The Prophets Taught People God’s Laws
Another purpose for sending the Prophets is to communicate to people the Divine Commandments, like the obligations of performing five daily prayers, fasting during the month of Ramadan, and paying the zakat, and the prohibitions of all kinds of illicit sexual intercourse, drinking alcohol and gambling. But for the Prophets, we could not have known the Divine Commandments. This function of the Prophets is called ‘Messengership‘, concerning which the Qur’an declares,
They deliver the Messages of God and fear Him, and do not fear anyone except God. (al-Ahzab, 33.39)
God said to the Last Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings:
O Messenger, deliver that which has been sent down to you from your Lord; for if you do not, you will have not performed His Messengership. God protects you against people; verily God will not guide the people of unbelief. (al-Ma’ida, 5.67)
The mission of the Messenger was to enlighten all of humanity concerning every dimension of their life. So, any neglect in delivering God’s Message would be an unforgivable fault for it would amount to leaving humanity in darkness. For this reason, God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, was continually in search of unadulterated minds and hearts to which he could impart God’s Message.
God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, might have offered his Message only a few times to those like Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, but he must have offered it to Abu Jahl and the like at least fifty times. Each time he appeared before them, he would say: Proclaim, ‘There is no deity but God’, and be saved! He would visit the places where people gathered and carry the fragrance of the same words, Proclaim, ‘There is no deity but God’, and be saved!
Muhammad’s traveling to Ta’if his supplication on the way to return
Fairs used to be held periodically in places around Makka such as ‘Arafat, Mina, Muzdalifa and ‘Aqaba, and he used to visit all of them every year, preaching the same truth tirelessly.
A time came when reactions, which had begun with indifference and continued with derision and mocking and finally with persecutions, tortures and boycotting, reached an unbearable point and the Makkan polytheists offered no hope for further conversions. God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, took Zayd ibn Haritha with him and went to Ta’if. Unfortunately, there, too, he was faced with violent anger and terror. The children of Ta’if, positioned on either side of the road, threw stones at him. There was not a square inch of space on his body not vulnerable to the stones. However, he finally succeeded in leaving the town and reached a tree under which he took shelter, bleeding profusely. He held up his hands and supplicated:
O God, unto You do I complain of my frailty, lack of resources and lack of significance before those people. O Most Merciful of the merciful, You are the Lord of the oppressed and You are my Lord. To whom do You abandon me? To that alien who looks askance and makes grimaces at me? Or to that enemy to whom You have given mastery over me? If, however, Your indignation is not against me, I have no worry. But Your grace is much greater for me to wish for. I seek refuge in the light of Your Countenance, which illumines all darkness and by which the affairs of this life and the Hereafter have been rightly ordered, lest Your wrath alight upon me, or Your indignation descend upon me. I expect Your forgiveness until You are pleased, and there is no other resource nor any power but in You.
He had just finished his supplication when he saw a tray placed before him. A Christian slave from Nineveh, who had seen God’s Messenger, upon him be peace, being stoned and tormented from the vineyard where he had been working, had put some grapes in a tray and brought it to him. God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, said, In the name of God as he began to eat. This surprised Addas, the Christian slave. It was the first time he heard this phrase during his time among the polytheists.
– ‘Who are you? What has made you come here?’ he asked.
On hearing the answer, I am Muhammad, from Makka, the Last Prophet, he said with tears in his eyes, ‘God has made me find you’. He then embraced Islam.1
The Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, performed his mission incessantly throughout his life. As a result of his tireless efforts, the circle of light broadened day by day, and the party of unbelief became more and more frustrated, just as the unbelievers are in rage today at the Islamic revival currently encompassing the whole world.
They desire to extinguish with their mouths God’s light; and God refuses but to perfect His light, though the unbelievers are averse. (al-Tawba, 9.32)
If God has lit a candle, it is impossible to extinguish it just by blowing.
When Makka proved to no longer be fertile ground for further developments, God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, emigrated to Madina, where he continued calling to Islam. He had to face the antagonism of the Jews and hypocrites and fight many battles during his ten years in Madina.
In the twenty-third year of his mission, he began to feel the time for departure was approaching. He had performed the minor pilgrimage a few times, but he had not been able to carry out the major pilgrimage. In that year he managed to fulfill this sacred duty. He climbed the hill of ‘Arafat on the back of his camel and gave a sermon known as the Farewell Sermon. In this sermon, he emphasized that feuds and transactions involving interest were strictly forbidden; reminded the congregation once more of the rights of women; talked about family ties and mentioned tribal and national relationships. A huge tearful congregation listened to him. While delivering his sermon, he frequently asked them if he had communicated God’s Message. With each positive reply, he held up his blessed index finger towards the sky and said, ‘O God, be the witness!’2 In deep consciousness of Divine service, he might have thought, ‘God sent me to the world to perform the duty of Messengership. Just as these people bore witness to the fulfillment of my duty, I hope I may be regarded as having truly done it.’ He was prepared to meet God in perfect satisfaction.
1. I. Hisham, Sira, 2.60-63; I. Kathir, al-Bidaya, 3.166.
2. Ibn Ma’ja, Manasik, 84; Abu Dawud, Manasik, 56.
This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.