The Creation of Adam (sws) and His Representative Status
The history of human beings began with the creation of the first man, Adam (sws), on this earth. No one can claim to possess information on where, when and how this ancestor of all mankind who have existed on the planet ever was born; where he spent his life; how long did he live and how many generations did he live to see. Some scholars of anthropology consider the creation of Adam (sws) to be a result of the evolutionary process in the animal kingdom, but they have not been able to produce conclusive scientific evidence to support this claim. It is impossible for any species within the animal species to reach even the minimum level of the skills and attributes possessed by the dullest and least intelligent of human beings with the highest level of training. Researchers in anthropology have so far been unable to present any valid arguments for the unusual qualities, wisdom and capacity for gaining knowledge and the distinctly superior intelligence that human beings posses over animals.
The Religious Interpretation of the creation of Adam (sws)
In contrast to modern scholars and thinkers, all religions that have been revealed through a divine message tell a different story. Its most coherent, comprehensive and beautiful version has been presented in the last divine Book, the Qur’ān. According to this, God created the earth before Adam (sws), put plains and mountains into place, created water bodies, designed a system of rainfall and wind circulation, prepared the soil and developed its capacity to grow fruit and vegetables and made the earth suitable and convenient to meet the requirements of human life.1 Then He expressed His intentions to the angels of giving the responsibility of representing Himself on earth to a new creation which would be created out of the elements of dust. As His representative, it would have some authority which it would be free to exercise. It would take decisions based on its free choice and would have the opportunity to act on these decisions. On hearing this, the angels raised some concerns. If the reason for creating such a being was to praise God and pray to Him, the angels were fully engaged in this process constantly. But if this being was to be given autonomy, and was allowed to decide on its own prerogative, they were concerned that it may misuse its independence and mess up the earth with anarchy, chaos, killings and bloodshed. God told them that their doubts were misplaced and that they were not aware of His great scheme. They did not know yet how He would prepare the new creation for its role on earth. Therefore, when God would give shape and matter to it, and infuse spirit into it, all angels were asked to be respectful and prostrate themselves before it.
It is obvious that asking angels to prostrate themselves before a species that was yet to be created and about whose performance the angels were doubtful did not mean that the species was in any way as sacred as God. The reason was to test the obedience of angels, and to ensure that they accept the representative nature of the new creation so that they would be fully cooperative in letting it use its authority and would not offer any resistance to its purpose on earth.
The order for prostration was meant in principle for angels who are responsible to carry out God’s instructions, but it was also valid for all creations which had the ability to create problems for God’s scheme. The earth was already inhabited by the jinn who have been created from fire. Since they could have viewed man competitively, they were also included in this order.
When Adam (sws) was made to exist, and the Holy Spirit was infused into him, all angels prostrated in front of him in obedience to God, but Iblīs (Satan), one of the jinn, refrained from doing so. He claimed that the matter he had been created from was superior to that of Adam’s. He had been created from fire, whereas Adam (sws) was created from dust. He was clearly superior to Adam (sws) so why should he bow to him? This attitude was based on arrogance and pride, and God dislikes this quality more than any other, because only He is the Superior One. Therefore, Satan was banished from being close to God on account of his refusal to obey His instructions and displaying arrogance.
With the creation of Adam (sws), the spirits of all human beings who were to be born later were also created. God presented the purpose of their creation to them and took an oath from them, accepting Him as their one and only Creator and Lord. All accepted this fact and were witness to it. This was their agreement to what they would do in the situation that would arise when they would be given material existence and sent to earth. They would then fulfil their obligations as the representative of God on earth with full responsibility, accepting God as their Lord and Master. On this occasion, Adam (sws) was instructed to introduce all those exalted personalities who were going to fulfil their responsibilities in the world in an excellent manner to the angels. When Adam (sws) did so, the angels cried out: “Our Lord, we are conscious of our error. We objected to the creation of Adam (sws) and did not know that within this creation there would be men who would be obedient to You despite being independent, and would dominate over us in expression of submission and obedience to You.”
Satan given Allowance
Adam (sws) was the source of humiliation and deprivation for Satan. He was also going to be God’s representative on earth, and many great individuals were to be born as his progeny. Satan decided to take revenge from Adam (sws) and presented a request to God. He suggested that since he had been subjected to a hard test and had been banished from God’s presence on failing it on account of Adam (sws), he should be freely allowed to tempt Adam (sws) and his coming generations away from the true path. He was convinced that if he was allowed to do so unhindered, he would be able to lead Adam’s progeny astray in such a manner that they would forget their responsibilities and become rebellious and disobedient. God accepted this request and provided him the opportunity to corrupt mankind by false promises, creating fear and paranoia, greed, evil temptations and unrealistic dreams for future, but not by using force. Satan promised that now that his petition had been accepted, he would employ all the skills and powers he possessed to put Adam (sws) and his children on the wrong path, he would attack them from all sides; whatever guidance God gives them, he would put a siege there such that they would not be able to adopt it; not only would they not obey God, they would also not accept His Oneness. Satan would involve them in polytheism in such a manner that they would deify lowly animals rather than God, and give offerings from their wealth and offspring to others they would consider as gods. God’s answer was to warn that Satan could try his best and would be punished in Hell, along with all those who succumbed to his temptations, but his ploys would have no effect on those who recognized their responsibilities and who did not leave the path of obedience. It would not matter to God if human beings in large numbers go to Hell, because ultimately those who did good deeds and obeyed Him would enter His promised heaven.
The Test of Adam’s Obedience
God created Adam’s wife Eve for companionship and asked them to live in heaven. They were happy there as everything they could wish for was available for them to use. No barriers had been put on them, except for the eating of the fruit of one tree. They were told that they are free to move around and to take benefit of everything that existed, but they should not even go close to a particular tree, otherwise they would be harmed. Consumed by enmity, Satan was looking for a way through which he could humiliate Adam (sws) and Eve in God’s eyes. He had already declared to God his intentions, and decided to start with them, since he wanted them to disobey God. He decided to use God’s instruction of not eating this particular fruit and started talking to Adam (sws) and Eve about its perceived advantages. They were told that whoever ate the fruit would be raised in status, and become an angel. Additionally, he would also achieve eternal life. These statements were vastly attractive to the couple and they started thinking about their desire to be elevated to the status of angels, but the fear of disobeying God would become a constraint each time they thought about it and they desisted. Satan was not at all dejected by their mental confusion, but continued his attempts to convince them through different ways and means. When he was unsuccessful, he told them that he was their well wisher and that he was giving this advice in this capacity. Ultimately, his efforts came to fruition, and Adam (sws) and Eve gave in to his constant temptation to becoming angels and living in eternity. They ate the fruit, although late, but Satan was successful and Adam (sws) and Eve failed in their first test.
The immediate result of disobeying God was that both human beings were disrobed and had to cover themselves by leaves from the trees. Now they realized that Satan had tricked them to disobey God and had deprived them of their abode in Paradise. They were deeply ashamed and did not know how to redeem themselves. As they turned to God with shame in their hearts, He put these words in their mouths: “Our Lord, by disobeying You, we have been cruel to ourselves. If You do not forgive us and have pity on us, we will be at a great loss.” God appreciates the recognition of having committed a mistake and tears of shame by human beings, and when man asks for forgiveness immediately after committing a sin, He forgives him. Adam (sws) and Eve’s prayer was accepted and they were forgiven, but they were sent to live on the earth.
In view of Adam’s weakness and lack of will and determination, and the extreme cunning of Satan, God promised Adam (sws) that he would send His guidance for his future generations from time to time. Each individual would spend his life in light of this guidance so that he could fulfill his responsibilities as a representative of God. Each individual would also have a predetermined lifespan during which God would put him to a trial to see how he performed and met his responsibilities. During this period, he would fight Satanic forces and would prove his right to enter heaven through his deeds, thus becoming successful in this test, with the grace of God and receiving His bounty forever. But if he was not able to fend off Satan who overcame him and tempted him to disobey God, then he would be deprived of God’s blessings and would have to bear His assigned punishment. Thus with the settling of Adam (sws) and Eve on earth, the scheme for which Adam (sws) was created was put into practice and he began to implement his responsibilities as the representative of God. 2
The Reason for Adam’s Stay in Paradise
Here a question arises about the raison d’être of keeping Adam (sws) and Eve in heaven if God’s scheme of His representation on earth began with His instruction for Adam (sws) to live on earth. On reflection, one realizes that the purpose in retaining Adam (sws) in heaven for some time was to make him cognizant of certain realities. He was to go through an experience to understand the nature of his responsibilities as God’s representative, the effects of giving Satan the approval to tempt mankind and the extent of his enmity with human beings and its consequences. This was a sort of training programme for Adam (sws) and it clarified many points for him.
1. First, that as the ruler, he would be given some instructions and some things would be forbidden for him. In obedience to his Lord, he would be required to obey these strictly. He will not go near what has been forbidden and will make all efforts to do what the Lord wills.
2. Second, Satan has obtained the allowance on the basis of his enmity, bad will and desire to hurt mankind. His relationship with human beings will not be based on any sort of friendship or cooperation. Although he will temporarily assume a cloak of sympathy and being a well wisher, and even advise and be full of kindness, but this would hide a deeply cunning enemy. It would be Adam’s and his progeny’s responsibility to recognize and find ways of escaping from this enemy.
3. Third, in all times, Satan and his stooges will busy to deploy all possible tactics such as greed, temptations, doubts, false promises, propaganda and unjustified fears to prevent Adam’s children from acting on God given guidance. There will not be one single manner of their attack on mankind, but they will do so in many ways. Therefore, Adam’s progeny must remain cautious and on their guard always.
4. Fourth, if at any time, Adam’s children do become caught in Satan’s nefarious web, and disobey God in their ignorance or innocence, they must immediately seek refuge in forgiveness from God. Insisting on their mistakes is a Satanic characteristic and they must desist from this at all cost.
5. Fifth, to win the true legacy of Paradise, it will be essential for every individual to fight Satan in his life and to defeat him. If Satan wins, the individual would have failed in fulfilling his responsibilities and would have to bear the consequences of failure.
The Requirements of the Status of Representation
It is absolutely clear that man can only fulfill his obligations as the representative of God on this earth if he knows what God’s wishes are, what He wants him to do, and what He dislikes and wants him to refrain from doing, and how to obtain His approval. It was a basic requirement of the status of representation that God should make preparations to guide man in this knowledge, and in case this knowledge begins to disappear from his mind, to arrange for him to remember it again and again. God made it so as to bestow on man the capacity for natural knowledge and intuition that becomes the criterion for him to distinguish between truth and falsehood, right and wrong, good and evil. This is why every human being can listen to the voice of his conscience and, guided by it, and choosing the right path he can lead his life thus avoiding evil deeds. Due to this intuitive knowledge, he can do good deeds and achieve internal satisfaction and peace. But if he selects a wrong path, he is likely to feel ashamed and try as far as possible to hide his acts. God has provided a wealth of arguments and evidence in support of this natural intuition both outside and inside mankind, and enabled him to make use of such arguments through his senses of sight, hearing, observation and reflection, and the capacity to analyze and learn from various events and experiences. If man uses these abilities to optimal capacity, they prove to be most valuable in guiding him. However, they are useful up to a limit. Then God provided man with wisdom that is yet another source of knowledge and has been very beneficial in analysis and reflective processes. Wisdom is able to develop basic rules and principles in case of partially observed matters, and provides guidance in the light of such principles. However, the reach of wisdom is also limited since matters are not fully understood or grasped through it. In addition, the decisions that are taken through it are often clouded by emotions and doubts. At times these decisions are wrong. Due to these reasons, God decided not to leave man only to be guided through intuition and wisdom, but used a third means to communicate His guidance to him. He used the means of wahī , or divine inspiration which is free from the weaknesses that are inherent from those found in intuition and wisdom.
When man is on the absolute right path, the three sources of guidance: intuition, wisdom and inspiration are in complete harmony and synchronization with each other. This multiple aspect of guidance for mankind is the special arrangement that God had referred to when He had said to the angels that when his subjects would want to act according to His wishes, there would be no barriers for them and they would be able to protect themselves from the ploys of Satan. Those who ignore this guidance would be overcome by Satan.
After providing sources of knowledge to mankind and declaring life on this earth a trial for him, it is not a hidden fact that he shall be questioned on his responsibilities. Just as the result of every examination must come sometime, when an individual’s strengths and weaknesses are made clear, and in light of his cumulative performance, his success or failure is declared, it is only right that God must bring forth a day when each person be made accountable for his obedience or disobedience, faith or faithlessness, honesty or dishonesty. Thus, the status of representation also necessitated that those who fulfilled their obligations in life properly, and obeyed the instructions that have been revealed through the divine inspiration, shall be given entry into heaven in the afterlife with respect and dignity, and they shall live there in eternal peace and happiness with every blessing from God. In contrast, those who had not paid attention to such responsibilities and refused to obey God’s instructions shall be questioned and shall be thrown in Hell for eternal punishment.
It is clear from the above detail that the life of human beings in this world is really a life of trial and a fight between right and wrong. In this, divine guidance carries major significance. Adam’s progeny has the responsibility to accept this guidance, live life accordingly, and meet its requirements. Satanic forces will try their utmost to keep Adam’s progeny ignorant of this guidance. They will propagate against it, change or destroy it, set up constraints and make life difficult for those why try to implement it, and if anyone comes forward to claim its righteousness, they will make attempts to prove him false and defeat him as far as possible.
The System of Prophethood and Apostleship
As discussed, the third element of God given sources of guidance for mankind, as provided in the knowledge gained through wahī or divine inspiration is a very special and faultless system. The factual meaning of wahī is to put words into the heart, and to give a message through signs. But God has not given every individual in Adam’s subsequent generations such direct form of guidance. The real barrier for mankind in communicating with God is the former’s frailties, failings and shortcomings. God’s light and luminosity is such that man does not possess the capacity of coming face to face with Him. The history of Jews relates that a clan among the Children of Israel (descendants of Prophet Jacob) expressed the desire to have God speak with them directly. At this, God’s radiance was revealed, the mountain trembled and the group of people assembled there fainted.
Among all of God’s species, only the angels have been gifted with the quality of taking instructions directly from God and implementing these. In case they need additional guidance, they present their matters to God and receive new directives. Because they are creations as any other, it is possible for them to relate with other creations too. Since mankind possesses the Holy Spirit infused into him by God, as well as being made of earthly matter, it is possible for him to establish spiritual links with angels. God has therefore used angels as the instrument to communicate His guidance, and at the same time selected a few human beings who were spiritually strong, responsive to calls from their pious nature and able to use their wisdom to distinguish between right and wrong for communion with angels. These were the people who had the ability to meet the obligations of their representative status merely through their intuition, and were prominent by virtue of holding respect, dignity, authority and higher status among all other members of their society for their refined character, truthfulness and honesty, purity and piety, kind-heartedness and generosity.
Whenever God wanted to send His message to mankind, He would give it to an angel to be transmitted to one of the selected human beings among the spiritually strong, as explained above. This would be done through a spiritual transmittal or link, and the selected person, taking this as his responsibility and obligation in life would pass on the message to his fellow beings. Those who were selected for this responsibility were called God’s apostles. They spent their lives in communicating God’s teachings to the people of their times in their respective ages.
The Various Forms of Wahī
What is the form of wahī? No one has been able to understand this to date. This is a matter that belongs to God alone. Only He who reveals it knows of it, or the apostle on whom it was revealed and who had experienced may have understood it. The form of wahī has varied from time to time. Different forms have been used, depending on the nature and significance of the guidance to be sent. The least significant form was that of dreams shown to the apostle that would inform him of God’s instructions. Such dreams were as clear as the light of dawn and left an indelible impact on the apostle’s heart. Another form is to show the apostle the realities around the invisible world as well as prescience through visions of future events. Sometimes apostles were given instructions while they were awake and they heard voices of angels. The purest form of wahī was for God to send His message to the heart of His messenger who then preserved and kept it safe. This message was in the language and style that the messenger and his addressees were familiar with. In one form of wahī, God sent one of his angels to the apostle who placed the message in the latter’s heart. The other form was one in which God addressed the apostle directly from across a barrier. The apostle could hear God and His message, but could not see Him. In yet another form, an angel came to the apostle as a human being, and either questioned him, or showed him some actions that the apostle demonstrated to and taught his people. The uses of these forms of wahī have been discussed in historical records of the lives of various apostles.3
Apostles have gained understanding of God’s religions through wahī; the message of God was revealed to their hearts that they learned themselves, taught their companions and preached to their people. The eternal enemy of divine guidance, Satan and his descendants put obstacles in the efforts of the apostles, and thus the conflict between truth and falsehood began. During their struggle in this fight, apostles found guidance through the divine inspiration. They planned their endeavours in the light of directions received through wahī; sometimes getting a prediction and sometimes a warning of impeding dangers. If they were about to make a mistake, God alerted them in time of their error, and they were able to correct themselves.
The Basic Teachings of Wahī
The basic teachings that wahī had brought forward and that were spread by God’s apostles amongst their people embodied the clarification and articulation of the innate concepts and perceptions that have been entrusted within the spirit of mankind. Human nature is cognizant of the oneness of God, the need of accountability to Him and possesses the ability to differentiate between right and wrong, good and bad. Wahī brought words to this awareness and feeling, and gave it detail so that man should not remain in any doubt or misconception. Apart from this, wahī also provided testimony and evidence so that any sensible person might be able to reflect, analyse and be satisfied in mind and heart. Wahī not only defined the oneness of God, but also elucidated the attributes of God, spelling out the demands that these placed on mankind. It removed confusions about the Day of Judgment, and painted a picture of what was to happen on that Day. It related the ups and downs that man goes through in this worldly life in their true perspective so that any deviant thought may not take him to a wrong path. Wahī did not leave the decision to distinguish between good and evil on man’s choice, but identified what was allowed and what was not, and gave laws to be followed accordingly. It explained the demands of representing God on His earth before mankind quite clearly, and required him to establish religion on earth. This essentially means that he was being asked to become a true believer in the matters mentioned in God’s religion, act on those he was instructed to with honesty and truthfulness, watch over others so that they do not deviate from the right path and do not change the teachings by making new additions.
Since the creation of Adam (sws) to date, neither the facts related to the oneness of God or His attributes, the inevitability of the Day of Judgment, distinction between right and wrong or what is allowed or not allowed have changed, nor has there been any shift in basic human nature. Hence the teachings that came through wahī were as valid for the Stone Age man as they are for today’s computer age. We also realize that all apostles brought the same religion from God in their respective ages. They neither preached different religions nor did they lay the foundations of different nations. What actually transpired was that after the departure of one apostle, his followers distorted the religion, changed the teachings of the wahī and then God sent other apostles to correct the wrongdoings. Some people believed them but others resisted due to their prejudice and short-sightedness. They insisted on their earlier point of view and this created differences between various communities.
The Appointment of Prophets
In His kindness and graciousness, God made a special provision for the teachings of wahī that He would always send the wahī in the language of the people towards whom the guidance was to be sent, and the apostle too would from among the same community. We observe that the language and living styles of people belonging to one region vary from those of people living in other areas. Foreigners are unable to understand the behavior of societies living in a particular area, and they are also not aware of their rituals and traditions. But an individual who belongs to the same nation, talks in the same language and lives amongst them is aware of their character and has full knowledge of their customs and practices, and what they consider to be good or bad. Hence just as the language chosen for wahī was the language of the people for whom it was revealed, similarly the apostles selected were from within the nation who were to be corrected and brought back to the straight path.
Human history has been witness to the fact that some nations have left the instructions given by God, and taken up the path of anarchy and chaos. The reason for this was the right of making choices that God has given to man as His representative. To correct their behaviour, God sent His apostles who fulfilled their mandate with sincerity, calling them to return to truth, and warning them of the dire consequences of the advice they were being given by their misguided leaders, and of the way they were heading if they did not change direction. These apostles tried to explain to their people that God does not like the rebellious ways of His subjects. He will not tolerate human beings stomping on the surface of the earth in total negation of the purpose of their creation. In defiance of this repeated advice, the rebellious elements of the societies continued to regard the apostles as major constraints to their benefits. Not only did they ignore their teachings, they also dared to belie them. Some unfortunate nations were unwilling even to accept the existence of apostles amongst them. History is replete with accounts of apostles and reformers who had been murdered by their own people. In such situations some apostles with exceptional qualities were given unique authority by God and sent to these nations. These individuals communicated God’s message both politely as well as openly and vehemently. They used all possible means to get through to shake the consciousness of people who had become so insensitive. With the sending of these apostles, God made it clear that obeying them was essential. They would clarify each and every point to their people, remove doubts that anyone may have and adopt all possible measures to ensure that the invitation to truth is believed sincerely from the heart. The community will be given a certain period of time to correct itself, and this shall neither be extended nor reduced. If the people reject the invitation of the apostles and become a source of danger for him, God will destroy them, but nothing shall happen to the apostle. It is ordained that he shall prevail over his community. Such apostles came to be called prophets.4 Whenever a nation belied its prophet, and the time given to it for its course correction ended, that nation was obliterated, but its prophet and those who had believed in him were kept safe and sound. At times when the prophet’s followers were in large numbers, they were victorious with Divine Help and they prevailed over the enemy by the power of the sword.
The Struggle of Selected Apostles and Prophets
Human settlement on earth began with the family comprising the couple Adam (sws) and Eve initially. Men and women born of them had limited needs and resources were assigned to them. Adam (sws) was designated as God’s apostle for this first civilization and he transmitted the knowledge of God’s directives to his children. As the population increased, people expanded into other areas, and families grew into tribes and clans. With the growth of the society, there was need to guide human beings in matters relating to mutual relationships, in the light of which they could address their problems and resolve their issues with justice and fairness. Thus the apostles who came after Adam (sws) possessed much more enlightenment that they had received through wahī for their societies, and the scope of their practice was also wider.
The oldest nation that was annihilated from the earth as punishment for the crime of belying their prophet was one to whom Noah was sent. This community made several idols and began to worship these as partners of God, instead of one God. When Noah (sws) was sent to guide them to the correct path, , he invited them to worship one God, presented his views in a very convincing manner and made all possible efforts to bring them towards truth. He spoke to them in secret as well as in the open, and warned them of God’s punishment if they continued to disbelieve him, but except for a few, others did not accept his word. After a long struggle, when he expressed his helplessness to his Creator, he was instructed to build a boat in which he was to carry only the believers who would be saved from the divine punishment of stormy rains, whereas those who had belied him would be drowned in the floods caused by the rains. This is exactly what happened. The terrible floods sunk all the disbelievers, and the followers of the prophet started a new life when the water receded.
After the destruction of the nation of Noah (sws), Hūd (sws) was sent as prophet to his nation called ‘A%d that had become extremely arrogant and rebellious against God’s teachings. He reminded his people of the instructions that God had given and spent all his efforts in trying to help them avoid the evils they had fallen into, but they ridiculed and threatened him. They tortured those who had become his followers and made life unbearable for them. This nation did not even take advantage of the time that God had allocated to them to correct their ways, but demanded that Hūd (sws) bring God’s punishment sooner rather than later, thinking that it was never going to come. God ordered His prophet and his followers to migrate and sent sharp, cold and cutting winds that eliminated the entire ‘A%d nation. Among the successors of Hūd (sws) was the nation of Thamūd that followed its footsteps, belied the prophet Sālih and was doomed to a similar fate.
A most august and illustrious prophet of God, Abraham (sws) was born within a nation that lived in Babylon which is now Iraq and was deeply immersed in polytheism. After being blessed with prophet hood, he presented God’s message to his father, his nation, the priests of the idol houses and even the king. He argued for one God and gave such statements against their beliefs that they had no counter arguments. But they belied him. To bring his arguments to the finale, he smashed all the idols to prove to their worshippers that these deities were neither possessed of any strength nor could they defend themselves. But instead of being convinced of the truth of this evidence, his people conspired to burn him alive. At this, God kept him safe from the fire, but destroyed the disobedient people completely.
Another prophet of great resolve and determination from within Abraham’s progeny was Moses (sws) who was sent to Egypt’s king Pharaoh. Pharaoh was mighty and powerful, and considered himself the incarnation of God. His statues were worshipped throughout the country and he was practically taken to be God. Moses (sws) tried to bring him to the right path but did not succeed. Through his propaganda, however, Pharaoh was able to influence his nation which was caught in his net of deception and falsehood. At last, Moses (sws) gathered his followers most of whom comprised the Israelites and migrated from Egypt. Pharaoh and his army followed them. On the way they came across a strip of sea. When Moses (sws) reached the place, the water receded, and a path was revealed for them to cross over to the other side. When the Pharaoh and his army entered the sea to do similarly, the two sides met together and they drowned. Moses (sws) received God’s instructions in the form of written guidance for the first time in the history of mankind. Wahī was sent to him in the form of the first Holy Book, the Torah and remained the source of guidance centuries to come.
As time passed, Moses’ followers also began to put aside God’s teachings aside, and God sent apostle after apostle to help people to mend their ways, but their deterioration did not improve. Ultimately Jesus (sws) was given the status of a prophet and sent to them to warn them of the consequences of not believing in him. In spite of this, the Israelites refused to accept him, and God sent His curse on them. However, the teachings of Jesus (sws) proved to be a shining light for other nations and his followers ruled over a large region and were successful in spreading their religion.
It will not be correct to state that all the names of apostles and prophets have been recorded in the holy books or in history. These individuals were, in fact, connected with humankind. Man has needed guidance wherever he settled and God made arrangements when necessary according to His promise. Apostles were appointed in every region and community, and when those causing evil increased and did not obey their apostles, prophets were given the responsibility. When nations belied them too, they were annihilated completely from the face of the earth. Their ruins are still to be found among ancient settlements of several countries. Upon excavation, it is observed that these habitations had been subjected to sudden disasters such that the dwellers did not even get a chance to leave their houses. It is quite possible that in distant times, the people who had lived then may have been guilty of disbelief of God’s prophets and thus were overcome by God’s retribution.
The Consequence of Belying Prophets is based on Justice
The end to which nations who belied prophets come to apparently seems to be very painful. One could also think that such extreme actions against His subjects may not be aligned with God’s mercy and dignity. If some facts are kept in mind when reflecting on the matter, then it does not appear to be against the principles of justice. For example, it is a fact that man is not a wild plant which does not have a purpose in life. Instead, he has been created with great care, the workers who carry out instructions of destiny and death were ordered to prostate before him, he was given extraordinary abilities and most other creations were brought within his control and authority so that he would be able to execute his responsibilities as the representative of God effectively. Then God did not leave him to grope in the dark but created the light of awareness and perception in his heart and mind, made his surroundings a source of learning for him, gave him the guidance from wahī to keep him on the right track, sent apostles and prophets from time to time to ensure that he was kept aware of the realities, and with them He sent Divine Books. Even if after such exceptional arrangements, people filled the world with badness and chaos, made fun of divine guidance, did what came to their mind and negated the instructions of the apostles, if anyone attempted to stop them, they did not hesitate to kill them, then the offences committed by these people were not minor. Such people were guilty of publicly going against the purpose of the creation of human beings, and becoming a barrier in letting God fulfil His promise of providing guidance to mankind. This proved to be an effort to make God’s scheme a failure. Hence the purpose of destroying these nations was to ensure that such people did not continue to remain a trial for those who are sincere and truthful to God, who were not rebels and who were desirous of living this worldly life in accordance with His directives and guidance.
(Translated from Hayāt-i Rasūl-i Ummī by Nikhat Sattar)
1. See: 41:9-12.
2. It will be useful to refer to the following verses of the Qur’ān: 2:30-39, 15:26-48, 7:11-27 and 17:61-65.
3. See: 42:42-511, 2:97, Sūrah Anfāl, 44:43-44. Also the famous Gabriel Hadīth which is related in the Book of Hadīth.
4. See: 58:20-21.
With thanks to Monthly Renaissance
Written/Published: Feb 2014
Translated by Nikhat Sattar