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Belief in the Angels, Books, and Prophets

Questions

What are the merits of Al-Quran over previous scriptures?

The Quran is the only scripture which is promised to be preserved until the Day of Judgement. It is also the only scripture that is proven to be from the Messenger. All of it’s verses are intact, and it is recited in the same dialect it was in the Prophet’s day.

How are these 3 pillars of faith related to each other? And what is the relationship between them and the 1st one?

The Belief in Angels, Jinns, Books, and Prophets are the natural outcome of belief in ALLAH. The knowledge of ALLAH as the creator of everything makes possible the belief that he created unseen worlds in addition to the physical world we live in. It also helps the belief that ALLAH sent Messengers and Books to confirm the cause of good, and righteousness, which is greater than the the things he can see in his physical surroundings.

Belief in Angels

       The belief in Angels is a pillar of Faith. In ISLAM, we are required to believe in Angels because they are found in the Qur’an and the Ahadith (sayings of Prophet Muhammad). The Angels were created before Adam, from light, and have no animal nature. They worship ALLAH, and obey His commands in the Universe. They have any number of wings, and come from heaven with ALLAH’S orders and return reporting to ALLAH.

      Angels are assigned over the events of every day life. They help man to be righteous and aid him in things that benefit him. One way the Angels do this is by giving man good suggestions to follow the right course of action, and obey ALLAH, which counters Shaytaan’s evil suggestions. They beseech ALLAH for men’s forgiveness, and good fortune, and bring glad tidings on the righteous; and they beseech against the wicked. Angels encourage the reading of Qur’an, the remembrance of ALLAH, and learning. They also help to comfort man and keep his focus on doing good deeds to attain the good of the hereafter.

       Even from man’s primordial state—i.e., sperm drop, in the womb, infancy, etc.—and throughout his life, they help him through the darkness, and they write his wealth, actions, emotions, speech. They attend to man in the grave, on the Day of Judgement, and in his final abode. The Angels are also charged with looking after matters in the earth and the whole universe. They attend to matters of "cause and effect" and it doesn’t clash with their roles. ALLAH put some Angels in charge of the Sun, the Planets, and the matters on earth. Since the Universe has been subjected to man by ALLAH, their roles there help man in his role on earth.

       The knowledge of the Angels’ existence is part of the belief in the unseen, only learned about through ALLAH. Since He informed us of the things helpful to us, any extra details should not be a topic of inquiry. Details like how the Angels were created are ALLAH’S mysteries. Also, the number of Angels are innumerable to man. However, the exact number of Angels charged with certain tasks is named, such as the 19 in charge of Hell Fire (Holy Quran, 74:30); but this is not for the symbolic or superstitious misuse of mankind.

        The Qur’an rejects the conception that Angels share in ALLAH’S power, or glory  -- by calling them "Gods" or the "Children of God". Their existence involves worshipping and carrying out ALLAH’S commands, hence they have no free will in respect to obedience or disobedience to ALLAH. This means they cannot intercede except by ALLAH’S permission. None of their pleas can be heard except through ALLAH granting them a stage.

        It is kufr (polytheism, disbelief) to worship them, or think they have authority. Such beliefs were not commanded by ALLAH, through revelation or any other means, as it is disbelief after submission. It is also Kufr to deny the existence of Angels. Their presence is plainly given in the Qur’an and Sunnah, and confirmed by the consensus of Muslims.

        The Archangels mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah are three: Gabriel, who brings ALLAH’s revelation; Michael, in charge of rains, plants and animals; and Israphiel, who blows the Trumpet before Judgement Day, and is one of the Angels that bear the Throne of ALLAH. Malik is also mentioned in the Qur’an as the Angel in charge of Hell Fire (Holy Quran, 43:77).

        The Angels are able to take the form of human beings. The Archangel Gabriel, appeared before Mary, the Mother of Jesus (alayhis salaam) "…as a man in all respects." (Holy Quran, 19:16-17). In a Tradition, he appears before Muhammd (s.a.w.s.) and his Companions with  "…black hair…" and drills them about Iman.

         We must believe in the Angels whose names were given, with those whose errands are described instead, for example: "…those that glide along"; the Messengers who "…stand by and record." (43:80); the Angels in front and behind man (13:11); The Angel of Death, the Bearers of the Throne, the Angels responsible for Hell Fire, the Angels of Paradise, and so on.  Moreover, we must believe in those Angels who remain completely anonymous and whose names, and functions, are known only to ALLAH.

        The knowledge is of great benefit to a believer because it saves them from the conjectures of materialism, and it also makes him aware of the good forces in the unseen, working against the evil in his surroundings. He understands he is always with better company, even in a crowd, a rebellious society, or a group of mockers. Moreover, even in private, he feels ashamed to ALLAH to commit evil, when there are so many noble creations in the unseen trying to aid him to good.

The Belief In Allah’s Books

       Muslims must believe that ALLAH revealed books to His Messengers before the time of Muhammad (s.a.w.s.l). In the Qur’an, five of these books are named with the Prophet who received them. These are:

1.    The Torah given to Moses (Q. 5:44)

2.    The Bible given to Jesus (5:46)

3.    The Psalms given to David (17:55)

4.    The Scriptures given to Abraham   (53:36 to 42, 87:14 to 19)

5.   The Scriptures given Moses  (53:36 to 42, 87:14 to 19)

(May Peace be Upon All of Them)

        Although the other scriptures remain unnamed, we should believe that each Messenger of ALLAH conveyed the message of His Oneness of Lordship, Godhead, and Attributes, that is, ALLAH’s complete ownership of everything, His exclusive right to worship, and the perfect and unparalleled nature of His qualities.

        The Revelation sent to each Messenger mentioned in the Qur’an, confirmed the truth of the previous revelation. For example, The Injil (Bible) given to Jesus, was a confirmation of the Torah, given to Moses aforetime, and at the same time a fresh admonition to the Jews, Moses’ followers.

             The Qur’an is the one Scripture preserved in it’s contents, and consequently, in the purity and nature of it’s message. This is so because ALLAH has promised in the Qur’an that He will protect the Quran from corruption, and it will remain a source of guidance until the Day of Judgement. It is the Final Revelation for all of mankind to follow, it provides guidance and protocol for every affair of human life. Furthermore, it’s finality as a guidance for all of life for everyone; replaces the laws of the People of the Scriptures, and any customs, laws, or behavior adapted in previous eras.

The Qur’an also confirms the truth in the earlier revelations, and exposes the teachings, beliefs, and practices that their followers innovated. Morever, the Qur’an supports the original unity of the scriptures in the message of ALLAH’S Oneness and man’s duty of worshipping Him.

      There are many proofs of the Qur’an’s authenticity as a book of ALLAH. For example, the Qur’an is completely the word of ALLAH, and doesn’t include the speech of the Prophet or his Companions, or their contemporaries or forebears. Hence, the speech of Muhammad, and the style of speech in the Qur’an, are very different. There are no quotations from other texts. Furthermore, the Qur’an is proven to be the message of Muhammad (pbuh) through revelation; the chapters, verses, and dialect are written in the exact manner he conveyed them. Therefore, it is the duty of all mankind (who hears it’s true message) and all Muslims to believe in the whole of it, act on it’s commands, and take admonition from the warnings.  

The Other Scriptures

       Any ideas in the Books mentioned in the Qur’an as revelation, which contradict Tauhid (God's Oneness), is a man made change or addition. Further, it is not in our authority to accept specific books other than those mentioned in the Qur’an as authentic, or inauthentic, and this knowledge rests with ALLAH.

       Although the other Books were revealed by ALLAH, they have been mixed with history, legends, scholarly commentary and other interpolations which make them a mixture of Revelation and man’s ideas. The other Scriptures’ laws were for particular communities, hence they did not get the same protection.

      The existing versions of the former scriptures are all translations of an original, which has been lost. Moreover, the contents of these books are not shown to be from the Messenger. For instance, the Torah is dated to Rabbis after the time of Moses (La Ross). The standard Bible is 4 of the 70 existing copies, and the contradiction between them, along with uncertain authorship is further proof of man made changes. (See Sayed Sabeq, the Principles of Islamic Beliefs)

Moreover, the stories of the Prophets, depict them as prey to the worst vices such as fornication, lying, and idol worship.  Such does not fit their lofty rank as ALLAH’s viceroy.

       The Qur’an mentions the Jews modifying the Torah, although they were entrusted to protect it. The Christians’ neglect of the Bible is also described. Furthermore, it mentions the customary saying of the Jews that Ezra is the son of ALLAH, and of the Christians that Jesus (alayhis salaam) is the son of ALLAH. (A’uthubillah). The Qur’an refutes this idea and says that ALLAH, the Lord of the Heavens and Earth, says "Be" and it is, and he is above such anthropomorphism, and every Messenger, though honored, were human and his slaves.

 

The Belief in Prophets

Elements of Belief in the Prophets

         The belief that ALLAH sent Prophets is another part of Iman, and Believers must accept all those Prophets named in the Qur’an and Sunnah. It also means believing that ALLAH sent others whose names and stories were not given. The Number of Messengers named in the Qur'an are 25; these include Adam, Nuh, Abraham, Moses, and Muhammad (alayhimus salaam).

        A Prophet is one who is given revelation from ALLAH. Those ordered to preach to their communities are called Prophet-Messengers.

        The Messengers were sent to convey good news to the believers who do good deeds. That they would get security and peace in this world, ALLAH’s forgiveness, and the everlasting home of Paradise.  They also warned the disbelievers, and evil doers, that the consequence of their rejection is torment in Hell Fire.

        They were also sent to teach people to worship ALLAH correctly, and establish His (revealed) Religion. All Messengers taught men about ALLAH’S Unity, and his exclusive right to worship – they also taught the necessary unified, non sectarian nature of His Religion. The Messengers admonished their peoples to give up the false deities they were worshipping.

       The Messengers were men chosen for ALLAH’S revelation. ALLAH selected the best people to convey his message, and the Messenger’s were all utmost in their devotion and belief in Him. Their character, wisdom, endurance, piety, and wit surpassed all other men. They were free from major and minor sins, such as cheating, lying, or stealing; and they were free from character flaws like deceitfulness, laziness, and cowardice. Each Messenger conveyed the Message in the most effective way, and didn’t neglect it, nor let people frighten them from it.

           It is mankind’s duty to believe in these Messengers, and also in the above things concerning their mission, which is to worship ALLAH alone. Also, Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) is the last Messenger and anyone who claims to be an Apostle after him is one of the 40 such Dajjals, or liars, predicted as appearing before the last day.

          Some Prophets were given higher rank than others and given greater responsibilities and more difficult missions. There are 5 Prophets named "Messengers of Binding Resolution" (Ulool ‘Azam), they are:

Muhammad, Abraham, Moses, Noah, and Jesus (pbuh). These Messengers are so named because they were given a weighty mission and completed it with patience, steadfastness, and devotion.

          Although the Messengers were above the rest of mankind in their character, they felt the same pain, emotions, and physical needs as all humans. Like all other creatures, they had no power over themselves, others, or their environment, except what ALLAH willed. And they possessed no knowledge of the Unseen except what ALLAH revealed. (7:188, 72 :26-27).

         Believing in some Messengers, while rejecting others is disbelief, and all mankind has the duty to believe once they hear the true form of their Message.

         Muhammad (pbuh) is the last of a chain of Prophets. He has been exalted by ALLAH in many ways: He will be the first to intercede on behalf of mankind on Judgement Day; the revelation he received perfects the faith the Messengers before him were sent to convey, hence unfaith is destroyed with him.  ALLAH chose Muhammad for Khillah (great friendship and intimacy). Also, it says in a Tradition that he has been given precedence to other Prophets in his wisdom, the awe and fear inspired in his enemies, booty being made legal for him, and the earth being made a Masjid for him (and his followers).

       Muhammad (pbuh) was sent to all mankind and jinn, instead of just a single tribe, community, or civilization. Morever, he is the Messenger whose example in all things mankind should follow, through which true faith and the forgiveness of ALLAH is obtained, so much so, that no one has true belief until he loves the Prophet more than anyone, including his family, or himself.  

 Miracles

        ALLAH gave Prophets miracles.

        ALLAH also granted Muhammad (pbuh) miracles which are mentioned in the Qur’an, and the most reliable prophetic traditions. The first and foremost miracle is the inimitability of the Qur’an; which is sufficient to quell the unbelievers. Furthermore, Muhammad (pbuh) received physical miracles, such as the splitting of the moon; the clouds that shaded him during revelation, water gushing from his fingers, etc.  Moreover, his protection from the treachery of enemies, and his prediction of the future were miracles.

         The Prophet’s qualities, alone, were a sign of his Prophethood. Through his life, before and after revelation, he was devoted to ALLAH. He was free from minor sins like telling lies, so much so that those closest to him, such as his wife, and even his enemies acknowledged it. For example, when the Prophet became fearful because of his first sight of Angel Gabriel, he went to his wife, Khadijah, who said that his high character would keep ALLAH’s protection with him.

The Roman Emperor, Heraclius, examined carefully the description of Muhammad (pbuh) given by his enemies; they told him of the increasing number of his followers, his honesty, and his message to worship ALLAH alone and keep ties of kinship. After this, he concluded that Muhammad (pbuh) was the Prophet that he had been expecting from the scriptures.

Further, Muhammad's steadfastness during times of difficulty and prosperity shows that ALLAH was the object of his faith and confidence.

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