Divinely inspired prophets and messengers of Allah
June 21 2019 12:37 AM
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Muslims believe in prophets whom Allah, in His wisdom and mercy, sent to direct us to the right path. “And We have not sent before you (any) but men to whom We gave inspiration” (Al-Anbiya, 21:7). These prophets were men Allah inspired with guidance to convey to the message to their people at different times. Muslims are required to follow the prophets and those who emulate their way. In general, all the prophets are examples for us to emulate, as long as what they did has not been prohibited in the law of the Final Prophet. “They (the prophets) are those whom Allah has guided, so follow their guidance” (Al-An’am, 6:91).

The difference between a prophet and a messenger
The strongest opinion is that a nabiyy (prophet) is a man who has received inspiration from Allah. “And We have not sent before you (any) but men to whom We gave inspiration” (Al-Anbiya, 21:7). If a prophet received a new ruling different from the Shari’ah (law) of the prophets before him, he becomes a messenger as well. For example, Prophet Isa (Jesus) said, “I have come to you confirming what was before me of the Torah, and in order to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden to you” (Aali-’Imran, 3:50). Thus, Prophet Isa alayhis-salam was a prophet as well as a messenger. This means that every messengers is a prophet but not vice versa.

Distinction in belief
All the prophets and messengers were supported by signs and miracles from Allah, and it is a requirement of faith to accept every one of them, and to believe that they were following the clear truth. Unlike the Jews, Christians and others who accept some prophets and reject others, we make no distinction in believing in them all. So, anyone who rejects, for example, Adam, or Nuh, or Musa, or Isa, or Muhammad (peace and blessing of Allah be upon them all) is disbeliever, though he may claim to believe in the other prophets.
“Verily, those who disbelieve in Allah and His Messengers, seeking to make a distinction between (believing in) Allah and (believing in) His Messengers, saying, ‘We believe in some and reject others,’ seeking to take a path between (belief and rejection) – they are truly disbelievers. And We have prepared for the disbelievers and disgraceful punishment” (Al-Nisa, 4:150-151).


Distinction in rank
However, making no distinction between belief in the prophets does not mean that they are all equal in rank, and the Qur’an itself is clear about this. “Those are the messengers, We have caused some them to excel over others. Among them are those to whom Allah spoke, and He raised some them by ranks. We gave Jesus, son of Mary, clear proofs, and supported him with the Holy Spirit (Gabriel)” (Al-Baqarah, 2:253). “And indeed, We have caused some prophets to excel over others, and We gave David the Zabur” (Al-Isra, 17:54).
The most distinguished of all the prophets and messengers is the final Prophet, Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. He has said, “I am the master of the Children of Adam on the Day of Resurrection, and (I say this) without pride.” (Related by al Tirmithi, Ibn Majah and Ahmad). Next are prophets Ibrahim, Musa Isa and Nuh alayhimus-salam. These five prophets are known as “The Resolute Ones” (Ulul-’Azm).

Number of prophets
The exact number of Prophets Allah sent is not certain, but the Qur’an is quite clear that there were “messengers whom We have mentioned to you before, and messengers whom We have not mentioned to you” (Al-Nisa, 4:164).
It is obligatory, however, to believe in the 25 prophets mentioned by name in the Qur’an: Adam, Idris, Nuh (Noah), Hud (sent to the ‘Aad people), Salih (sent to the Thamud), Ibrahim (Abraham), Lut (Lot), Isma’eel (Ishmael), Is-haq (Isaac), Ya’qub (Jacob) also known as Isra’eel (Israel), Yusuf (Joseph), Ayyub (Job), Shu’ayb (sent to Madyan), Musa (Moses), Harun (Aaron), Dhul-Kifl (Ezekiel), Dawud (David), Sulayman (Solomon), Al-Yasa’, Illyas (Elias), Yunus (Jonah), Zakariyya (Zacharias), Yahya (John), Isa (Jesus) and Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon them all).

Characteristics of the Prophets
All the prophets of Allah share the following attributes:

Impeccability
Prophets are impeccable, meaning that they never commit sins. This is only rational, for Allah has ordered us to follow their example. “They are those whom Allah has guided, so follow their guidance” (Al-An’am, 6:91). Thus, if it were conceivable for them to sin, it would be permissible for us, also, to sin, which is clearly absurd. “Say, ‘Allah does not command shamefulness’” (Al-A’raf, 7:28). So those incidents which, on the surface may seem to suggest that some of the prophets sinned, must be interpreted in relative terms. Something which is praiseworthy for a wicked sinner might be blameworthy for a very pious person, because they are at different levels. Thus although the prophets did not sin, they may have done something which, although permissible, was not the most optimal deed for the situation. When this happened, Allah directed them to the better choice through divine inspiration.

Delivery of the message
All the prophets conveyed the message of Allah to their people, as they were commanded. “O Messenger! Convey that which has been revealed to you from your Lord. And, if you do not do that, then you have not conveyed His message” (Al-Ma’idah, 5:67). Allah describes the messengers as, “Those who convey the Message of Allah, and fear Him and fear none but Allah” (Al-Ahzab, 33:39). They did not hide anything, nor keep any of the message secret for only a selected, private group. In the Farewell Sermon, Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, called to Allah to bear witness that he had conveyed the message that was entrusted to him.

Intellectuality
All of the prophets were very intelligent, intellectual people, they often debated with the disbelievers and convinced them of the truth. We see, for example, the incident between Prophet Ibrahim and Nimrod, a king in Palestine. “[Ibrahim] said, ‘My Lord is the One Who gives life and death’” (Al-Baqarah, 2:258). Nimrod, in his arrogance, summoned two prisoners, then ordered one of them to be killed and the other to be set free. “He said, ‘I give life and death.’” When Prophet Ibrahim saw Nimrod’s obstinacy, he presented a more potent argument which could not possibly be argued. “Ibrahim said, ‘Indeed, Allah brings the sun from the east, so bring it from the west.’ Thus, the disbeliever was confounded” (Al-Baqarah, 2:258).
Consider also the exchange between Prophet Musa alayhis-salam and Pharoah. Pharoah asked Musa, “Who then, is the lord of you two, O Musa?” Musa replied, “Our Lord is He Who gave everything its nature and then guided [it].” This drove home the reality that Pharoah could not create anything, and it is therefore understandable that Pharoah should try to change the subject. “He said, ‘What, then, is the fate of the former generations?’” Musa alayhis-salam very cleverly answers this question, but at the same time steers the conversation back to the main point namely: Tawheed. “[Musa] said: knowledge of them is with my Lord in a record. My Lord neither errs nor forgets. [He is] the One Who has made the earth a cradle for you, and threaded roads for you therein, and sent down rain from the sky” (Ta-Ha, 20:49-53). From this incident, we take a valuable lesson. We should be careful not to be sidetracked into peripheral issues when we are making da’wah.
Having familiarised ourselves with the attributes of prophets, it should be evident that the opposite of these attributes can never be attributed to them. Similarly, it is not possible for them to be afflicted with any repulsive or contagious disease which would cause dispersion of people from around them, since this would not allow them to convey the message. However, any other mortal attributes which do not diminish from respectability or accessibility, such as hunger, thirst and non-repulsive diseases, are plausible for them.

The Final Prophet
Allah’s final Prophet and Messenger is Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, Ibn Abdul Muttalib, Ibn Hashim, Ibn Abdul-Manaf, of the Arab tribe of Quraysh, of the descendants of Isma’eel, of the progeny of Ibrahim. His message is for all of mankind until the Day of Judgment. He is a role model for us. “Indeed, there is an excellent example for you in the Messenger of Allah, for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day, and who remembers Allah much” (Al-Ahzab, 33:21). Prophet Muhammad’s Message has abrogated those of all the Prophet before him. Allah took a covenant from every prophet such that if he were to encounter Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, he would believe in him and follow him, (see surah Aali-’Imran, ayah 81). The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said, “There is no Jew, or Christian, who hears about me, and then does not believe in me and that which I have brought, except that Allah must enter him into the Fire” (Related  by Muslim). He also said, “By Allah! Even if Musa were alive, in your midst, it would not be lawful for him [to do anything] save to follow me” (Related by Abu Ya’la).
The essence of belief in the messengers is to have an unwavering conviction of their prophethood and the truthfulness of their message without distinction. Additionally, Prophet Muhammad is the Seal of the Prophets and Messengers. While the message of the other prophets was to specific nations, his is for the entire humanity until the Day of Judgment.

Motivation boosters
Unquestionably, being highly motivated is one of the favours that Allah The Almighty bestows upon whomever He wills from His slaves. Being the Ever-Wise, He has created people in varying physical and mental capabilities. However, He has made strength of mind attainable through adopting certain actions and means. Here, we shall briefly enumerate some motivation boosters, hoping that Allah The Almighty will grant it to us:
1. Sincerity
Forgetting the creation by taking into consideration only their Creator urges a person to do noble things because one realises that Allah The Almighty is indeed, of all things, Seeing. Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “The righteous intention is like a booster shot for high motivation; when they fuse, one can attain his [or her] sublime objectives.”
2. Truthfulness
The person who is honest in his or her determination and actions is a highly motivated person; this quality entitles him or her to enjoy happiness in both worlds. In determination, truthfulness denotes decisiveness without hesitation; and, in actions, it means exerting one’s utmost efforts to achieve a set target. While the first protects an individual from weakness of motivation and will, the second shields him or her from lethargy and slackness.
3. Knowledge
The one who believes that knowledge and ignorance are equal or who is content with his or her status does not have any motivation. There can be no doubt that knowledge boosts a person’s drive, removing him or her from the disgrace of ignorance and blind imitation, and purifies his or her intention.
Shaykh Mohammad Ismaa‘eel says in ‘Uluww Al-Himmah: “Knowledge makes one aware of the levels of deeds. Hence, he [or she] avoids excessive indulgence in enjoying permissible things, which detract him [or her] from worship, such as overeating or oversleeping, and observes a balance between, and moderation in, rights and duties, regarding which the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention), said: “Give each [thing or individual] its due right.” Furthermore, knowledge makes one aware of Satan’s plots and tactics of confusing him [or her] as a way to prevent him [or her] from doing acts that are greater in reward.”
Ibn al-Qayyim said: “The degree of the person who pursues knowledge of the levels of deeds and noble acts, determines the extent of his [or her] knowledge of the increase and decrease in status and faith.”
4. Attentiveness
This quality separates a man from the heedless, makes him avoid the deeds of the ignorant, protects him from slackness and boosts his motivation to the extent that he is restless until he comes to inhabit Paradise, whose width is equivalent to the heavens and earth. A person who wants to be ambitious must completely avoid the company of the reckless, which he or she would only come to regret. It was narrated that after the Battle of Badr, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, invited Thul-Jawshan Adh-Dhabaabi to Islam, and said: “Do you not want to be one of the early Muslims?” When the man replied in the negative, he, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, asked: “What is the reason behind your refusal?” Thul-Jawshan answered: “I saw that your people disbelieved in you, expelled and fought you. If you managed to defeat them, I would believe in you and follow you; otherwise I would not.” Later, Thul-Jawshan regretted that he did not convert to Islam when the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, invited him.
5. Decisiveness
Hesitation causes the slave of Allah The Almighty to miss out on many blessings, stunting him or her while others move on. Only a resolute person can attain his or her goal; therefore, do not be uncertain and worried, and destroy yourself with doubts, which only lead to further qualms. Instead, contemplate the verses where Allah The Almighty Says (what means):
{And when you have resolved, then rely upon Allah.} [Qur’an 3:159]
{And when the matter [of fighting] was determined, if they had been true to Allah, it would have been better for them.} [Qur’an 47:21]
6. Consciousness of the value and honour of the soul
This does not mean that man should be arrogant or conceited; rather, he has to understand that as a human being, he is superior to all other creations of Allah The Almighty. Therefore, he should be keen on exalting himself and increasing his worth through righteous deeds, knowledge, persistence and research, and by culturally refining himself, enlightening his mind, and igniting ambition and nobility within his soul.
Dear brother and sister; remember that Allah The Almighty made His angels prostrate to you and placed them at your service. How many of them are there in the heavens who never sleep yet do not attain any exalted degree? On the other hand, Allah The Almighty Himself praises those people who leave their beds to worship Him for a while, when He Says (what means): {Their sides forsake their beds.} [Qur’an 32:16]
How many angels exist in the sky, who never taste food or drink, but they have no distinction? On the contrary, when a human being abstains from eating and drinking for a while, he or she is praised by Allah The Almighty and His Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, who said: “The breath of the fasting person is sweeter to Allah than the fragrance of musk.” The angels pray for us and the bearers of the Throne ask Allah The Almighty to forgive us. Let us then, dear brother and sister, search our souls and bear its value in mind; we will then become highly motivated.
7. Supplication
We chose to mention this factor at the end of the article because it is the widest and nearest gate to all types of blessings; the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “The most miserly of people is the one who is mean with [offering] greetings; and the most incapable [of them] is the one who is unable of making supplication.” The Prophet also said: “There is nothing [of acts of worship] that is more honourable [in the sight of Allah] than invocation.”
Therefore, we have to draw close to our Protector through the door of humility and submission. We must supplicate to Him, saying: “Ilaahi wa Sayyidi wa Mawlaay, anta aslahta as-saaliheen, wa-a‘layta himamahum, faj‘alna minhum, wa alhiqna bihim fee ‘illiyeen (O my Lord, Master and Protector, You have reformed the righteous and boosted their motivation; make us from them and make us join them in the most exalted of ranks).”
Article source: http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/


1. Seeking perfection and rising above inadequacy
The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam  (may Allah exalt his mention), said: “Allah likes what is noble and dislikes what is petty”, meaning every act that is bad and inferior. The Qur’an urges us to strive for excellence, as that act differentiates between good and bad, those who are knowledgeable and those who are not, those who fight and those who abstain, and between pioneers and loiterers.
In various verses, it favours those who are more esteemed in terms of perfection. For instance, Allah The Almighty Says (what means):
{Is one who is devoutly obedient during periods of the night, prostrating and standing [in prayer], fearing the Hereafter and hoping for the mercy of his Lord, [like one who does not]? Say, “Are those who know equal to those who do not know?” Only they will remember [who are] people of understanding.} [Qur’an 39:9]
{Not equal are those believers remaining [at home] - other than the disabled - and the mujaahidoon, [who strive and fight] in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives. Allah has preferred the mujaahidoon through their wealth and their lives over those who remain [behind], by degrees. And to both Allah has promised the best [reward]. But Allah has preferred the mujaahidoon over those who remain [behind] with a great reward.} [Qur’an 4:95]
Likewise, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, urged his Ummah toward attaining perfection and rising above shortcomings. He said: “The strong believer is better and dearer to Allah than the weak believer and in each one there is goodness. Be eager to [do] what is beneficial and seek the Help of Allah and never be weak.”
Moreover, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “The one who does not work hard will not be saved by his honourable lineage.” Thus, whoever desires to be highly motivated should aspire to perfection and overcome trivial matters.
2. Abandoning worldly pleasures
In other words, despising life and being wary of its domination and control over the heart is significant. Once, ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul-‘Aziz sought the advice of Al-Hasan, may Allah have mercy upon them, who wrote to him, saying, “The most important factor in becoming virtuous and guiding others to righteousness is forsaking worldly pleasures. This is achieved by conviction, which, in turn, is attained through contemplation that stems from being heedful. If you think carefully about life, you will find it unworthy of your selling yourself for its sake; and, you will discover that you merit being honoured by caring little about this world, for it is only a place of trials and is transitory.”
Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqaas, may Allah be pleased with him, narrates: “A man came to the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and asked him to offer him concise advice. He said, ‘Give up hope in [possessing] what others have and be cautious of greed, which is ongoing poverty. If you pray, do so as if it were your last prayer; and beware of doing what obliges you to offer apologies.’”
Indeed, the one who renounces worldly pleasures will end up having a taste of the bliss of Paradise and the status of being close to Allah The Almighty.
3. Being concerned with one’s own affairs
Occupying oneself with matters related to others, which have no effect on the individual, is a bad habit that wastes time. And, time is a person’s capital, so squandering it without doing anything useful for one’s life or religion is indeed unfavourable. Hence, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “It is of a man’s goodness in faith that he leaves what does not concern him.”
4. Refraining from wasting one’s time
Again, time is life and the lucky person is the one who makes optimum use of it by capitalising on its every moment. Those with high motivation invest every second wisely; they are always keen on making the best use of their time, so much so that even personal tragedies do not prevent them from that.
Ibn al-Katheer may Allah have mercy upon him, for example, wrote his great books, like Jaami’ Al-‘Usool and An-Nihaayah fi Ghareeb Al-Hadith, when he was physically impaired. As-Sarakhsi ,may Allah have mercy upon him, penned his famous treatise Al-Mabsoot, which consists of 15 volumes, while he was imprisoned. Also, Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon, him wrote Zaad Al-Ma‘aad while he was travelling and Al-Qurtubi, may Allah have mercy upon, him wrote an explanation of Sahih Muslim while on board a ship.
5. Striving against vain desires
There are people who exert great efforts for the sake of a whim or worthless desires. However, a highly motivated person expends much energy on behalf of his or her beliefs and propagation of Islam. The worshipper does not rest except in Paradise, which spans an area as wide as the heavens and the earth. The path is easy only for those who know [what they would like to be] their destination. Thus, strive against your own vain desires to win the greatest honour.
It was also said that a man reaches perfection only when he gives precedence to his religion over his desires, and if he instead prioritises fulfilling his whims, he will be destroyed.
That is why the strictly devout would train themselves to contradict their personal wants, even if they may be lawful, so as to habituate themselves to the concept of abandoning fancies altogether. Hence, whoever strives against his or her vain desires and demonstrates diligence in that will certainly reap what he or she sows; and, indeed acquiring virtues requires great efforts.



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