Every Nation was sent a Prophet
Muslims believe that thousands of prophets were sent periodically by God, at least one to every nation, as a mercy to mankind for their guidance. Some of the Prophets sent include Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them).
In certain circumstances, the message of the Prophets was lost, corrupted, forgotten, neglected, or denied by the people. These were some of the reasons why a new Prophet would be sent to re-convey Allah’s message.
Muslims believe in and respect every Prophet sent by God. Muslims also believe in all of the divine books which were revealed to the Prophets, mindful of the fact that none of these books exist today in their original form, aside from the Quran.
“It is He (Allah) Who has sent down the Book (the Quran) to you (Muhammad) with truth, confirming what came before it. And He sent down the Torah and the Gospel.” Quran 3:3
Characteristics of Prophets
All Prophets have common characteristics which make them exceptional human beings.
The main difference between an ordinary human being and a Prophet is that a Prophet receives revelation from God (Allah).
Prophets never sought personal benefits such as wealth, high status or power – rather, they only sought the approval of God.
Prophets were the best examples amongst their people in character and righteousness. They lived in obedience to God, with excellent morals and were always truthful in speech and conduct. For this reason, Muslims reject totally the false attribution of major sins to the Prophets, as appears in some scriptures of other religions.
Prophets are not divine
While Prophets are chosen by Allah Almighty, they are in no way divine and should not be worshipped. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was commanded to say:
“I am only a man like you. It has been revealed to me that your God is One God.” Quran 18:110
It is clear even from the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, that the Prophets were not divine, and would worship and prostrate to the One True God.
“And he [Jesus] went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed…” Matthew 26:39
“And they [Moses and Aaron] fell upon their faces…” Numbers 16:22
“And Abram [i.e. Abraham] fell on his face: and God talked with him…” Genesis 17:3
The Message of the Prophets
Since all Prophets were sent by the One True God, they all conveyed the same message and had the same mission – to remind and educate their people of the purpose of life.
“And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allâh (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Tâghût (all false deities, etc. i.e. do not worship Tâghût besides Allâh).”” Quran 16:36
The main focus of all the Prophets was to clarify the concept of God: that He has no partners or equals, and that all worship should be directed exclusively toward Him. In the Quran, there are numerous examples of Prophets proclaiming this message:
Noah (peace be upon him) said [Quran 7:59],
“O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other gods besides Him.”
Abraham (peace be upon him) said [Quran 21:66],
“Do you worship besides Allah, things that can neither bring you benefit nor cause you harm?”
Moses (peace be upon him) said [Quran 7:140],
“What! Shall I seek for you a god other than Allah even though He has made you excel (all) created things?”
Jesus (peace be upon him) said [Quran 3:51],
“Indeed Allah is my Lord and your Lord: so worship Him (alone): this is the Straight Way.”
Muhammad (peace be upon him) said [Quran 18:110],
“It has been revealed to me that your God is One God. So whoever expects to meet his Lord then let him do good deeds and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.”
This message was consistent throughout the generations, and highlights the importance of having the correct belief in God.
The Final Prophet
As mentioned earlier, Muslims believe that thousands of Prophets were sent periodically by Allah to specific groups of people.
“And for every nation there is a messenger.” Quran 10:47
Over time, the messages with which the Prophets came were lost or corrupted.
However, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was not sent to a specific people, but to mankind as a whole, and his message has been preserved both in the form of the Quran and the Sunnah. Since the Quran and Sunnah are preserved and easily accessible, there is no need for another Prophet.
“Muhammad is not the father of any one of your men, but he is the Messenger of God and the last of the prophets.” Quran 33:40
The Quran is the spoken word of Allah, and is free of any corruption, errors or contradictions. It is a book of “guidance for mankind… and the distinction (between right and wrong).” Quran 2:185
God has guaranteed the Quran’s protection from any corruption or distortion. Allah says in the Quran,
“Verily, We, it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur’an) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption).” Quran 15:9
The Sunnah is a collection of the sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as recorded by his companions and their students. The fact that there are thousands of these recorded and rigorously authenticated makes it very easy for anyone to follow Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) correctly.
The message of Prophet Muhammad is in complete harmony with the teachings of the previous Prophets, and reaffirms their message.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the final Prophet for all mankind from his time up until the end of time, including current and future generations. He was a perfect example of an honest, just, merciful, compassionate, truthful and brave human being. He, like other Prophets before him, did not have any evil characteristics and strove solely for the sake of Allah.
- “Prophethood in Islam” Pamphlet by islamicpamphlets.com
- A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam, I.A Ibrahim, Second Edition, Darussalam