God created everything and throughout time he has sent mankind messages to tell them how to live. It is an Islamic viewpoint that every nation was sent a Messenger for their guidance. All these messengers preached the same message, and Islam in that sense is nothing new. The important matter was the concept of there only being one God. The secondary matter was rules and laws which were designed to regulate and protect humankind. Allah, the most high, alone knows what is good for His creation. As it is mentioned in the Qur'an:
And for every Ummah (a community or a nation), there is a Messenger; when their Messenger comes, the matter will be judged between them with justice, and they will not be wronged. (Qur'an 10:47)
And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): "Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghut (all false deities, etc. i.e., do not worship Taghut besides Allah)." Then of them were some whom Allah guided and of them were some upon whom the straying was justified. So travel through the land and see what was the end of those who denied (the truth). (Qur'an 16:36)
Some of these Messengers are mentioned in the Qur'an by Allah and some of them are not as the Qur'an says:
Prophethood is not unknown to heavenly revealed religions, such as Judaism and Christianity. In Islam, however, it has a special status and significance.
And, indeed We have sent Messengers before you (O Muhammad(P)); of some of them We have related to you their story and of some We have not related to you their story, and it was not given to any Messenger that he should bring a sign except by the Leave of Allah. So, when comes the Commandment of Allah, the matter will be decided with truth, and the followers of falsehood will then be lost. (Qur'an 40:78)
According to Islam, Allah created man for a noble purpose: to worship Him and lead a virtuous life based on His teachings and guidance. How would man know his role and the purpose of his existence unless he received clear and practical instructions of what Allah wants him to do? Here comes the need for prophethood. Thus Allah has chosen from every nation at least one prophet to convey His Message to people.
One might ask, how were the prophets chosen and who were entitled to this great honor?
Prophethood is Allah's blessing and favor that He may bestow on whom He wills. However, from surveying the various messengers throughout history, three features of a prophet may be recognized:
1. He is the best in his community morally and intellectually. This is necessary because a prophet's life serves as a role model for his followers. His personality should attract people to accept his message rather than drive them away by his imperfect character. After receiving the message, he is infallible. That is, he would not commit any sin. He might make some minor mistakes, which are usually corrected by revelation.
2. He is supported by miracles to prove that he is not an imposter. Those miracles are granted by the power and permission of God and are usually in the field in which his people excel and are recognized as superiors. We might illustrate this by quoting the major miracles of the three prophets of the major world religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Moses' contemporaries were excellent in magic, so his major miracle was to defeat the best magicians of
Every prophet states clearly that what he receives is not of his own, but from God for the well-being of mankind. He also confirms what was revealed before him and what may be revealed after him. A prophet does this to show that he is simply conveying the message that is entrusted to him by the One True God of all people in all ages. So the message is one in essence and for the same purpose. Therefore, it should not deviate from what was revealed before him or what might come after him.
Prophets are necessary for conveying God's instructions and guidance to mankind. We have no way of knowing why we were created. What will happen to us after death? Is there any life after death? Are we accountable for our actions? These and so many other questions about God, angels, paradise, hell, and more, cannot be answered without direct revelation from the Creator and Knower of the unseen. Those answers must be authentic and must be brought by individuals whom we trust and respect. That is why messengers are the elite of their societies in terms of moral conduct and intellectual ability.
The prophets are also miraculously supported by God and instructed by Him to affirm the continuity of the message. The content of the prophets' message to mankind can be summarized as follows:
a) Clear concept of God: His attributes, His creation, what should and should not be ascribed to Him.
b) Clear idea about the unseen world, the angels, jinn (spirits),
c) Why God has created us, what He wants from us and what rewards and punishments are for obedience and disobedience.
d) How to run our societies according to His will. That is, clear instructions and laws that, when applied correctly and honestly, will result in a smoothly functioning, harmonious society.
It is clear from the above discussion that there is no substitute for prophets. Even today with the advancement of science, the only authentic source of information about the supernatural world is revelation. Guidance can be obtained neither from science nor from mystic experience. The first is too materialistic and limited; the second is too subjective and frequently misleading.
Now one might ask:
How many prophets has God sent to humanity? We do not know for sure. Some Muslim scholars have suggested 240, 000 prophets. We are only sure of what is clearly mentioned in the Qur'an, that God has sent a messenger to every nation. That is because it is one of God's principles that He will never call a people to account unless He has made clear to them what to do and what not to do. The Qur'an mentions the names of 25 prophets and indicates that there have been others who were not mentioned to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). These 25 include Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (Peace be upon them all). These five are the greatest among God's messengers. They are called ( ) 'the resolute' prophets.
An outstanding aspect of the Islamic belief in prophethood is that Muslims believe in and respect all the messengers of God with no exceptions. All the prophets came from the same One God, for the same purpose: to lead mankind to God. Hence, belief in them all is essential and logical; accepting some and rejecting others has to be based on misconceptions of the prophet's role or on a racial bias. The Muslims are the only people in the world who consider the belief in all the prophets an article of faith. Thus the Jews reject Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them), and the Christians reject Muhammad (PBUH). The Muslims accept them all as messengers of God who brought guidance to mankind. However, the revelations which those prophets before Muhammad (PBUH) brought from God has been tampered with in one way or another.
The belief in all the prophets of God is enjoined upon the Muslims in the Qur'an:
Say (O Muslims): We believe in Allah and that which is revealed to us and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael, and Isaac and Jacob, and their children, and that which Moses and Jesus received and that the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them and unto Him we have surrendered. (2:136)
The Qur'an continues in the following verses to instruct the Muslims that this is the true and impartial belief. If other nations believe in the same, they are following in the right track. If they do not, they must be following their own whims and biases and God will take care of them. Thus we read:
And if they believe in what you believe, then they are rightly guided. But if they turn away, then they are in disunity, and Allah will suffice you against them. He is the Hearer, the Knower. This is God's religion and who is better than God in religion? (2:137-138)
There are, at least, two important points related to prophethood that need to be clarified. These points concern the roles of Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them) as prophets who are usually misunderstood.
The Qur'anic account of Jesus emphatically rejects the concept of his 'divinity' and 'divine sonship' and presents him as one of the great prophets of God. The Qur'an makes it clear that the birth of Jesus without a father does not make him the son of God and mentions, in this respect, Adam, who was created by God without a father or mother.
Truly, the likeness of Jesus, in God's sight, is as Adam's likeness; He created him of dust, them said He unto him "Be", and he was. (3:59)
Like other prophets, Jesus also performed miracles. For example, he raised the dead and cured the blind and lepers, but while showing these miracles, he always made it clear that it was all from God. Actually, the misconceptions about the personality and mission of Jesus (PBUH) found a way among his followers because the Divine message he preached was not recorded during his presence in the world. Rather, it was recorded after a lapse of about one hundred years. According to the Qur'an, he was sent to the children of Isreal; he confirmed the validity of the Torah, which was revealed to Moses (PBUH), and he also brought the glad tidings of a final messenger after him.
And when Jesus son of Mary said, "Children of Israel. I am indeed the messenger to you, confirming the Torah that is before me, and giving good tidings of a Messenger who shall come after me, whose name shall be the praised one. (61:6)
However, the majority of the Jews rejected his ministry. They plotted against his life and in their opinion, crucified him. But the Qur'an refutes this opinion and says that they neither killed him nor crucified him; rather, he was raised up to God. There is a verse in the Qur'an which implies that Jesus will come back and all the Christians and Jews will believe in him before he dies. This is also supported by authentic sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The last prophet of God, Muhammad, was born in
So the need for a final revelation was important, because despite God sending messengers before there message had either been lost, corrupted, or forgotten. So essentially it is important to know that almost all the religions in the world today orginate from the one God, but as time has passed the message has been lost which is why one final message was sent - which was the Quran, to the final messenger Muhammad (pbuh).
Some of these older messages from God which have been corrputed or changed still remain today, and they have many followers. But they are no longer the final authority on Gods word, due to unreliabilty and corruption. The following sections on this sight well shed some light on some of these older messages and religions, and will provide evidence on how they changed and therefore no longer remained the word of God.