(3) RISALAT: THE APOSTLESHIP
God alone and none else could ~ granted His creatures knowledge and guidance. With the creation of man began the divinely commissioned apostleship (Risalat) for the guidance of mankind. Every person on earth had a warner and guide, an apostle from God in his own language.
And for every people (was sent) an apostle; and when their apostle came, the matter between them was decided with equity and there shall not (in the least) be done (any) injustice. (10:47)
And indeed raised We in every nation an apostle (of Ours), (preaching) that "Worship ye God (only) and shun ye (the worship) of idols" so of them there were some whom God guided, and of them were others on whom error was confirmed. (16:36) Verily We sent thee with truth, as a bearer of glad tidings and a warner; and there is not a people but a warner hath gone among them. (35:24)
And we sent not any apostle but with the language of the people that he might clearly explain (Our commandments) unto them; then God leaveth to stray whom He willeth and guideth whom He willeth, and He is the Mighty, the Wise. (14:4)
A guide from God should necessarily be infallible, is. sinless by nature, and all the apostles of God were naturally so. otherwise the one who is himself fallible cannot reasonably preach sinlessness to others. The demand of Islam regarding the apostles of God is found in the following verse of the Holy Qur'an:
Say ye (O Muslims!), "We believe in God and that which hath been sent down unto us and that which was sent down unto Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and which was given to Moses and Jesus, and that which was given unto the apostles from their Lord. No difference do we make between any of them and to Him (alone) have we submitted (ourselves)."
The above verse is clear in its declaration that a Muslim has to believe in God and the Holy Qur'an and all the heavenly Scriptures revealed to the ancient prophets who preceded the Prophet Muhammad, and there should be no distinction made about their personal purity and truthfulness, and a Muslim is be who has submitted himself to God.
Though the names of all those apostles of God are not given in the Holy Qur'an, the number of them is reported to be a lakh and twenty4our thousand, and this number may mean the innumerable numbers of guides given to humanity since its advent on earth.
And verily sent We apostles before thee, of them there are those whom We have mentioned unto thee; and of them are those whom We have mentioned not unto thee; and it was not given to any apostle to bring a sign (miracle) save with the leave of God, but when came the 97
behest of God, (it) was executed with truth, and those who stood on falsehood were then the losers. (40:78)
The first of them was Adam and the Last the Holy Prophet Muhammad, with whom concluded the apostleship and after whom neither any other apostle came nor would ever come until the end of the world. A Muslim has to believe in the finality of the apostleship of Muhammad, the last Apostle of God.
Belief in the Prophets preceding the Holy Prophet Muhammad:
This is another proof of Islam's being the universal religion of man that, unlike any other religious order of the world, Islam demands faith in the infallibility and the truthfulness of all the prophets preceding the Holy Prophet Muhammad, that they were truly Messengers of God sent for the guidance of the human race throughout the world.
A Muslim has to believe in a lakh and twenty-four thousand prophets, of whom only a very few have been mentioned in the Holy Qur'an. The following are a few of the verses concerning the divinely sent Messengers of God:
This Our argument We gave to Abraham against his people; We exalt (any one) whom We please; Verily thy Lord is All- Wise, All-Knowing.
And Zachariah and John and Jesus and Elias; every one was of the righteous (ones).
And Ishmael and Elisha and Jonah and Lot; and every one We did exalt (with Our apostleship) over the worlds.
These are they to whom gave We the Book and the authority of apostleship; so if these (people) disbelieve it, indeed have We (already) entrusted it unto a people who are not disbelievers. (6:84-90)
And indeed We did send apostles before thee and gave We unto them wives and offspring! And it is not for an apostle to bring or show a sign (miracle) but by God's permission; for every term there is a book prescribed (13:38)
And indeed We did send apostles before thee among the people of yore. (15:10) Indeed sent We Our apostles with clear proofs, and sent We down with them the Book and the Scale that people may establish themselves in justice; and sent We down from wherein is latent (in its use) mighty power and also benefits for mankind and that God may prove who helpeth Him and His apostles in secret; Verily God is All-strong and Ever-Present. (75:25)
The advent of Muhammad1 the Last Apostie1 prophesied:
In the Old Testament:
The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee of thy brethren, like unto me, unto him shall ye hearken. (Dent. 18:25)
I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren and will put My words into his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
And it shall come to pass that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which he shall speak in My name I shall require it of him. (Deut. 18:18,19)
In the New Testament: The Holy Prophet Jesus had also prophesied the advent of this Promised Guide:
And I will pray the Father, and he' will give you another Comforter that he may abide with you for ever. (John 14:16)
Nevertheless I tell you the truth, it is expedient for you that I go away, for if l go not away the Comforter will not come unto you, and if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come he will reprove the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment (John 16:7,8)
But the Comforter which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name he shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance whatever I have said unto you. (John 15:25) I have yet many things to say unto you, but he cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when the Spirit of Truth is come, he will guide you into all truth, for he shall not speak of himself whatsoever he shall hear that shall he speak and he will show you things to come. (John 16:12- 13)
The above verses clearly identify the Holy Prophet Muhammad as the one promised by God, and the Holy Qur'an as the Word of God put into his mouth, and state that he will speak only that which is revealed to him by God.
He (Our Apostle Muhammad) speaketh not by himself but only that which hath been conveyed to him by revelation. (53:3)
The quoted verses of the Christian Scriptures clearly show that the Holy Prophet Muhammad is the "Comforter", "The Holy Ghost", and "The Spirit of Truth" foretold by the Holy Prophet Jesus, and "The Prophet" prophesied by Moses.
The Christian Scriptures further declare that the coming of the Promised Prophet, the Holy Prophet Muhammad, had been continuously prophesied by all the ancient prophets:
Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken have likewise foretold these days (Acts 3:22)
The Apostleship of the Holy, Prophet Muhammad:
The following are a few of the verses of the Holy Qur'an referring to the position of the Holy Prophet Muhammad as the Apostle of God:
And Muhammad is not but an Apostle; (other) apostles have already passed away prior to him; Therefore if he dieth or be slain, will ye turn upon your heels? And he who turneth upon his heels will by no means do harm to God in the least, and shortly will God reward the grateful ones. (3:143)
Whatever good befalleth thee (O man) it is from God and whatever evil befalleth thee, it is from thyself We have sent thee (O Our Apostle Muhammad) unto mankind as (Our) Apostle; and God is sufficient witness (thereof)
Whoso obeyeth the Apostle, he indeed obeyeth God; and whoever turneth away, We have not sent thee upon them to watch. (4:79-80)
O mankind! Verily the Apostle Muhammad hath come unto you with truth from your Lord; Believe (in him), it is good for you. (4:170)
Indeed hath come unto you an Apostle from among yourselves; grievous to him is your falling into distress, (he is) solicitous regarding your welfare, towards the faithful (he is) compassionate, (and) merciful (9:128)
And We sent thee not (O Our Apostle Muhammad) but a Mercy unto (all) the worlds. (21:107)
And We sent thee not (O Our Apostle Muhammad) but a Bearer of glad tidings and a Warner (25:56)
Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but an Apostle of God and the seal of the prophets; and God is Of all things ever the Knower. (33:40)
O (Our) Prophet (Muhammad), Verily We have sent thee as a Witness, and as a Bearer of Glad Tidings and as a Warner. And as the Inviter unto God by His command, and an illuminating torch. And give you the glad tidings unto the believers that there shall be for them from God a great grace. (33:45, 46,47)
And (O Our Apostle Muhammad), We sent thee not but unto the whole of mankind, a Bearer of glad tidings and a Warner, but most of the people know (it) not (34:28)
There are many other verses of the Holy Qur'an referring to the Holy Prophet Muhammad and his unique position as the Last Prophet of God. Muhammad the Last Apostle of God:
The Holy Qur`an, the final Word of God, declares in clear terms that the Holy Prophet Muhammad is the last of the apostles of God, meaning that no other Prophet, apostle or messenger will ever come after him:
Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but an Apostle of God and the Seal of the prophets; And God is Of all things ever the Knower. (33:40)
After this heavenly declaration, a Muslim has to believe as an article of faith that no prophet did come, or will ever come, after the Holy Prophet Muhammad, and if any one claims to be a prophet he is definitely a liar and an imposter.
Why Prophethood ended with the Holy Prophet:
Prophethood or apostleship is only the office through which the Word of God is conveyed in revealing to the human world the code of living or the religion. Prophet after prophet was sent to various parts of the earth according to the mental evolution of the different ages. Finally the divine guidance was consolidated in a universal teacher to unite all mankind under a single constitutional order in a final divinely regulated and perfect code. The religion was finally declared to have been perfected and was given the name "Islam", Submission.
This day have I perfected for you your religion, and have completed my favour on you, and chosen for you Islam (to be) the Religion.
The greatest of the favours of God is his guidance, and in sending His last Apostle Muhammad and perfecting the religion for man the divine favour was complete. Once perfected, there was no need to send any other apostle. Hence the conclusion of prophethood saw the institution of Imamat, the Divine Guidance towards the true meaning of the Holy Qur'an and its correct interpretation in practical life. Imamat is only for the preservation of the Word of God and the correct guidance on the path preached and practised by the last Apostle of God, the Holy Prophet Muhammad. The Strict Surrender to the Verdict of the Holy Prophet demanded:
Every Muslim, as ordained by the following ordinance from the Lord, must accept the verdict of the Holy Prophet without reluctance and with implicit submission.
So No! By thy Lord! They believe not (really) until they have set thee up as their judge in all that they dispute about among themselves and thereafter find not in their selves any vexation (at all) against what thou decideth and submit (themselves) with total submission. (4:65)
Particularly concerning the faith, one must remember the verdict of the Holy Prophet as to the only source of the correct meaning of the Holy Qur'an:
I leave behind me amidst you Two great things, The Book of God (the Holy Qur'an) and my Ahlul-Bait (the members of the Holy Family, namely Ah and Fatema and their godly issue). Should ye be attached to these Two, never, never shall ye go astray from me, for verily these Two will never be separated from one another or until they meet me at the Spring of Kauthar (See Tafsire-Kabir, Tafsire-Durre, Manthur and others)
According to the above ordinance of God, and the declaration of the Holy Prophet, every Muslim has to follow only Ameerul Momineen Ali ibne Abi Taleb as his Maula or Lord in the place of the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet, before the great assembly of the Hajies at Ghadeer-e-Khum while returning from his last Haj (pilgrimage), which historic event none of the historians could fail to report, raised All by the Prophetic strength of his own arms from the improvised pulpit, declaring him to be the Maula, the Guardian and Master of the Muslims in his place. And immediately coming down from the pulpit, he commanded every one to address All as the Ameerul-Momineen, and Omar ibne Khattab was the first one commanded to do so, which he did, acknowledging Ah as the Ameer, or the Commander of the Faithful. Why the appointment of the Ameer by the Holy Prophet was set aside, and whether setting aside the verdict of the Holy Prophet and the appointment of another was legal and acceptable is left to the readers to judge. The Holy Prophet had declared:
Of whomsoever I am the Maula (or the Lord), this Ah is his Lord.
Under the above apostolic declaration, he who holds the Holy Prophet as his Lord must necessarily hold Ali as his Lord, meaning that he who does not hold Ali as h is Lord, does not hold the Holy Prophet as his Lord. Be in known that it is under this divine ordinance of God communicated to us through the Holy Prophet at Ghadeer-e- Khum that the Shias, or the followers of the Islam- original, follow Ali as their guide or Imam in the place of the Holy Prophet Muhammad after his departure from this world. And to identify themselves from those who do not follow the verdict of God and the Holy Prophet, they call themselves the Shias of Ali, ie. the followers of Ali, the Maula or the Ameer appointed by the Holy Prophet at God's Command. The readers must judge whether this is justifiable.