Having accepted monotheism as the first and most fundamental Islamic axiom, here we are to investigate prophethood or prophecy as the second most important one which is based on a monotheistic worldview. This axiom illustrates God’s mercy by sending prophets to humankind as mediators in order to convey His message and guide people towards what is good.
Prophets are chosen messengers of God for humans to guide them through a virtuous life in order to reach eternal bliss. According to this principle, human’s life would be disrupted, and he would not know the purpose of his existence unless he received clear and practical instructions and directions for his life either in this world or hereafter. So the need for prophets is that of guidance which leads human beings through their path to perfection.
The necessity of prophethood becomes evident by accepting the existence of God, His Oneness, and the fact that He has not abandoned us to find our way by ourselves. In other words, prophethood is undeniable if one finds the need for prophets and the possibility of being guided by them on the one hand, and believes in the flawlessness of God and His Perfection on the other; in fact, God has provided every creature with all the blessing and mercy based on their capabilities.
As it was mentioned before, the belief in prophethood roots in human’s monotheistic worldview; that is God as the necessary being is gracious and guides every creature to perfection. This guidance, which is received through the revelation of God, includes all the beings from the tiniest particles to the biggest stars and the most excellent creatures that are human beings.
As a matter of fact, it is God’s status as the Lord of the universe that requires him to send revelation to everything in the world according to their capacity. Now one might wonder what the nature of God’s revelation is and how this communication with God takes place.
Revelation is the natural ability to navigate, which exists within every creature and is like a spiritual light that helps them find their way. The grades and degrees of this ability differ in accordance with each being’s capacity and their level of awareness; that is the revelation sent to humankind is not like the one sent to plants or animals.
In other words, what animals and plants are capable of, is totally different from that of humankind, and so is the one between ordinary people and prophets who receive God’s most supreme revelation. Thus, the revelation received by prophets is the same as normal inspirations by nature; however, its degree is determined based on the creatures’ position in the universe.
Furthermore, revelation is nothing like the other perceptions of human beings; we notice the things around us with our senses, solve mathematical problems with the help of wisdom and understand other matters using our conscience or nature, but the revelation is a divine reception from God to guide humankind.
The first question that arises about the characteristics of prophets is if they are ordinary people like others or not. In fact, they are ordinary in the human being nature of needs (from food, sleeping, having children, dying ...etc.) but extraordinary in receiving revelation and telling us the message from God, being accompanied with miracles, infallibility from committing sins or making the slightest mistakes and fighting against idolatry, superstitions, injustice, and cruelty.
The most prominent characteristic of prophets that distinguishes them from the other people, either ordinary ones or geniuses, is the supreme revelation and guidance prophets can get from God through the unseen world. However, this kind of revelation does not exclude them from the rest of human beings; it just makes them perfect role models to teach and guide us further to the straight path.
One of the other most important attributes of prophets is their innocence (Ismah) and infallibility which is defined as the fact that they never, at any point of their lives, committed sins, nor did they approach any kind of disobedience, mistakes, or forbidden things.
They maintained their innocence throughout their everyday lives among people; therefore they proved their infallibility and eligibility necessary for prophethood. This innocence also made prophets infallible either in receiving the revelations from God or conveying the orders and messages that were revealed to them to their nations exactly, without missing or adding anything that would mislead them.
God supported His Prophets with miracles, which were supernatural events that took place based on the power of Allah - and not prophets- to prove their truthfulness and neutralize the objections and the obstinacy of the deniers.
The other proof that distinguishes prophets from people who are endowed with brilliant minds that have developed advanced philosophies is the miracles they brought forth, which is far from magic and the concept known to popular culture. A Miracle is actually something beyond the reach of people, natural causes, and the physical laws we are all familiar with. Although beyond human’s capacity, miracles are possible and not against humans’ reason.
When the miracle becomes clear, there can be no doubt either in the message or the one who brought it forth.
After accepting the necessity and importance of prophethood through rational thinking, we need to testify to the existence and truth of certain prophets to whom God granted miracles and whose advent the previous prophets prophesied.
All prophets brought and taught people the same message and doctrines. These doctrines were gradually sent to humankind based on their capacity and talent, until the chain of prophethood came to an end by the coming of the last prophet, Muhammad (PBUH&HP). He is our final prophet, and no prophet will be born after him. The religion of Islam, as well as all other religious doctrines, was completed and sent to people through his miracle, Quran, so there is no need for another messenger from God.
God sent His message, the same message, to humankind through different prophets. But what are the reasons for this renewal:
One reason for God to repeat his message by sending new prophets is the distortion of His teachings by the people of earlier ages. The generations before Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) were not mature and wise enough to record and preserve their holy book and religious lessons.
So the message would normally be changed, distorted or destroyed by them. Accordingly, the message had to be renewed.
The second one is the incapability of the people to receive the whole completed message sent by God due to their lack of maturity and intellectuality; therefore they had to be guided through the right path, little by little and step by step.
The third and the last reason is the need of humankind for people to preach and interpret God’s message. The people before Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) had not reached the appropriate level of wisdom, awareness, and civilization to be capable of proselytizing, teaching, preaching, and sometimes changing their religious lessons according to their needs and situations.
However, by the development and growth of science and people’s awareness and maturity, this could be possible for them. As a result, one of the necessities of finality is the human’s social maturity to the extent that he is able to protect and preserve his religious and scientific legacies and to preach and teach them himself.
In conclusion, Abrahamic religions have always been the same, from the beginning till the end of the time and all the prophets have tried to encourage people to accept the same doctrine and religion. Their main roles and responsibilities were to receive God’s revelations and teach and interpret them for humankind.
The need for these roles, however, was finalized by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) by whom the whole religion and doctrine were sent since people had the talent, capability, and maturity necessary for the acceptance and preserving God’s message. What’s more, people had become sensible and mature enough to interpret the prophet’s teachings by themselves.
Prophethood is a sublime status granted only to those who are chosen. A prophet deals with the heart and souls of humans; it is, therefore, a delicate matter to believe in the one who claims prophethood. Hence, there should be a sign that lets people recognize a real prophet from a fake one; that's "miracle." A "miracle" is an extraordinary act or event that no other human, from the first to the last, can perform it or cause it to happen, except a prophet. It can be neither explained by natural or scientific laws. For Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), the Quran is known as an everlasting miracle that is the most outstanding of Prophet's (PBUH&HP) miracles. The question is: why the Quran is considered as a miracle? Let's find out the reasons.
1. The Quran Is Unique in Style and Inimitable
The Quran is revealed with great eloquence and fluency to convey the message. Precise, poetic, targeted, and meaningful terms used in the Quran are such that no weakness of expression can be found in any of its Ayats. In fact, the words are chosen such that they express the desired meaning in the best way possible (Fasaha) with the minimum usage of words (Balaqa). And, these are features that scholars of Arab literature have noticed in every chapter of the Quran .
What makes the Quran a miracle in this regard is that, until the present, no one has been able (and no one will be able) to bring even one short Surah similar to that of this holy book. A Surah that could express the highest scientific facts in simple, comprehensible words and describes different aspects of a scientific matter as clearly as possible. This is an issue that has already been addressed in the Quran: "And if you are in doubt concerning what We have sent down to Our servant, then bring a Surah like it, and invoke your helpers besides Allah, should you be truthful." (2:23). There is no historical account of those who succeeded in defeating this claim of the Quran. If there existed any, those who have always challenged the origin of the Quran should have recorded it.
2. The Quran has been Brought by a Prophet Who Was Uninstructed (Ummi)
According to both historical records and the Quran, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was Ummi before he was chosen as a messenger of Allah Almighty; he hadn't been taught by any teacher to read and write 1]. "You were not able to read or write before the Quran was revealed to you; however, the followers of falsehood would have tried to confuse the matter" (29:48). Therefore, the Quran that its words are in extreme eloquence and fluency and reveal sophisticated concepts cannot be Prophet's (PBUH&HP) word. Hence, it is a divine work gained through revelation, a "miracle."
3. Scientific Facts Revealed by the Quran
The Quran is not a book of science or a specialized book, nor has it aimed to concentrate on scientific facts. However, these kinds of information are stated in the Quran to demonstrate the wonders of creation and Allah Almighty's glory.
In this regard, the creation of humans is described in detail in the Quran (23:12-14). In the first step, the human being was fashioned from clay. Other measures include the creation of man from spurting water, a drop of semen, the sperm fashioned into an embryo, this embryo fashioned into a shapeless lump of flesh. From the lump of flesh, fashioned bones, clothed the bones with flesh and then created the consanguinity and affinity .
The movement of the earth is another fact mentioned in the Quran: "It is Allah who raised the heavens without any pillars that you see" (13:2). In this verse, it is mentioned that there exist invisible supports that raise up the heavens. These supports are now referred to as the gravitational and other unseen forces in the universe. This scientific fact that is valid today was unknown in that era, and even one thousand years later when Galileo explained this fact and was sentenced to death. That's why it is not explicitly stated in the Quran; otherwise, it would have been banned .
4. Accurate Predictions
Some accurate predictions are among the verses of the Quran. This proves that it has been descended from an absolutely knowing source that can report the unseen.
As an example, in the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), Mecca was controlled by polytheists for a while. They did not let Muslims enter the city and do the Hajj rituals. Then, Prophet (PBUH&HP) dreamed that he succeeded in performing Hajj with his companions. This was confirmed in an Ayah: "Certainly Allah has fulfilled His Apostle's vision in all truth: You will surely enter the Sacred Mosque, God willing, in safety, with your heads shaven or hair cropped, without any fear." (48:27). In the next year, this dream came true.
In another case, the Quran has predicted that: "Byzantium has been vanquished in a nearby territory, but following their defeat, they will be victors in a few years." (30: 2-4). Some years later, both predictions came true.
From what has been discussed above, it can be deduced that the Quran cannot be written by a human being. It is undoubtedly from a superior all-knowing all-wise source, which is Allah Almighty. Consequently, the Quran can be considered as one of Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) miracles, the greatest one, of course.
- H. El-Ramady, et al., "Soils and Human Creation in the Holy Quran from the Point of View of Soil Science," Env. Biodiv. Soil Security, vol. 3, pp. 1- 9, (2019).
In the first part of this article on the scientific facts in the Quran, some astronomical facts mentioned were discussed. Here, we review some interesting facts about nature, including some points about mountains, the origin of life, the position of the sky and the seas merging together.
The Quran has used the word stakes to describe mountains: “It is He who has spread out the earth and set in it firm mountains” (13:3), “Did We not make the earth a resting place? and the mountains stakes?” (78:6-7). It means that mountains have deep roots under the ground surface. Mountains do have deep roots, and the word stakes is an accurate description for them. This fact was discovered only in the latter half of the 19th century. The presence of the mountains on the ground also helps to stabilize the crust of the earth . They also hinder the earth-shaking. “He cast in the earth firm mountains lest it should shake with you” (16:15). This is known today under the theory of plate tectonics since the late 1960s .
Life of a human being starts in water. From conception to birth, a fetus is protected and cushioned in a sack of water. A human body needs water in all its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate its temperature and maintain other bodily functions. Plants also need enough hydration to perform photosynthesis, while animals consume water to carry out cell activity. Overall, water is an essential element for all living beings on earth. This fact was discovered only after the invention of the microscope. Now we know that all living things are made up of cells which are mostly made up of water. This fact has already been stated in the Quran: “We made every living thing out of water? Will they not then have faith?” (21:30).
The sky plays several essential roles as the protector of the earth, such as filtering out the lethal rays of the sun. If there were no sky, the sun’s radiations would have killed off all life on earth. The sky also acts as a blanket around the earth, which protects the living things from freezing out by the cold just above the sky that is approximately -270°C. The greenhouse effect is another role that the sky plays. By warming the surface of the earth by means of heat retention, the sky reduces temperature extremes between day and night . These protective roles of the sky were discovered by scientists in the 20th century. The Quran has mentioned this role of the sky as: “We made the sky a preserved roof and yet they are disregardful of its signs.” (21:32).
It has been discovered by the scientists that there is a barrier between the two different seas that meet. Hence, each of the seas has its own temperature, salinity, and density, like the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean water. Despite large waves, strong currents, and tides in these seas, they neither mix nor do they transgress this barrier . This phenomenon has been mentioned in the Quran as: “He merged the two seas, meeting each other. There is a barrier between them which they do not overstep.” (55:19-20). There is also a case where fresh (sweet) and saltwater meet. Here, the Quran talks about the existence of a forbidding partition along with the barrier: “It is He who merged the two seas: this one sweet and agreeable, and that one briny and bitter, and between the two He set a barrier and a forbidding hindrance.” (25:53). Modern science has discovered that in estuaries, where fresh and saltwater meet, there is a marked density discontinuity that separates the two layers. The salinity of this zone of separation (partition) is different from that of freshwater and that of saltwater. There is, therefore, the division of water in estuaries into three parts: freshwater, saltwater, and the partition .
Follow us on the last part of this topic to find out what the Quran has revealed about human embryonic development, clouds, and deep seas, and the creation of everything in pairs.