WHAT DOES PROPHETHOOD MEAN?

WHAT DOES PROPHETHOOD MEAN?

It is written at the end of the book Sharh-i Mawaqif by Sayyid Sherif al-Jurjani that, according to the scholars of Kalam, a person to whom Allahu ta’ala says,

“I have sent thee to the people in such and such a country or to the whole of mankind,” or “Reveal [My will] to my slaves!” or gives a similar command, is called a “nabi” or “payghambar” (Messenger or Prophet). Being a Prophet does not require having certain conditions like riyada or mujahada or having been born with qualities suitable for prophethood.”

 scholars of kalam, ghaib, know the entire ‎unknown‎‏, Allahu ta’ala, prophethood

 Allahu ta’ala can bestow this gift upon anyone He chooses. He knows everything and does what is best. He does whatever He wills to do. He is the Almighty. According to the scholars of Kalam, it is not necessary for a Prophet to display a mu’jiza (miracle), either. It was said that he had to display miracles so that people would know that he was a Prophet, but this still is not a condition for him to be a Prophet. According to ancient Greek philosophers, to be a Prophet requires three conditions; firstly, to reveal the ghaib ‎‎(unknown, mystery), that is, to explain past and future events when required; secondly, to do extraordinary things, that is, things that are mentally and scientifically impossible; thirdly, to see an angel in object and body and to hear Allahu ta’ala’s wahy from the angel. Neither for us nor for them ‎‎[philosophers], is it necessary for a Prophet to know the entire unknown(ghaib) .

 

And knowing some of it is not peculiar only to Prophets. It is admitted also by philosophers that those who undergo riyada, that is, those who isolate themselves in a room and eat just enough so as not to die, some sick people who have lost consciousness, and some people while asleep disclose some mysteries. In this respect such people are not different from Prophets. Perhaps, what philosophers call the ‎‎ghaib (to know the entire unknown )” are the extraordinary and unusual things which are rarely seen. However, these are not the real unknown (ghaib). Knowing them –“ghaib (to know the entire unknown)”- or reporting them once or twice does not mean to transcend the ordinary. This point keeps Prophets and others distinct.

Scholars of Kalam also report that Prophets will know the real myteries revealed to them by Allahu ta’ala, but they say that knowing mysteries is not a requirement for being a Prophet. Also, the abovesaid grounds which philosophers put forward with respect to knowing the unknown are not correct. They are incompatible with Islam’s fundamentals. Furthermore, knowing the unknown on such grounds is quite a different subject. They are extraordinary wonders. There is no use in particularly dwelling on this.

 

scholars of kalam, ghaib, know the entire ‎unknown‎‏, Allahu ta’ala, prophethood

Extraordinary events, such as, affecting objects and substances as one wishes; effecting the wind, earthquakes and fires when one likes or a ship’s sinking; a man’s dying or a tyrant’s going to his doom upon one’s wish are the human soul’s influence on matter. In fact Allahu ta’ala, alone, is the One who affects matter. Allahu ta’ala creates this effect on whomever He wills, whenever He wills. For this reason, it cannot be said that extraordinary things or wonders are peculiar to Prophets only. This is admitted by philosophers, too. Therefore, how could this ever be the distinction between Prophets and others?

scholars of kalam, ghaib, know the entire ‎unknown‎‏, Allahu ta’ala, prophethood

Although ancient Greek philosophers said that wonders could also happen through non-prophets, they did not accept the frequency or the degree of wonders reaching the capacity of i’jaz (miracle). They said that because such extraordinary things happen through Prophets a Prophet is distinguishable from others.

scholars of kalam, ghaib, know the entire ‎unknown‎‏, Allahu ta’ala, prophethood

Philosophers’ stating that an angel manifesting itself to Prophets and revealing Allahu ta’ala’s wahy as a condition for prophethood contradicts their own philosophy. Their saying such things are intended to mislead holders of iman, for, according to them, angels are immaterial and speechless. To produce sounds requires being material, they say. Sound is produced through waves of air. We can say that these conditions put forward by philosophers might come to mean that angels can show themselves and talk by taking material form.

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