Hopefully, the mentioned thought process motivates us to investigate further about how to validate the prophethood of someone who claims to be a prophet. It seems clear that if someone presents a miracle, there must be some connection between this person and the One who controls the natural laws.
Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) – Allah’s Greatest Messenger, the Seal of All Prophets…
Our words surrender helplessly when asked to describe the final prophet sent by Allah. What can we say of the Chief of All Creatures, the Utmost Example for Humanity, and the one whom Allah the Exalted describes beautifully: “And verily, you are on an exalted standard of character”? (Quran 68:4)
These days mark the birthday of the Prophet revered by billions of people across the globe. The Universal Prophet, Prophet Muhammad, was born on the 17th of Rabi al-Awwal, in the year known to the Arabs as “The Year of The Elephant” (570 CE).
While we may hear a lot of stories about the guidance and revelation through the Holy Prophet – his words, actions, the Holy Qur’an – we rarely hear people reason through how exactly we know he was a prophet – let alone follow him – in the first place.
It is the intellectual responsibility of each capable person to reach a certain level of understanding of the most essential roots of religion (Usool-e-Deen). Basic knowledge of Tawheed (Oneness of Allah), Adl (Divine Justice), Nubuwwah (Prophethood), Imamat, and Qiyamat (Judgment) should be gained by every competent individual.
For the sake of giving an example, not to limit the arguments that can be used, here is a brief way of approaching the reasoning:
There must be an Ultimate Uncaused Cause, in order for it to make sense that everything that exists actually does exist! In other words, that which has not always existed must be “brought into” being by some other already existing being. But if a being has always existed independently, such a being is only a cause – the Ultimate Cause.
The Ultimate Cause is limitless because nothing precedes it or binds it as a limit. Therefore, the Ultimate Cause is Absolute and cannot be described as having any limitations.
Tawheed and Divine Justice fall into place when the previous argument is reflected upon. Any description of numbers or injustice would be some forms of limitations, which are impossible for the Ultimate Cause, Allah.
Wisdom, Justice, and Mercy are some attributes of absolute perfection, which lead to the realization of Prophethood. The Wise Allah does not do anything in vain or without purpose. The Just Allah does not create thinking, intellectual beings without providing them with the proper examples and means to achieve their purpose and perfection. For the Perfect Allah takes things to their perfection. The Merciful Allah sends Messengers as a mercy to the world.
Imamate falls into place as a guaranteed system to preserve the message of the Messenger from false interpretation, fabrication and the like after the prophets are long gone.
Finally, as intellectual beings, when we see that not all injustices are accounted for in this world, we know that the Just Allah will set the balance straight some day. To do so, the dead oppressors and oppressed should be resurrected.
The details of each root of the religion can also be deduced similarly. For a more thorough approach, please refer to the relevant literature.
Hopefully, the mentioned thought process motivates us to investigate further about how to validate the prophethood of someone who claims to be a prophet. It seems clear that if someone presents a miracle, there must be some connection between this person and the One who controls the natural laws. But what exactly is a miracle? Is it a relative concept, such that the miracle of one people is the advanced technology of another? Or is it something else?
If you do not know the answer, here’s something to chew on while you do your research. (Do not accept it without question, though!)
A miracle is something which bypasses the normal physical laws by connecting to a set of laws which are beyond the material world.
To be a miracle, it must be performed by someone with a valid claim (not contradicting logical certainties). To be considered a valid proof to people, it should also be witnessed by the experts of the relevant field that such an act is not reproducible through “normal” processes.
In history, we find that such was case for many prophets. Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) challenged the magicians’ magic, and the experts in the related field (the magicians) were the first to witness that Prophet Musa was indeed sent by Allah.
As for the Seal of All Prophets, Muhammad, his everlasting miracle, the Holy Qur’an was and still is a source of bafflement to experts. Just taking the linguistic perspective: the poetic Arabs at the time of the Prophet, who were experts in the Arabic language, had to admit the over-and-beyond nature of the Qur’an when confronted with its depth and eloquence.
Fortunately, Allah has guided us to follow Prophet Muhammad and the Holy Qur’an. In turn, Prophet Muhammad has commanded us to follow the Holy Qur’an and Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them). In every step of the way, if we appropriately utilize our intellect, it should always agree with the Divine revelation.
While the previous discussion may have raised more questions in our minds than answers, God-willingly it will serve as an important booster toward certainty.
We ask Allah to strengthen us to take the occasion of the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s birthday as a motivation to reflect and gain more knowledge.