Islam and Belief in Prophets
Belief in Prophets of Allah is unquestionably incumbent upon every follower of Islam. It goes without saying that the start of humanity did not commence with Prophet Muhammed’s call of prophethood, and neither it did on the birth of Jesus. It began long centuries before. During these times, God Almighty did not leave human beings muddled and at loss. Of all humans, He singled out Prophet Mosses and said to him in Surat Taha verses 13 and 14: “وَأَنَّا اِخْتَرْتُكَ فَاْسْتَمِعْ لِمَا يُوحَى”, that is “And I have chosen you. So listen to that which will be revealed to you.” “إِنِّي أَنَا اللهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاْعْبُدْنِي وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ لِذِكْرِي”, that is “verily, I am Allah! None is to be worshiped but I, so worship me and perform the prayer for My remembrance.”
Long before Moses, He chose Abraham and inspired him to say to his people, “اِعْبُدوا اللهَ وَاْتَّقُوهُ ذَلِكُم خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ”, that is “Worship Allah (Alone) and fear Him: that is better for you if you did but know” (Surat Al ‘ankabut verse 16). “إِنَّمَا تَعْبُدُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللهِ أَوْثَانًا وَتَخْلُقُونَ إِفْكًا إِنَّ الَّذِيْنَ تَعْبِدُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللهِ لَا يَمْلِكُونَ لَكُمْ رِزْقًا فَابْتَغُوا عِنْدَ اللهِ الرِّزْقَ وَاِعْبِدُوهُ وَاِشْكُرُوا لَهُ إِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ”, that is “You worship besides Allah only idols, and you only invent falsehood. Verily, those whom you worship besides Allah have no power to give you provision: so seek you provision from Allah (Alone), and worship Him (Alone), and be grateful to Him. To Him (Alone) you will be brought back” (Surat Al ‘ankabut verse 17).
Before Abraham, Noah was sent. For around 10 centuries, he undespairingly continued to adjure his people to be cognizant of their God, to assert belief in the unity of His divinity, and to seek His forgiveness. It was mentioned in the Holy Quran that he reproachingly asked them: “مَا لَكُمْ لَا تَرْجُونَ للهِ وَقَارَا (*) وَقَدْ خَلَقَكُمْ أَطْوَارَا (*) أَلَمْ تَرَوْا كَيْفَ خَلَقَ اللهُ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ طِبَاقًا (*) وَجَعَلَ الْقَمَرَ فِيْهِنَّ نُورًا وَجَعَلَ الشَّمْسَ سِرَاجًا(*), that is, “What is the matter with you, that you fear not Allah, and you hope not for reward from Him, while He has created you in different stages. See you not how Allah has created the seven heavens one above another? And has made the moon a light therein and made the sun a lamp” (Surat Noah verses 13, 14, 15, and 16).
The senses, messages, and intentions that the prophets (PBUT) stated over and over again are eternal. The truths to which people were attracted must continue to echo for as long as there is life on earth.
Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) asserted that it was essential to build on something solid, something that had been firmly established by Prophets of Allah who were sent many many centuries earlier. That is belief in prophets without exception. By so doing, he intended to remind all peoples of the world of the roots and sources that they were not aware of or might have ignore, that is Allah the One and Only, the day of resurrection, the total obedience to the Lord of earth and heavens, adherently following the right path, referring to Him for whatever He has ordained, cooperating in righteousness and piety, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, among many other matters that Allah has ordained us to do.
This was clearly stated in the Holy Quran, as Allah (SWT) address Muslims in Surat Ash-shura verse 13: “شَرَعَ لَكُم مِنَّ الدِّيْنِ مَا وَصَّى بِهِ نُوْحًا وَالَّذِي أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ وَمَا وَصَّيْنَا بِهِ إِبْرَاهِيْمَ وَمُوسَى وَعِيسَى أَنْ أَقِيمُوا الدِّيْنَ وَلَا تَتَفَرَّقُوا فِيهِ …”, that is “He (Allah) has ordained for you the same religion (Islamic Monotheism) which He ordained for Noah, and that which We have revealed to you (O Muhammed), and that which We ordained for Abraham, Moses, and Jesus saying that you must establish religion (that is, to do what it orders you to do practically) and make no divisions in it (religion), that is divide it into various sects.”
Belief in Prophets is unconditionally embraced by every Muslim. That is, Muslims believe that whatever reasons or vindications that Allah has bestowed upon His prophets (PBUT) was revealed in the Quran. These reasons and explanations, then, were augmented and reinforced so that they suitably, convincingly, and fully addressed the needs of subsequent generations in continually changing times. Put another way, every Muslim must have full allegiance to all prophets that were sent before Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). This is clearly stated in Surat Al Baqarah verses 2, 3, and 4.
In these verses, the belief in prophets is clearly indicated. “ذَلِكَ الْكِـتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ هُدًى لِلْمُتَّقِينَ (*) الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُم يُنْفِقُونَ (*) وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيكَ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ وبِالآخِرَةِ هُمْ يُوقِنُونَ (*), that is “That is the Book (i.e. the Quran) whereof there is no doubt and guidance to those who pious believers. Those who believe in the things that are not seen and perform the prayers and spend out of what We have provided for them. And those who believe in what has been revealed to you Muhammed (i.e. the Quran) and in that which was sent down before you (i.e. the Torah and the Gospel), and they believe with certainty in the Hereafter.”
History of Prophets and Messengers (Sami Al Maghluth)
At a time when the people of the two previous Books (namely, Christians and Jews) delimit true religion to their religions, Allah addressed Muslims to do otherwise. This is stated in Surat Al Baqarah verse 135: “وَقَالُوا كُونُوا هُودًا أَوْ نَصَارَى تَهْتَدُوا”, that is “And they say, ‘Be Jews or Christians, then you will be guided.’” Allah, as a consequence, said to the followers of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) in the following verse (i.e. verse 136 in the same Surat): “قُولُوا آمَنَّا بِاللهِ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالأَسْبَاطِ وَمَا أُوْتِيَ مُوسَى وَعِيسَى وَمَا أُوْتِيَ النَّبِيُّونَ مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ لَا نُفَرِّقَ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِنْهُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ”, that is “Say (O Muslims) ‘We believe in Allah and that which has been sent down to us and that which has been sent down to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and to the offspring of the twelve sons of Jacob, and that which has been given to Moses and Jesus, and that which has been given to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any one of them, and to Him we have submitted (in Islam).’” This verse states conclusive evidence about beliefs in prophets in Islam.
History of Prophets and Messengers (Sami Al Maghluth)
Inferentially, Prophet Muhammed, the last prophet, (PBUH) called to a religious unity based on general and all-encompassing principles. Needless to say, there are certain differences in some secondary matters. This variety in laws across history was not that significant. However, the controversy has been until this very day in the primary pillars of faith and belief; in particular, the great violations of basic religious teachings. This obliterated the boundaries between what is permitted and what is prohibited, such as adultery, alcoholism, among many other sinful acts. Therefore, Muslims knew that Christians and Jews deserted what God had sent down to them through Moses and Jesus. But Muslims believed (still and always will) in them and their Books.
As a result, Allah revealed to Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) to hold fast to what he was given and be just in his dealing with Christians and Jews. This is clearly stated in Surat Ash-shura verse 15: “فَلِذَلِكَ فَادْعُ وَاِسْتَقِمْ كَمَا أُمِرْتَ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءُهُم وَقُلْ آمَنْتُ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللهُ مِنْ كِتَابٍ وَأُمِرْتُ لِأَعْدِلَ بَيْنَكُمْ اللهُ رَبُّنَا وَرَبُّكُمْ لَنَا أَعْمَالُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَالُكُمْ لَا حُجَّةَ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُم وَاللهُ يَجْمَعُ بَيْنَنَا وَإِلَيْهِ المَصِيْر,” that is, “So to this (religion of Islam alone and this Quran) then invite people O Muhammed and stand firm (on Islamic Monotheism by performing all that is ordained by Allah), and by abstaining from all that is forbidden by Allah, as you are commanded, and follow not their desires but say: “I believe in whatsoever Allah has sent down of the Book (all the holy Books), and I am commanded to do justice among you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord. For us our deeds and for you your deeds. There is no dispute between us and you. Allah will assemble us (all), and to Him is the final return.”
Despite the myriad of misrepresentations and falsifications that surround the content of the Torah and Gospel, Allah has instructed Muslims to be forgiving. This is clearly stated in Surat Al Ma‘idah verse 15: “يَا أَهْلَ الكِتَابِ قَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولُنَا يُبَيِّنُ لَكُمْ كَثِيْرًا مِمَّا كُنْتُم تُخْفُونَ مِنَ الكِتَابِ وَيَعْفُو عَنْ كَثِيرٍ قَدْ جَاءَكُمْ مِنَ اللهِ نُوْرٌ وِكِتَابٌ مُبِينٌ,” that is, “O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Now has come to you our Messenger (Muhammed) explaining to you much of that which you used to hide from the Scripture and pass over (i.e. leaving out without explaining) much. Indeed, there has come to you from Allah a light (i.e. Prophet Muhammed, PBUH) and a plain Book (i.e. the Holy Quran).
Take the speech between Allah and Moses. It is so telling to see Prophet Moses (PBUH) demonstrate the question of the Day of Resurrection as Allah the Almighty addressed him. This is clearly stated in Surat Taha verses 15 and 16: “إِنَّ السَّاعَةَ آتِيَةٌ أَكَأدُ أُخْفِيهَا لِتُجْزَى كُلُّ نَفْسٍ بِمَا تَسْعَى (*) فَلَا يَصُدَّنَّكَ عَنْهَا مَنْ لَا يُؤْمِنُ بِهَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ فَتَرَدَّى (*), that is “Verily, the Hour is coming—and I am almost hiding it—that every person may be rewarded for that which he strives. Therefore, let not the one who believes not therein (i.e. the Day of Resurrection, Reckoning, Paradise, and Hell), but follows his own lusts, divert you therefrom, lest you perish.” In the present-day Torah, the Day of Resurrection, Paradise, and Hell have no mention.
Likewise, it is so pleasant to see Prophet Jesus (PBUH) present the issue of the monotheism and the oneness of Allah to his people. This is clearly stated in Surat Al Imran verse 51: “إِنَّ اللهَ رَبِّي وَرَبُّكُمْ فَاعْبِدُوهُ هَذَا صِرَاطٌ مُسْتَقِيمٌ,” that is, “Truly! Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him (Alone). This is a straight path.”
Muslims believe in the Quran and in what is presented in It. This includes all previous prophethoods, and therefore, their teachings and the teachings of the final prophethood will continued to be a guidance for humanity until the establishment of the Hour—the Day of Resurrection. More importantly, belief in Messengers (who are all prophets) is one of the six main beliefs in Islam as stated in Surat verse 285: ” آمَنَ الرَّسُولُ بِمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ رَبِّهِ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ كُلٌّ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ”, that is “The Messenger (Muhammed) 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.”