Allah Sent Messengers and Books
I n previous chapters, we provided examples and evidence that help us to ponder and grasp something of Allah's might and grandeur. The reason why Allah endowed us with the faculties of thinking and reasoning is in order for us to come to know Him. Allah has also sent us the revealed Books through which He introduces Himself. He communicates what He expects from us in these Books. Allah commissioned and sent messengers who set examples for their peoples with their excellent conduct. Through these messengers, the pure message and revelation of Allah provide guidance for mankind.
It is difficult to know exactly how many messengers Allah sent, although there are traditions relating that, for example, there have been three hundred and thirteen messengers and a much greater number of prophets throughout history. We only know the names of the prophets mentioned in the Qur'an, the last revelation sent by Allah. Allah provides us with knowledge of the lives of the prophets to allow us to understand their conduct. Through the messengers He sent, Our Lord conveys to us the right way of living and how to conduct ourselves correctly in this world. Only through Allah's communications can we know how to conduct ourselves, and which types of behaviour are better and more in compliance with the values of the Qur'an. It is only through His communications that we can ever know the behaviour that earn Allah's good pleasure and His infinite reward as well as those that lead to punishment.
In the Qur'an, Allah informs us that throughout history He sent His messengers to all communities, and that they warned them. These messengers summoned their people to worship
Allah, to pray to Him and to comply with His commands. He also made clear to them that otherwise they would be punished. In brief, they warned the disbelievers and those who engaged in wicked deeds, and they gave glad tidings to believers that they would be rewarded. (The Garden and the Fire will be dealt with extensively in the following sections.) The last prophet Allah sent to mankind was the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. The Qur'an is the last revealed Book.
The earlier revelations from Allah have lost their authenticity, since ignorant people and those with bad intentions have incorporated their own words and extra pieces into them. Therefore, their originals, the true revelations that were initially sent to the peoples, did not survive to our day. But Allah sent us the Qur'an, the Book that is impossible to alter.
The Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and later Muslims preserved the Qur'an very well. The Qur'an is so clear that everyone can understand it. When we read the Qur'an, we can immediately understand that it is the Speech of Allah. The Qur'an, which has survived completely intact, is under Allah's protection and it is the only revealed Book for which people will be responsible until the Day of Judgment.
Today all Muslims, wherever they are, read the very same Qur'an; Not a single discrepancy can be found in one word or letter. The Qur'an revealed to the Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and compiled by the Caliph Abu Bakr and then later written out by the Caliph Uthman, may Allah be pleased with them, who lived 1,400 years ago, and the Qur'an we read today are identical. There is a one-to-one
correspondence between them. This means, from the day the Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, it has survived intact. That is because Allah protected the Qur'an from evil people who intended to alter it or incorporate extra bits in it. In one verse, Allah informs us that He preserves the Qur'an specially:
With the word "We" in this verse, Allah refers to Himself. There is no other god besides Allah, He has no partner. He is the Almighty Allah, the Originator of everything and the One Who encompasses everything in His knowledge. In some parts of the Qur'an, Allah refers to Himself with the word "I," and in some others with the word, "We." In Arabic, which is the language of the Qur'an, the word "We" is also employed to refer to a single person with the purpose of arousing feelings of might and respect in the listener. There is a similar case in English known as "The Royal We." In the succeeding sections of this book, we will give you examples of verses (of the Qur'an) and surahs (chapters of the Qur'an). They are the most correct words because they are the words of Allah, the One Who knows us better than we do ourselves. In the Qur'an, Allah wants us to take lessons from the lives of the prophets. One verse reads:
The type of person to whom Allah draws our attention in this verse is a person who knows that the Qur'an is the Speech of Allah and thereby thinks, exercises his reason and strives to learn the Qur'an and live by its commands. Allah holds the people to whom He sends His messengers responsible for complying with His commands. Having received Allah's revelations, people will have no right to put forward excuses on the Day
of Judgment. That is because the messengers of Allah convey to their peoples the knowledge of the existence of Allah and of what He expects from people. Once a person hears this message, he is responsible for it. This is related in the Qur'an as follows:
Allah created many groups of people on earth. Some of these groups refused what their messengers brought to them and denied that they were messengers at all. Because they did not listen to their words and comply with Allah's commands, they were punished. Through His messengers, Allah also warned these rebellious people of a terrible life in this world. Despite this, they continued to oppose their messengers and slander them. Furthermore, they became so violent as in some cases even to murder them. Upon this, Allah gave them the punishment they deserved, and, in time, new communities replaced them. In the Qur'an, the situation of such communities is related as follows:
In coming chapters, we will dwell on the exemplary behaviour of the prophets who struggled against these rebellious communities.
The First Human Being and The First Prophet: Adam
As you will remember, while we were talking about the creation of man, we said that the first man on earth was Adam, peace be upon him. Adam was also the first prophet. That is, Allah also sent a messenger to the very first community He created on earth and taught them their deen (religion) and how to become slaves devoted to Allah.
Allah taught Adam how to speak and all the names. This is related in the Qur'an as follows:
This is surely very important. Among all living things, only man has the faculty of speech. Speaking is a feature peculiar to human beings. Thanks to the fact that Allah initially gave this faculty to Adam, it became possible for man to know the objects around him and to give names to them.
The generations succeeding Adam could also speak, had feelings, felt sorry or excited, wear clothes, used tools and devices and had talent for music and the arts. Musical instruments such as the flute, wall drawings and some other objects that scientists have found with the remains of ancient human beings prove that they were people like us. In other words, contrary to the claims of some people, the first human beings had never been wild creatures, halfape/ half-man.
You know that neither an ape nor any other being can speak, think or act like a human being. Allah gave all these faculties especially to man. (For further information on this subject you can refer to the book, Wonders of Allah's Creation by Harun Yahya).
But some people who are not willing to accept the fact that the first human being was Adam put forward some claims of their own: They fabricated a false identity for the first human being. According to their imaginary scenarios, human beings and apes sprang from the same living thing, that is, they had a common ancestor, and evolved in time into their current states.
If you ask how this unusual happening occurred, they give a single answer: "It happened by chance." When you ask if there is any evidence to prove this claim, they provide none. To conclude, there is not a single remain proving that man evolved from another being. If you ask, "What are these remains from the past?," there is a ready answer: Some living things leave traces behind when they die, and these traces, which we call fossils, remain for millions of years without changing. However, for this to happen, that living thing must suddenly be entrapped in an oxygen-free environment. For instance, if a bird on the ground had been abruptly covered by a heap of sand millions of years ago, the remains of that bird could have survived to our day. Similarly, there are substances secreted from trees called resins. Sometimes, this honey-like substance covers an insect and turns into the hard material called amber, which preserves the dead insect for millions of years. This is the way we gather information about living beings of ancient times. These remains are called "fossils."
Those who suggest that the first human being came into existence from an ape-like creature can never provide any fossils proving this claim. In other words, no one has ever found a fossil belonging to an unusual creature that was half-ape/half-human. But these people have produced false fossils, pictures and drawings to cover up this falsehood, and have even put them into school textbooks. All these frauds were gradually uncovered one by one and made public as scientific frauds. Because such people are unwise and obstinate, it is almost impossible for them to accept Allah's existence and to realise that He creates everything. Although the number of such people is diminishing steadily, there are still some who strive to disseminate their flawed views through periodicals, books and newspapers, and also in schools. To make people believe in their flawed views, they insist on their arguments and assert that they have scientific validity. However, each piece of research done and evidence provided by intelligent scientists prove that the ape did not evolve into man.
Adam, the first man, whom Allah specially created, was in all ways the same as contemporary man; He was in no way different. These are the facts Allah communicates to us in the Qur'an. There is yet another very important issue Allah informs us about Adam: The story of Adam and Satan, the enemy of mankind.
Man's Greatest Enemy: Satan
You may already know about Satan, but do you know that he also knows you very well and resorts to every method to tempt you? Do you know that the actual purpose of Satan, who pretends to be your friend, is to deceive you? Let's start from the very beginning and remind ourselves why Satan is our enemy. For this purpose, we will turn to the story about Adam and Satan in the Qur'an.
In the Qur'an, Satan is the general name given until the Day of Judgment to all beings who have committed themselves to lead man astray. Iblis is the principal evil being who rebelled against Allah when He created Adam.
According to the Qur'anic account, Allah created Adam and then called the angels to prostrate to him. The angels complied with Allah's command, but Iblis refused to prostrate to Adam. He impiously asserted that he was superior to man. Because of his disobedience and insolence, he was banished from Allah's sight. Before leaving Allah's presence, Iblis requested time from Allah to lead people astray. The purpose of Iblis is to tempt people and thus to make them turn away from the right path within the period of time granted to him. He will try anything to make the majority of people subject to himself. Allah proclaims that He will send Satan and his followers to the Fire. These things are related in the Qur'an as follows:
After being banished from Allah's sight, Satan set upon the struggle that would last until the Day of Judgment. Since then, he has cunningly approached people, schemed to lead them astray and used unprecedented methods for this end. As you now understand better, Satan is a foe that can approach man very cunningly. For this reason, you have to be watchful to escape him. Never forget that Satan is lying in ambush right now to scheme against you. He tries to stop you reading this book and thinking over what you read. He is trying to hinder you from doing good deeds, and to get you to become disrespectful and disobedient to your elders, and to hinder you from giving thanks to Allah, praying and always telling the truth.
Never allow Satan to deceive you and to hinder you from becoming a person of good character and listening to the voice of your conscience. You must take refuge in Allah and ask help from Him when an evil thought occurs to you or when you find yourself unwilling to do a good deed, since all these are the cunning tricks of Satan. Never forget that Satan can exercise no authority over those who have faith.
The Prophet Nuh (Noah)
Nuh, peace be upon him, like all the other prophets, summoned his people to the true path. He told them that they must have faith in Allah, that He is the Creator of everything, that they must worship none but Him, otherwise they would be punished. This is related in the Qur'an as follows:
Despite all his warnings, only a few people believed in Nuh. Upon this, Allah commanded Nuh to build a great ship. Allah informed him that the people of faith would be saved in that ship.
Nuh's building a ship despite there being no sea in that area surprised those people who had no faith in Allah, and they therefore ridiculed him. Those who had no faith did not know what would happen to them, but Allah did. When the ship was built, heavy rain poured for days and water rose over the land, flooding everything. This historical disaster has been confirmed by scientists. In the Middle East, much evidence has been uncovered revealing that many of today's mountains were once covered with water.
On television, you have probably seen many floods in different corners of the world. In the face of such a disaster, people generally get up on roofs and wait for help. In such a situation only helicopters or boats can rescue them. In the time of the Prophet Nuh, peace be upon him, however, it was only the Ark that could have saved them. This disaster, which is called "Nuh's flood," was actually a punishment specially created by Allah to punish people who did not believe in Nuh. Because they expected help from other than Allah, none of the insolent people who turned a deaf ear to Allah's warnings embarked on Nuh's Ark. They did not put their trust in Allah, but relied on other beings.
Unless Allah wills it, nothing can protect us. The people at that time who denied this, climbed mountains or moved to higher regions, but stil could not save themselves from drowning. A very few people believed in Allah and put their trust in Him, which led them to embark on the ship with Nuh and save themselves. Complying with Allah's command, they took a pair from each animal species with them. This is related in the Qur'an as follows:
All the prophets who were sent to their individual communities communicated basically the same teaching and summoned their people to worship Allah and to obey the prophets. In return for their services, they asked for no wages since those people sent by Allah to communicate His Words do not do so. They render their services only because they love Allah and fear Him. Meanwhile, they face many difficulties: Their people slander them and subject them to cruel treatment. Furthermore, some peoples plotted to kill the prophets sent to them, and some even dared to do so. Yet because the prophets feared only Allah and no one else, no hardship daunted them. They never forgot that Allah would reward them bountifully both in this world and beyond.
The Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham)
In this section, we will dwell on various attributes of some prophets to whom Allah draws our attention in the Qur'an.
Ibrahim, peace be upon him, was one of these prophets. When he was young and there was no one around him to remind him of Allah's existence, he examined the heavens and that led him to recognise that Allah creates everything. This is related in the Qur'an as follows:
Ibrahim, peace be upon him, told his people not to worship any other god than Allah:
The enemies of Ibrahim attempted to kill him when he called them to have faith in Allah. They lit a big fire and cast him into it. But Allah protected him and saved him from the fire. This is related in the Qur'an as follows:
It is Allah Who creates and controls everything. By Allah's will the fire did not burn Ibrahim. This is a miracle of Allah and a manifestation of His might. Everything on earth occurs by Allah's will. Nothing can happen without His Will and control. If He does not will it, one can neither harm nor kill another person. Allah informs us in the Qur'an:
He did not die although he was cast into the fire, since his time of death as predetermined by Allah had not yet come. Allah saved him from the fire. In one verse, Allah relates to us that Ibrahim was a man of exemplary character:
Allah loves people who are wholeheartedly devoted to Him. As the verse makes clear, not being rebellious, having a good character, and being submissive to Allah's commandments are favourable attributes in the sight of Allah.
The Prophet Musa (Moses)
Musa, peace be upon him, is a prophet to whom Allah frequently refers in the Qur'an. Allah revealed to Musa the Torah. But today, the Torah of the Jews and the Old Testament of the Christian Bible have lost their original authenticity, since the words and interpolations of man have been incorporated into them. But Jews and Christians today read these distorted books assuming them to be from the original book revealed by Allah. The Jews have turned from the right path because the book in which they believe is no longer the revealed book brought by the Prophet Musa, peace be upon him.
We know everything about the life and good character of Musa from the Qur'an. As the Qur'an informs us, the kings of ancient Egypt were called "Pharaoh." The majority of the pharaohs were very arrogant people who did not believe in Allah and who considered themselves divine. Allah sent Musa to one of the cruellest of these rulers.
One important point we need to dwell on while reading the verses about the life of Musa is "destiny." The following events led him to the palace of Pharaoh: At the time Musa was born, Pharaoh ordered his soldiers to kill every male baby born in his land. Musa, peace be upon him, was one of those who were in danger. Allah told his mother to leave Musa in a chest in the river and assured her that He would finally return to her as a prophet. His mother placed Musa in a chest and left him in the water. This chest floated randomly on the water and some time later reached the shore at Pharaoh's palace, where Pharaoh's wife found him. She took the baby and decided to bring him up in the palace. Thus, unaware, the Pharaoh undertook to look after the person who would later communicate Allah's revelation to him and oppose his flawed views. Allah encompasses everything with His knowledge, and He also knew that Pharaoh would find Musa, peace be upon him, and bring him up in his palace.
When Musa was born, Allah knew that he would be left in the river, that Pharaoh would find him and that Musa would ultimately become a prophet. This was how Allah predetermined Musa's destiny and He communicated this to his mother. At this point, we must pay attention to the fact that every detail in his life happened according to the destiny Allah had predetermined.
When he grew into a young man, Musa left Egypt. After some time, Allah made him a prophet and messenger and supported him with his brother, Harun, peace be upon them both.
Both of them went to Pharaoh and communicated Allah's message to him. This was really a difficult task since without any hesitation they called on a cruel ruler to believe in Allah and to worship Him. This call of the Messenger Musa, peace be upon him, is related as follows:
Pharaoh was an arrogant and proud man. Assuming that he held everything under his control, he rebelled against Allah. Allah had granted all his possessions, his strength and his lands to him, but because Pharaoh was unwise, he failed to understand this. Pharaoh opposed Musa and had no faith in Allah, and he was, as mentioned earlier, a very cruel man. He made the Children of Israel his slaves. When it became clear that Pharaoh was intending to exterminate
Musa and all the believers, they fled from Egypt under the leadership of Musa. Musa, peace be upon him, and the Children of Israel were caught between the sea and the soldiers of Pharaoh who were pursuing them. But even in such a desperate situation, Musa never despaired or lost his trust in Allah. Allah miraculously divided the sea in two and opened a path in the sea for the Children of Israel to cross. This was one of the great miracles Allah gave to Musa. Once the Children of Israel had reached the other shore, the parted sea returned, drowning Pharaoh and his soldiers. Allah relates this miraculous event in the Qur'an as follows:
At the moment Pharaoh realised he would die, he stated that he believed in Allah and thus tried to save himself. We do not know whether this regret he felt at the last moment was of any use, since Allah only forgives us when our regret is sincere and when it is before the moment of death itself. Allah is the All-Merciful. If regret is only felt at the moment of death and, of course, if is not sincere, such repentance will not save a person. This may have been the case with Pharaoh. But only Allah knows. As this story reveals, we must live to please Allah throughout our lives and avoid falling into Pharaoh's error. If we fail in that, feeling sorry at the moment of death may be of no avail.
The Prophet Yunus (Jonah)
No matter how desperate and difficult a situation, a person must always trust in Allah and ask Him for help. As we mentioned in the previous section, Musa, peace be upon him, never despaired when he was caught between the armies of Pharaoh and the Red Sea, but he put his trust in Allah. Yunus, peace be upon him, also exemplifies such good character.
Although he was commissioned by Allah to warn them, Yunus, peace be upon him, left his people without warning them. Upon this, Allah put him to the test in several ways: first, he was thrown into the sea from the ship on which he sailed. Then a giant fish swallowed him. This made him feel deep regret for his behaviour; he turned in repentance to Allah, took refuge with Him and prayed to Him. This is related in the Qur'an as follows:
In the Qur'an, Allah relates what would have happened to him if he had not trusted in Allah and prayed to Him:
Allah rescued Yunus from a truly desperate situation. This is an obvious sign that one must never despair of Allah's help. The experiences of Yunus, peace be upon him, are a lesson for all believers: We must never slacken, no matter what hardship we face, and we must always pray to Allah and ask for help from Him.
The Prophet Yusuf (Joseph)
In the Qur'an, we find a detailed account of the experiences of Yusuf, peace be upon him. Here, we will describe them shortly and see the exemplary character of Yusuf.
Yusuf was one of the sons of Ya'qub, peace be upon them both. When he was very young, his brothers threw him into a well because they were jealous of him, and they told their father that a wolf had eaten him.
Travellers in a caravan found him in the well and sold him at the palace of a nobleman in Egypt. There, he was later slandered and sent to prison, where he remained for years.
He was ultimately found innocent and released. Being a very wise and reliable person and because he was completely exonerated, the ruler of Egypt placed the treasuries and storehouses under his authority.
Ultimately, Yusuf forgave his brothers who had exposed him to cruelty and brought them and their father and mother to live with him. Yusuf, peace be upon him, had an exemplary character. Allah put him to the test in various ways, rescued him from a well from which it was impossible to escape, rescued him from an evil situation by sending
him to prison and then rescued him from the prison and restored his good name, finally granting him high rank. In every situation, Yusuf, peace be upon him, turned towards Allah and prayed to Him. Despite his innocence he remained in prison for several years, yet he never forgot that this was a trial from Allah. In prison, he always spoke of Allah's might and grandeur to the people around him. His loyalty and trust in Allah under such harsh conditions shows us his excellent character.
The Prophet Ayyub (Job)
Being steadfast in the face of what happens to one is a very important attribute peculiar to Muslims. Ayyub, peace be upon him, was tried by the loss of his family and his wealth, and a serious harm that caused him great suffering. Ayyub only asked help from Allah and put his trust in Him. Allah answered his prayer and taught him how to overcome this distress. The exemplary character of Ayyub, peace be upon him, and his prayer are related in the Qur'an as follows:
No sooner do some of us encounter disease, hardship or trouble, than we immediately despair. Some people even become rebellious towards Allah. However, these attitudes displease Allah. As the example of Ayyub shows, Allah may send various troubles to His slaves, but such afflictions mature the believer and test his devotion to Allah. In the face of all afflictions we encounter we must pray to Allah and trust Him. We must be patient like Ayyub, peace be upon him, and turn to Allah. Only then, will Allah ease our troubles and reward us both in this world and in the hereafter.
The Prophet 'Isa (Jesus)
Allah created 'Isa, peace be upon him, in a special way. As in the example of Adam, Allah created him without a father. This is related in the Qur'an as follows:
In the Qur'an, 'Isa, peace be upon him, is referred to as the "Son of Maryam." Maryam (Mary) was a noble woman who is shown by Allah to all women as an example. She was a very chaste woman and a devoted believer in Allah. Allah gave her 'Isa through the angel Jibril, miraculously without a father, and the glad tidings that her son would become a prophet.
Allah made 'Isa a prophet and revealed to him the Injil, one of the revealed books Allah sent to mankind. (After the disappearance of 'Isa, the Injil was also altered by people. Today, we do not have the original Injil, and the books the Christians call the Gospels are not really reliable.)
Allah ordered 'Isa to summon people to the true path and granted him many miracles. He spoke when he was in the cradle and told people about Allah. 'Isa also gave the glad tidings of Muhammad (Ahmad), may Allah bless him and grant him peace, the Messenger of Allah to succeed him, which is related in the Qur'an as follows:
And when 'Isa son of Maryam said, "Tribe of Israel, I am the Messenger of Allah to you, confirming the Torah which came before me and giving you the good news of a Messenger after me whose name is Ahmad." When he brought them the Clear Signs, they said, "This is downright magic." (Surat as-Saff: 6) In his time, there were very few people who believed in 'Isa or helped him. The enemies of 'Isa devised plots to kill him. They thought that they had captured and crucified him. But, in the Qur'an, Allah relates to us that they did not kill him:
After the disappearance of 'Isa, peace be upon him, his enemies tried to change the revelation he had brought. They started to portray 'Isa and Maryam as supernatural beings, and even as "gods." Still today, there are those who hold these false beliefs. In the words of 'Isa, Allah informs us in the Qur'an that these are wrong beliefs:
After his disappearance, the number of people who believed in him increased considerably, but today they are on the wrong path because they follow the Bible, which has been altered through additions and deletions.
The only right path remaining today is the path that the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, summoned us to, which is communicated in the Qur'an, because it is the only unaltered revelation of Allah.
The Messenger of Allah: Muhammad
We know a lot more about the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, since he is the last prophet and lived only 1,400 years ago. People altered and distorted all the religions Allah revealed before him. That is why the last Book for which people will be held responsible until the Day of Judgment was sent to our Prophet may Allah bless him and grant him peace: to set right all the errors that had been incorporated in the old religions. Allah communicated what He demands from His slaves through the Qur'an.
Our Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, also encountered many difficulties while communicating the message of Allah to his people. Many groundless accusations were made against him, despite the fact that he asked for no wages from people and had no worldly interests.
He was forced to migrate from Makkah, the city in which he was born. The first Muslims who followed him were also persecuted, some of them were even tortured and subjected to cruel treatment. But Allah did not allow the disbelievers to do harm to the religion of Islam, which has remained unaltered to this day. In compliance with Allah's promise, every word of the Qur'an has survived completely intact.
The call of the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, also addresses all people alive today. Allah commanded all people to obey the messengers and, in many verses, stressed that obeying His messengers is actually obeying Him. For this reason, obeying our Prophet is one of the most important and essential principles of Islam. Heartfelt submission to the commands of our Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is surely a manifestation of one's obedience to Allah.
In the Qur'an, Allah introduces us to the superior attributes of our Prophet, which set an example to all people. Some of these verses are as follows:
With the verses starting with the word, "Say…," Allah commands the Prophet Muhammad how to communicate His message. Through these verses and all the others, our Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, communicated Allah's message to people. His wife, A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her said, "His character was the Qur'an." She meant that he completely embodied the Qur'an, and we know that his Sunnah is the practical manifestation of how to obey the Qur'an. In one verse, Allah states that those slaves who fear Allah and want to be forgiven must obey the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace:
As mentioned in the verse above, if we want Allah to love us, we need to comply with that to which our Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, calls us and meticulously practise it.