain salvation; Thirdly; Nafs Mutmainna (Qur’an;89:27), the highest stage of all, when it achieves ‘Full Rest and Satisfaction’. The second stage Lawwama may be compared to Conscience, except that in English usage Conscience is a faculty and not a stage in spiritual development. Allah has granted certain powers and faculties (intellect) to the human, which stipulate special spiritual obligations, they must faithfully discharge: “Say: “It is He Who has created you (and made you grow) and made for you the faculties of hearing seeing feeling and understanding: little thanks it is ye give.”(Qur’an;67:23). The Covenant is fulfilled by human to acknowledge that Allah is the Creator, Cherisher, and Sustainer, therefore they should acknowledge their duty to Him. When people so testify concerning themselves, the obligation is as it were assumed by them; for it follows from their very nature when it is pure and uncorrupted. Knowledge of right and wrong is ingrained in human nature, Allah says: “by the soul and Him Who perfected it and inspired it with knowledge of what is wrong for it and what is right for it: indeed successful will be the one who keeps it pure, and indeed failure will be the one who corrupts it!”(Qur’an;91:7-10). Some remain conscious of it while others tend to suppress this awareness.
In addition to giving form and nature, Allah has also given guidance to all the creations (Qur’an;20:50). The humanity is expected to be steadfast in the belief of natural faith, part of human conscious. Allah says: “Therefore, stand firm in your devotion to the upright faith – the nature made by Allah, (hanefa fitr’ah) the one on which mankind is created – and the laws of Nature ordained by Allah cannot be changed. That is the ‘Standard True Religion’, but most among mankind do not know.”(Qur’an;30:30). The ‘True Nature’ (hanefa fitr’ah), “true” is used in the sense in which it is said, “the magnetic needle is true to the north”, the ‘First Covenant’ is part of human nature. Those who have been privileged to receive the ‘Truth’ should never hesitate or swerve but remain constant, like the men of knowledge. As turned out from the creative act of Allah, man is innocent, pure, true, free, inclined to right and virtue, and endowed with true understanding about his own position in the Universe and about Allah’s goodness, wisdom, and power. That is his true nature, just as the nature of a lamb is to be gentle and of a horse is to be swift. But man is caught in the webs of customs, superstitions, selfish desires, and false teachings. This may make him pugnacious, unclean, false, slavish and hankering after what is wrong or forbidden, thus getting deflected from the love of his fellow-men and the pure worship of the One True God. The problem before the messengers and prophets had been to cure this crookedness, and to restore, (hanefa fitr’ah) human nature to what it should be under the Will of Allah; the uncorrupted pure nature. The “standard True Religion,” or the ‘Straight Way’ is thus contrasted with the various human systems that conflict with each other and call themselves separate “religions” or “sects”. Allah’s standard Religion is the one, based upon total surrender to the Will of God (Islam).
The man has been endowed with the intellect so that he could used this faculty to differentiate between right and wrong; truth and falsehood. If some one does not make use of this God gifted power, then the position of such a person is no better than that of the animal. The main difference between human and animal is that human has the capacity to raison d’être and ponder. An animal cannot argue, it behaves by instinct. Ability to think and reason are the main faculties which differentiate man from the animals. Even the existence of God, the Truth may be arrived at through a process of reasoning. The case of Prophet Abraham [PBUH (peace be upon him)] is point in case (Qur’an;6:74-79). Blind Faith, can not stand the test, the blind fumble and does not know the way. Only those who have eyes, can enjoy the colour and beauty of their surroundings. This is the essential difference between those who adhere blindly to their creed and refuse to see the light of reason, and those whose ‘eyes of reason” are wide open and can judge truth from falsehood.
The human intellectual power of rational thinking and reason is further facilitated by the teachings of the great Messengers or teachers sent to every nation. Allah says:”…And there never was a people, without a Warner having lived among them (in the past).”(Qur’an;35:24). Where such teachers do not come into direct contact with an individual or a generation, their revealed scripture is available to them which is conveyed by the preachers (dai). Even if some one does not receive the message through direct means then the true faith can be revived through means of the ‘Intellect and Reason’, His ‘signs’ spread all around and true nature (hanefa fitr’ah) part of human conscious (the 1st Covenant). This is the reason that even some of African tribes cut off from the civilized world worship One God without images. It is the failure to follow a man’s ‘inner light’ sincerely that leads to his degradation and destruction. And yet, such is the human self-will, who use these faculties for wrong purposes and thus show ingratitude to Allah, resultantly he would find himself in hell, but his repentance will then be of no vain. Allah says: “For those who reject their Lord (and Cherisher) is the penalty of Hell: and evil is (such), destination. When they are cast therein they will hear the (terrible) drawing in of its breath even as it blazes forth, almost bursting with fury: every time a group is cast therein, its keepers will ask, “Did no Warner come to you?” They will say: “Yes indeed; a Warner did come to us, but we rejected him and said, ‘(Allah) never sent down any (Message): ye are nothing but an egregious delusion!'”. They will further say: “Had we but listened or used Our intelligence, we should not (now) be among the companions of the Blazing Fire!”. They will then confess their sins: but far will be (Forgiveness) from the companions of the Blazing Fire! As for those who fear their Lord Unseen, for them is forgiveness and a great reward.”(Qur’an;67:6-12). Hence whoever disbelieves is therefore rebellious by not responding to all modes of guidance, even his own conscious, primordial nature. (Sahih Bukhari Hadith Number; 298, volume 4, linked with Qur’an;30:30). Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been reported to have mentioned that every human child is born in true nature (Al-Fitra ) which is obedience to Allah (Islam) and then his parents make him Jewish, Christian or Magian. The scholars stipulate that, if the message of ‘true faith’ (complete obedience, surrender to God – Islam) does not reach to some one, then in hereafter he will be judged by the (hanefa fitr’ah), the human nature conscious of One God (monotheism- Tawhid). Allah says: “We charge no soul with more than it can bear; We have a Book of record which shall clearly tell the truth, and they shall not be treated unjustly.”(Qur’an;23:62).
Signs and Miracles:
Something that suggests the presence or existence of a fact, condition, or quality is called ‘sign’. Sign could also be in the form of miracle as evidence of existence of supernatural power or authority. Miracle is an extraordinary event attributed to a supernatural power. The ancient people considered Miracle as an event in the external world brought about by the immediate agency or the simple volition of God, operating without the use of means capable of being discerned by the senses, and designed to authenticate the divine commission of a religious teacher and the truth of his message. It shows the intervention of a power that is not limited by the laws either of matter or of mind, a power interrupting the fixed laws which govern their movements, a supernatural power. One force counteracts another: vital force keeps the chemical laws of matter in abeyance; and muscular force can control the action of physical force. When a man raises a weight from the ground, the law of gravity is neither suspended nor violated, but counteracted by a stronger force. The simple and grand truth that the universe is not under the exclusive control of physical forces, but that everywhere and always there is above, separate from and superior to all else, an infinite personal will, not superseding, but directing and controlling all physical causes, acting with or without them. God ordinarily effects. His purpose through the agency of second causes; but he has the power also of effecting his purpose immediately and without the intervention of second causes, i.e., of invading the fixed order, and thus of working miracles. An atheist or a pantheist must, as a matter of course, deny the possibility of miracles; but to one who believes in all powerful Supreme God, who in his wisdom may see fit to interfere with the ordinary processes of nature, miracles are not impossible, nor are they incredible. Belief in miracles exist in all cultures and nearly all religions. The Upanishads assert that the experience of religious insight and transformation is the only “miracle” worth considering, but popular Hinduism attributes miraculous powers to the ascetic yogis. Confucianism had little room for miracles. Daoism, however, mingled with Chinese folk religion to produce a rich crop of miracles. Though Buddha Gautama deprecated his own miraculous powers as devoid of spiritual significance, accounts of his miraculous birth and life were later woven into his legend and into those of later Buddhist saints. Miracles are taken for granted throughout the Hebrew scriptures and were fairly common in the Greco-Roman world.
Bible mentions that the Miracles are performed with the power of God: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:”(Acts;2:22); “Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.”(John;10:25);“The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”(John;3:2, also Exodus; 8:19; Act; 14:3; 15:12; 19:11). The miracles are not the final test, to establish the truthfulness of claimant, Prophet Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) said: “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.”(Mathew;24:23). Bible mentions that the wonders can also be performed through the power of the devil (2Thessolosions; 2:9; Revelation; 16:14); Wrought in support of false religions (Deuteronomy;13:1-2); By false prophets (Revelation;19:20). The examples of the Witch of Endor (1Samuel;28:7-14); Simon Magus (Acts;8:9-11) and Magicians of Egypt (Exodus;7:11; 8:7) have been mentioned.
The peculiar feature of Muslim theology is that, it does not accept the idea of nature as an entity operating according to fixed laws ONLY, as against Deists, who assert that God had created the world and then left it to operate under the natural laws He had devised. The laws do exist, as ordained by Him, but being the Supreme Creator He is not bound, though the creatures adhere to His laws. Allah says: “So, from this creation, He formed the seven heavens in two periods and to each heaven He ordained its laws…”(Qur’an;41:12). God is actively involved in the affairs of His creations: “… We are never unmindful of Our creation.”(Qur’an;23:17), He may do what ever He Wills (Qur’an;3:189, 82:2). The universe is constantly being re-created by Allah in successive time atoms, natural regularity is nothing but the regularity of Allah’s practice in re-creating the universe. Thus, a miracle is the omnipotent Allah’s departure from his practice but no different, in principle, from the latter. It was generally believed that when people see a miracle, they were more likely to believe in God and the messenger. Therefore, a miracle may be the short cut for making people believe in Allah and implement His law. However, historical facts show otherwise. When miracles were given to earlier prophets, their communities accused them of sorcery and were even more determined to reject the faith preached by those prophets. Allah says: “To Moses We did give nine Clear Signs: ask the Children of Israel: when he came to them Pharaoh said to him: “O Moses! I consider thee indeed to have been worked upon by sorcery!”(Qur’an;17:101); “They said: Moses, have you come to us with your sorcery to drive us out of our land? We will certainly come up with sorcery equal to yours. Fix, then, a date for us to be attended by us and you in a mutually suitable place.”(Qur’an;20:57-58). Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) was also not accepted by his people: “.. (Jesus said to Israelites) I have brought you signs of my appointment from your Lord. I will make for you the likeness of a bird from clay; I will breathe into it and, with Allah’s leave, it will become a living bird. I will heal the blind and the lepers, and raise the dead to life, by Allah’s leave. Furthermore, I will tell you what you have eaten and what you have stored in your houses. Surely these are the signs to convince you if you are believers. I am appointed to confirm that which is before me from the Torah and to make lawful to you some of the things forbidden to you. Now I have brought you the signs from your Lord, therefore fear Allah and obey me.”(Qur’an;3:49-50). Despite all these wonderful miracles the Israelites declined to believe in Prophet Jesus calling the miracles as sorcery, they even tried to kill him but (according to Islamic traditions) Allah saved him: “…How I protected you from the violence of the Children of Israel when you came to them with clear signs and the unbelievers among them said: “This is nothing but a clear sorcery.” (Qur’an;5:110).
In many places the Qur’an stresses the fact that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), despite his being the last Messenger of God, was not empowered to perform miracles similar to those with which the earlier prophets are said to have reinforced their verbal messages. Allah says: “They swear their strongest oaths by Allah that if a miracle (sign) were shown to them, they would indeed believe in this (divine writ). Say (O’ Muhammad): Miracles are in the power of God alone. And for all you know, even if one should be shown to them, they would not believe.”(Qur’an;6:109). Being the last messenger of God, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), has been provided with the ever living miracle, The Qur’an – a message perfect in its lucidity and ethical comprehensiveness, destined for all times and all stages of human development, addressed not merely to the feelings but also to the minds of men, open to everyone, irrespective of race or social environment, and bound to remain unchanged forever. While the earlier prophets invariably appealed to their own community and their own time alone, their teachings were, of necessity, circumscribed by the social and intellectual conditions of that particular community and time. Moreover the people to whom they addressed themselves had not yet reached the stage of independent thinking, those prophets stood in need of symbolic portents or miracles in order to make the people concerned realize the inner truth of their mission. The message of the Qur’an, on the other hand, was revealed at a time when mankind (and, in particular, that part of it which inhabited the regions marked by the earlier, Judaeo-Christian religious development) had reached a degree of maturity which henceforth enabled it to grasp an ideology as such without the aid of those persuasive portents and miraculous demonstrations which in the past, only too often gave rise to new, grave misconceptions as Allah points out: “We refrain from sending signs (miracles) only because the men of former generations treated them as false. For example, We sent the she-camel to the people of Thamud – a manifest sign – but they laid violent hands on her. We send the signs only by way of warning, and if people reject the sign after receiving it, they are doomed.”(Qur’an;17:59). The miracles therefore are not the answer for people’s rejection of the faith. The history proves that while the people were shown the clearest of signs and miracles and yet they continue to deny Allah and His message. According to tradition of Allah, when ever a community was shown a miracle through their Messenger ‘on their demand’ but they continue to disbelieve, that community was destroyed. That was because they actually condemn themselves to destruction by their continued rejection, there are examples found in history of nations: “Hath not the fame of those before them reached them the people of Noah, A’ad, Thamud, the people of Abraham, the dwellers of Median and the disasters (which befell them)? Their messengers (from Allah) came unto them with proofs (of Allah’s sovereignty). So Allah surely wronged them not, but they did wrong themselves.”(Qur’an;9:70).
There are various arguments as proof for the existence of God i.e. ‘Cosmological’, that there must be a First Cause of all things; ‘Teleological’, or the argument from ‘Design’ seen all around the operations of an intelligent Cause in nature; ‘Ontological’, that proceeds from the idea of God to the reality of God. The Moral Argument also called the ‘Anthropological Argument’ is based on the moral consciousness and the history of mankind, which exhibits a moral order and purpose, which can only be explained on the supposition of the existence of God. The Religious experience of existence of God must be understood against the background of a general theory of experience, the reports of the world received through the senses. Qur’an emphasizes the Signs (ayah) of Allah, present all around the world in at every moment in life. One need only to open his mind to observe, what takes place in the universe, in human life, and within himself, but only the people who think and ponder can benefit from them. Allah says in the Qur’an: “Verily in the heavens and the earth are Signs for those who believe”(Qur’an;45:3). Galileo (1564-1642, the Italian mathematician, astronomer, physicist and philosopher, who due to his scientific views was tried through Church), said in 1623: “Philosophy is written in that great book which always lies open before our eyes, the universe. But it cannot be understood unless one learns to understand the language and to know the letters in which it s written. It is written in mathematical (scientific) language and its letters are triangles, circles and other figures. Without these means, it is humanly impossible to understand a word of it and it remains but and idle roaming through an obscure labyrinth”. The faith and reason are inextricably linked, Faith reinforced by reason and reason is propelled by faith. Science is the link between the seen and the unseen between known and the unknown. The unknown cannot be understood without firmly grasping the known. The birth of every child reflect on the process of conception, creation and development of a human being from the moment a female egg is fertilized by a male’s sperm to the moment of birth, it continue reflection to encompass human life in this world. The miraculous aspects are so numerous and clear in other aspects of human existence and the world around them that, any one using his intellect is bound to acknowledge them, as the work of God. The fine balance, which Allah has created to make sure that the life continues without one side overwhelming the rest, all this is miraculous! Through the last Messenger (peace be upon him), Allah has provided an extended chance to believe in Him. The means to win over humanity to faith are already in place. He has provided the humanity with perfect guidance embedded in the Qur’an, the miracle of miracles. People only need to approach the Qur’an with clear and open mind to ponder over it rationally, they are bound to accept the logical argument and believe in the message. At any time in man’s life there are moments of clear vision. If a person makes use of such a moment, he is sure to accept Allah’s guidance and believe in Him.
The Muslims believe that , the miraculous signs (mu’jizat) bestowed on the Prophets are established as true, (they are the works of God, Qur’an;29:50 & 6:109). Ennobling wonders (karamat) are reportedly made manifest through the genuinely pious people (auliya). As for apparently miraculous and wondrous deeds performed by Allah’s enemies, like Iblis, the Pharaoh and the Dajjal, (anti Christ) whatever is mentioned in tradition as having been performed by them in future, is neither miraculous nor wondrous. Rather it is a question of their needs being fulfilled by Allah Most High; this is done in order to lead them toward destruction and to chastise them, they increase in rebelliousness and unbelief. All of the foregoing is possible and contingent upon Allah’s will.
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