These commandments and precepts may be in the form of verbal message or practice of a Prophet and these are to be conveyed to people by an Apostle, this is called Risalat or Prophethood. If people from among them shall obey these Prophets then on the Day of Judgment they need not to fear any punishment. It is, therefore, essential that light should be thrown from different angles on the subject of Risalat because without realizing the importance and value of Prophethood it is not possible to obey the dictates of God successfully.
The Distinct Qualities of the prophet:
Allah nominates the prophets Himself. However, the Prophets are quite different from the common people. God when sent Prophets to guide the people, He particularly mentioned and described the distinct qualities which distinguish a Prophet from the followers (common men). He communicated these qualities through his revealed words in the Holy Quran. It is, therefore, thought essential to describe them so that the people may gauge the right standard of conduct and benefit from the same.
This is the first attribute of the Prophets. In their inner nature and significance, they are above all mankind in their times but in spite of this remained beings, they were not angles or Jinns, so that every human aspect of their lives becomes a source of guidance for common people, so that none may think that they (the Prophets) in their natures were different from common people and therefore it is not possible for them to follow them. In this manner, the deceitful nature of man will conjure excuses to escape from following the path of virtue. Side by side this belief also must not be fostered that he (the prophet) is the son of God or transcends human nature, as the Hindus regard their Awtars, who are put on a pedestal, considered super-natural; and have not cared to follow them. The fact is this, that if the slightest hint of divinity is attributed to the Prophets both monotheism and Prophethood become doubtful, this is why every Prophet has explicitly announced, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) has said and Allah through the Holy Quran has made the Holy Prophet (PBUH) announce that: ―I am a man like you.‖
- Bounty of God:
This does not mean that a man can achieve Prophethood by his efforts, but that it is a bounty of Allah, bestowed upon those whom Allah desires to bestow without regard to human efforts and struggles. In the lives of most Prophets, we see this aspect that before being ordained and beginning their mission, they have spent their early life in prayer and meditation like Moses being in the wildness for forty days, similarly, Jesus passed his days in abstinence. In like manner, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) meditated in the cave of Hira. This abstinence was to prepare the soul receive the revelation; in spite of this, Prophethood is not gained by human efforts, it is not an acquired status, it means simply this that justices God has bestowed different qualities of different persons out to attain perfection in it, a person has to combine his own efforts. Similarly, Prophets have the essence of Prophethood in them but they have to prepare themselves to develop the capacity to receive revelations. Now if anyone strives, he will receive the status commensurate with it. But for the office and responsibilities of Prophethood, Allah makes the choice Himself. This choice has been termed Istifa in the Holy Quran, which means selecting the best from many.
- Knowledge Bestowed by Allah:
The third attribute of the Prophets is that whatever they present in the form of faith or law emanates from God. The personal wishes of neither the messenger nor their personal will interfere with their message, and they speak and act according to the commands from Allah. In the Holy Quran, this is made clear in this verse. ―He does not speak according to personal desires but says only what is revealed to him.‖ (An-Najam: 3-4)
A prophet does not err in judgment or thought neither is his conduct or morals open to the slightest criticism. Their souls, feelings, thoughts and conducts are our and safe from satanic temptations. This does not mean that they were immune from such evils in their human states. Although possesses of natural desires but Allah protects them. This is the reason that the insight and thinking of Prophets and the degree of perfection. And his moral strength is extremely, secure. On one side, he has the capacity to understand injunctions and to formulate more injunctions through his judgment, and on the other, he has full self-control, because he is under the complete guardianship of his creator. Actually for Prophets to be infallible and free from faults was very necessary for the purpose for what the Prophethood was created. The infallibility of the Prophets and their being free of error in judgment or in conduct of character is the light which belongs to the chosen creature of God. That is why their conducts are the models to be followed and their lives are above criticism. Now according to this revelation of Allah that:
―There is no nation in which a warner (Prophets) has not come.‖ The Status of Prophethood:
There have always been misunderstandings about the Prophets. Some places they have been considered superman or above humanity and somewhere have been considered God, or that they are incarnations of God appearing to us in human form. This was great misunderstanding, and on this basis man sought excuses to claim that such holy lives and natures cannot be emulated and to absolve themselves from emulation declared such person God or partners of God. This has been the trait of mankind in its early stage of history as we learn from the Holy Quran. The Prophet Noah (AS) refuted this before his people in the following words: ―I do not say that I have the treasures of God in my possession, or that I have knowledge of the unknown, neither do I say that I am an angel.‖ (11:31)
Worthy of Obedience:
The Quran says that the complete obedience, allegiance and the example of the Prophets is a condition of faith. Whatever the Prophet may say in regard to faith and creed it is compulsory to follow and there is no room for a murmur here. Although the purport of such actions may not be apparent, but belief in his utterance is virtue and righteousness and is an obligation for the Muslims: The Holy Quran has explicitly stated this:
―We have sent Prophets so that according to the permission of Allah, he should be obeyed.‖
Exegete of the Book of God:
The Shariah of Allah is the Divine law; therefore the Book of Allah covers all principles. Every book of law is like this. Now its explanation, interpretation and application have been made the responsibility of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). The Holy Quran has said this in the following verse: ―We have revealed our words to you so that you may make clear to people the guidance sent down to for them.‖
Teacher and Guide: This responsibility has been in the following verse the Quran:
―Verily it is our favor to the faithful that we sent them a Prophet from amongst them; a Prophet who recites His verses and purifies their soul, and teaches them the Book and its wisdom.‖
Similarly, at other places in the Quran, verses with the same meaning have been revealed in which the common theme is that Allah did not send the Prophet merely for the recital of verses but with three other aims and objectives in minds:
- To teach people the Book
- To import the wisdom necessary for compliance with the dictates of the Book.
- To purify individuals and societies so that their individual and collective failings are removed, and that good qualities and healthy social system are inculcated among them.
Leadership and a Model:
Allah has ordained Prophets to be the Imams-Leaders and guides the purpose is to consecrate the line of the Prophet for leadership and guidance embodies, so that they guide people, prevent them from straying and guide them to their destination. When made a Prophet, he lighted two torches of teaching and guidance, the Book and the Sunnah-which give off a common light. This is why it has been said in the Quran: ―O Prophet say that if you love God then obey me, Allah will love you and forgive your sins and Allah is the Forgiving and Merciful. Say obeys Allah and His Messenger and if they turn their faces, Allah does like infidels.‖
Legislator and Interpreter:
This function has been mentioned by the Quran thus: ―He will enjoin on them that which is right and forbid them that is wrong. He will make lawful for them all good things and prohibit for them only the foul and he will receive them of their burden and the fetters they used to wear.‖ After this clarification of the Holy Quran, we learn that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was ordained with legislative powers. It means that apart from those deeds explicitly forbidden or allowed by God those injunctions which proceed from the Holy Prophet (PBUH) are equally binding and a part of the Divine Law. This has been reiterated in a different verse. ―And whatever the Messenger gives you take it and whatever he forbids abstain (from it).‖
Arbitrator and Judge
The Holy Quran has in many verses elucidated that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is a judge and arbitrator. One of such verses is this:
―We have sent this Book to you with the truth so that you may Judge between people in accordance with right way which Allah has shown you.‖ (4:105)