Prophets in conveying the message

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What kind of method did the prophets follow in conveying the message?

Constant, continual striving is not only an essential feature of the delivering of the Message but it is actually an important element of the Prophetic method.

A Prophet is, so to speak, obsessed with how he is to perform his duty. To this end, he considers all the circumstances and does everything permitted, without concerning himself with God’s do-main, never worrying about the results. He knows that it is not in his power to make anyone accept the Message, that his duty is only to convey the Message and to do everything possible and permissible by God so that people become convinced of its truth. On this point, the Qur’an declares:

Assuredly, you [O Muhammad] guide not whom you like but God guides whom He wills. And He knows best those who receive guidance. (al-Qasas, 28.56)

Many Prophets lived with no one accepting their Message. However, they did not lose heart, weaken in resolve, or resort to means not permitted by God, like violence, terror or deception, de-spite having to suffer every kind of hardship and tortures of the most pitiless sort. When the Last Prophet – Muhammad – upon him be peace and blessings, was severely wounded in the Battle of Uhud, some of his Companions requested him to invoke God’s curse on the enemy, but he prayed for them instead, saying:

O God, forgive my people and guide them to truth, because they do not know.1

He made this supplication with his face bleeding profusely, since he had once said:

I am now as if I was seeing a Prophet who, while his face was bleeding prayed for his people: ‘O God, forgive my people, because they do not know.’

All the Prophets reacted in the same way to the torments and false accusations they suffered from their people. For example:

The leaders of the people of Noah said: ‘Verily, we see you in clear deviation.’ He said: ‘O my people! There is no deviation in me, but I am a Messenger from the Lord of the Worlds! I convey unto you the messages of my Lord and give sincere advice to you. And I know from God what you know not.’ (al-A’raf, 7.60–2)

The leaders of Hud’s people, who were unbelievers, said: ‘We see you surely in foolishness; and we think you are among the liars.’ He said: ‘O my people! There is no foolishness in me, but I am a Messenger from the Lord of the Worlds. I convey unto you the messages of my Lord and I am a trustworthy adviser to you’. (al-A’raf, 7.66–8)

Nothing changed during the history of Prophethood. The Prophets conveyed the messages of their Lord without thinking of any return other than God’s pleasure. There is no people to whom a Messenger was not sent, as explicitly affirmed in the Qur’an:

Whoever goes right, then he goes right only for his own soul’s benefit. And whoever goes astray, then he goes astray only to his own loss. No laden soul can bear another’s load. And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger. (al-Isra’, 17.15)

And verily We have sent among every people a Messenger (saying): ‘Worship God (alone), and shun all false deities’. (al-Nahl, 16.36)

After he received the first Revelation in the cave, Hira, God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, returned home in a great excitement. Wrapped up in his vestment, God ordered him:

O you who wrapped up in your vestment, arise and give warning! Magnify your Lord! Cleanse your garments, and keep away from all pollution. Do not show favour, seeking worldly gain! Be patient for the sake of your Lord! (al-Muddaththir, 74.1-7)

Again, he received the following order:

O you folded in garments! Keep vigil the night long, except a little; half of it, or a little less, or a little more, and recite the Qur’an in slow, measured rhythmic tones. We are about to address to you words of great gravity. (al-Muzzammil, 73.1-5)

Every Prophet conveyed God’s Message to his people without becoming wearied or daunted. The harsh reactions of people could not hinder a Prophet from his duty. For example,

[Noah] said: ‘O my Lord! Day and night I have called my people. But my call has only added to their aversion. Each time I call on them to seek Your pardon, they thrust their fingers in their ears and cover themselves with their garments, persisting in sin and magnifying themselves in insolent pride. Further, I have called to them aloud. Further, I have spoken to them in public and in private, saying: “Ask forgiveness from your Lord: for He is Oft-Forgiving.”’ (Nuh, 71.5-10)

When a people rejected the call of a Prophet and persisted in unbelief and corruption on earth, God’s wrath usually fell upon them. We read in the Qur’an the story of several devastated peoples, and we see their ruins all over the world.

1.Qadi Iyad, Shifa’ al-Sharif, 1.105; Bukhari, Anbiya’, 54; Muslim, Jihad, 105.

 

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