What does communication mean as an essential attribute of Prophethood?
The third attribute of Prophethood is communication of Islamic truths or,
in other words, ‘enjoin-ing the good and forbidding the evil.’
We say ‘Islamic truths’ because every Prophet came with the same Divine
Religion based on submission to God. Communication of this Message was the
ultimate reason for sending the Prophets.
God manifested His Compassion and Munificence through the mission of the
Prophets, which is itself the embodiment of Divine Compassion and
Just as God shows us a manifestation of His Mercifulness through the
warmth and light of the sun, He also manifested His Mercy and Compassion for
humankind through His Prophets. He chose the Last Prophet, whom He sent as a
mercy for all the worlds, as the one to establish the Message of compassion
and mercy eternally. If he had not been sent to revive and revise the
Messages of the previous Prophets in such a way as to encompass the whole of
humankind, we would all be wandering around in the terrifying desert of
unbelief, misguidance and ignorance.
Philosophers, sociologists and psychologists have throughout history
searched for answers to such vital questions as, ‘Who am I?’, ‘Where have I
come from?’, ‘What is my final destination?’, ‘What is the purpose of
life?’, ‘What does our dying mean?’, ‘Is death absolute non-existence or
only a door to a new, eternal life?’ Man has tangled with such questions
during his earthly existence and it is only through the enlightenment of the
Prophets that he has found true satisfaction and peace of mind. Through them
he has been convinced that this earthly life is just a ‘way-station’ on his
perpetual journeying from the world of spirits to the world of eternity, and
a field to be planted with seeds for harvesting in the eternal world that
follows. This world is reached through the intermediate realm of the grave.
With this realization, he has been relieved of his anxieties and the world
has been transformed for him into a flowery garden of recreation and a
gathering place of friends.
It is to convey this Message and to illuminate the path to happiness here
and in the Hereafter that the Prophets were sent.
We will discuss three essential points in the way a Prophet conveys the
The prophets made a comprehensive invitation to God
There was no fragmentation or compartmentalization in the way of the
Prophets. They dealt with people and life in a holistic manner and never
ignored or neglected any of man’s faculties. They appealed to man’s
intellect, reason, spirit and all his outer and inner senses and feelings.
The position of a Prophet in relation to Divine Revelation is like that
of a corpse in the hands of one who washes it. God directs and guides him in
whatever fashion is required to lead his people. Without this Divine
direction, he would not be able to guide anyone. Neglect of the intellect,
for in-stance, would result in a community of poor, docile mystics.
Negligence of the heart or spirit, on the other hand, would result in crude
rationalism devoid of any spiritual dimension. Man comprises intel-lect,
spirit and body and each must be assigned its due part of the Message. Also,
man is an active being. Therefore, he should be led to activity according to
the purpose of his life as determined by God and communicated by the
Prophets. God did not leave him to become a passive recluse, nor allow him
to be an ‘activist’ without reason and spirit, or a ‘rationalist’ without
spiritual reflection and activism. It is only when the intellect, spirit and
body are harmonized, and man is motivated towards activity in the
illuminated way of the Divine Message, that he can become a complete being
and attain true humanity. This was the aim of the Prophets, upon them all be
peace, and should be the aim of all those who wish to be their followers.
The Qur’an declares:
Say (O Muhammad): ‘This is my way: I call (people) to God
with wisdom and insight, I and those who follow me.’ (Yusuf, 12.108)
The Prophets asked no wage from people
A Prophet does not live for himself. Dedicated to his mission wholly, a
Prophet is an altruist and lives for the happiness and good of others. His
happiness lies in seeing people devoted to God for ultimate salvation but he
never expects from people anything in return for what he does; his reward is
from none but God alone. This is a very important and indispensable aspect
of a Prophet’s communication of the Divine Message, one frequently
emphasized in the Qur’an:
O my people! I ask of you no wealth for it, my reward is
from none but God. (Hud, 11.29)
The Prophets left the results to God
The Prophets were charged with conveying the Divine Message to people.
They did their best to this end and patiently faced many misfortunes and
even torment. They fulfilled their responsibilities without worrying about
the result of their call to God. They knew with all certainty that it is
only God who will bring about the desired result.
The three fundamentals briefly outlined above set the principles for
everyone who wishes to take up the Divine responsibility to call to God in
every subsequent age, in every place.