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Who Is Muhammad (sa)

 

"And certainly, thou hast an exalted character." LXVIII:4

"Verily We have sent thee, in truth, as a bearer of glad tidings and a warner But of thee no question shall be asked of the companions of the Blazing Fire." II:119

"Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the rasul [1]of Allah, and the seal of the nabiys [2] and Allah has the full Knowledge of all things." XXXIII:40

Therefore, the message is quite clear that Muhammad (SA), was the rasul and the nabiy of Almighty Allah and that he was the last nabiy. These two words have been much misused and misinterpreted by Muslims and non Muslims alike. Therefore, it is important to define them for clarity:

Rasul:[3]The Arabic root for this word is "R‑S‑L", which denotes ideas such as message, letter, mission, delivering, and many others. Various words have been derived from this root. Two of these words are important in the contextof our work:

* Risalah, meaning Mission, Apostleship, Message, Letter, Epistle, and

* Rasul, meaning Envoy, Messenger, Apostle.

Nabiy: [4]The Arabic root is "N‑B‑'A", which denotes the idea of infor mation and news. There are many words derived from this root, and all of them have to do with news and information; a few examples are: to announce (news) to anyone, to inform one another of, to prophesy, to enquire, the giver of news or information etc. In particular, there are three words which are important in the context of this work:

* nubuwwah, meaning Prophecy,

* nably (plural: anbiya'), meaning Prophet,

* nabawiyy, meaning Prophetic.

Therefore, a nabiy is one with whom Allah, the Exalted, has established a divine link. Ordinary pious people can also be inspired by Almighty Allah, but a nabiy, at a much higher level, can bring back Divine information (news) on what people have questioned.

A rasul, on the other hand, is commissioned with a major task, and is the Almighty Allah's ambassador and envoy to establish the "principles" of the way of life (dins). Therefore, nubuwwah (the ability to communicate with Allah) is a prerequisite for Risalah (being commissioned, Apostleship), and any rasul is automatically a nabiy (Prophet) by definition. But not all nabiys are, necessarily, rasals. It is maintained that there have been some 124,000 nabiys and about 313 rasuls of Allah. 

The word "seal" in this ayah asserts the completion of The Divine Message. When a document is sealed it is complete; no further additions, deletions, substitutions, or modifications can be made. Allah's guidance is and will always be continuous but there is no need for further nabiys to do so. The Final Divine Message is complete, according to this ayah, and no additional Prophecies are to be expected. Until the manifestation of Imam Al‑Mahdi (A.F.), people will need thinkers and religious leaders ‑ but not a new nabiy ‑ to explore the truth already revealed in the Glorious Qur'an and the ahadith.This is not an arbitrary matter. It is a decree full of Divine Knowledge and Wisdom, as the above ayah says "and Allah has the full Knowledge of all things" immediately after asserting the completion of The Divine Message.

In order to bypass the above ayah and gain legitimacy for post‑Islamic religious groups, some people argue that, unlike Muhammad (SA), who was arasul and a nabiy, their religious leader is at a higher level, and need not claim to be a nabiy. They say their rasul could communicate with Allah, the Exalted, at his position of Risalah without being a nabiy, thus the above ayahand the seal of nubuwwah do not apply to their leader. They forget the element of interdependency (one entity being the prerequi site to another).Nubuwwah (being a nabiy) is a prerequisite for Risalah (being a rasul).

To do away with the above reasoning, they use a different terminology, insteadof rasul. They make use of expressions such as "the Manifestation of God" or "the Reformer", and so on. The fact remains that the Miracu lous Qur'an cannot be tricked. How can the Reformer, the Manifestation, or the Messenger in any name or terminology, perform God's mission without being in communication with Him? This is the beauty of the powerful language of the Glorious Qur'an, full of absolute wisdom.

These examples are given to illustrate why the position of a rasul is much higher than that of a nabiy. Such a clear distinction does not exist in the English language and much confusion and misunderstanding are ex perienced when one talks about apostles, prophets, messengers, saints, disciples, and so forth. For example, in English, the word apostle is used even for saints, such as St Paul, St John, and other disciples. This lack

of clarity can also deceive people into the creed of a few post‑Islamic "religious" groups which contradict the universal and eternal ayat of Allah the Exalted (as presented above)

 

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