By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
16 May 2022
Every Prophet Came With Distinct Signs From Allah Which Were Sufficient To Convince The People That The Messenger Was Truly A Messenger Of Allah
1. Those people who tried to annihilate the prophet and the believers were destroyed by an act of God.
2. To follow the moral code voluntarily and enthusiastically requires an understanding of why it is the best course to follow.
3. People of faith including the prophets never understood everything and, therefore, even the prophets were asked to pray.
Does Allah demand blind faith? Never in the history of religion has Allah ever demanded blind faith. Every prophet came with distinct signs from Allah which were sufficient to convince the people that the Messenger was truly a Messenger of Allah. We know the stories of these prophets such as Noah, Abraham, Lut Moses, Jesus etc.(peace be on all the prophets).
Not that everyone believed despite the unmistakable and convincing signs. The fact is that very few believed. In the case of several of the prophets such as Noah, Lut, Saleh, Hud, and Shoaib, their people who rejected belief were destroyed by an act of God. In the case of Moses, the pharaoh and his army who followed Moses and his people with an intention to kill them were drowned. From the stories of the prophets, we understand that only those people who tried to annihilate the prophet and the believers and/or taunted that the calamity threatened in the Message to be brought on if the prophet was speaking the truth, were destroyed by an act of God. There are stories of several other prophets whose people also did not accept faith but were not destroyed. This was because their rejection was not haughty and violent, and they did not taunt and challenge the prophet to bring on the calamity if he was speaking the truth. Their rejection was benign and such people were not destroyed by an act of God.
The distinct signs providing unmistakable proof of Allah, therefore, formed the initial basis of faith. Thereafter, the believer is asked to repose complete faith in Allah and His Messenger. This was necessary since Allah’s Deen or the moral way of living is counterintuitive and wouldn’t have made any sense to the people. To follow the moral code voluntarily and enthusiastically requires an understanding of why it is the best course to follow. This understanding came only after thousands of years of practicing the code as a religious duty. This process is covered in my article:
We, therefore, find in the Bible,
Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts gain rich understanding.
However, while “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” (Proverbs 1:7)
It was necessary to first practice His precepts to gain an understanding of the wisdom behind those precepts. So, how can people be made to practice anything if the wisdom behind the practice is unknown? From the fear of the lawgiver. The fear of the Lord was therefore the beginning of the process of acquiring wisdom and knowledge of the nature of God.
We, therefore, find that every Messenger to whom the law was revealed, was also a ruler, who could lay down the law, as well as ensure that it was obeyed from the fear of the punishment in this world, prescribed for transgressions.
The Situation When The Quran Was Revealed
After practicing Allah’s Deen for thousands of years, the moral rules permeated civilized society. The wisdom behind each rule was being discussed by the philosophers and there was no one who questioned these rules, and these had become the law of the land. The believers followed the rules based on their religious beliefs and the disbelievers from the fear of the consequences of breaking the law of the land and from the fear of the risk of reputation in society. This situation remains unchanged and continues till today.
It is therefore no longer necessary to invoke the fear of God because the rules now make good empirical sense. You will, therefore, not find in the Quran anything like the proverbs cited above. The Quran goes a step further and declares:
(256) Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.
The above cannot be construed as a license to disregard the religion because there are consequences in the Hereafter for those who deviate from the religion of Allah. In this world, however, there is no longer any need for compulsion because ‘Truth now stands out clear from Error’.
From the above discussion, it must be clear, why unquestioning faith was necessary, to follow what did not make sense, but such faith was not demanded without a sign from Allah, appropriate for those times, that was sufficient to convince the people that they were reposing faith in an entity worthy of their trust.
The situation stands unchanged. Even today, there are many who may not understand the wisdom behind every verse of the Quran. People of faith including the prophets never understood everything and, therefore, even the prophets were asked to pray:
20:114 "O my Lord! advance me in knowledge."
People of faith seek Allah’s help to understand what may initially not make sense to them and are sure to find an answer provided they shed all their pre-conceived notions formed from every other source and repose their complete faith in the Quran and on Allah’s guidance. This is for those verses that they find disturbing and not for verses whose lack of understanding does not shake up their faith. There are many verses in the Quran that are signs for our times but not for those of the bygone ages as these could not have made any sense to the prophet or to the people until their truth was confirmed by science such as the verses on the creation of the universe and on procreation discussed in my article:
These verses are sufficient proof that the Quran is the word of Allah and a firm basis for reposing faith in the Book. These verses are also proof that the Quran is not outdated because it was revealed 1400 years ago. Clearly, the Book is ageless, when it has verses that make sense only today because it took us 1400 years to acquire the necessary knowledge from the pursuit of science to understand them.
Dealing With Doubt
For those verses that a reader finds disturbing, he should seek Allah’s help with patient perseverance and if he does that, he is sure to find the answer that will satisfy him.
There are certain qualities of head and heart which make some people repose such faith and there are flaws of character that make such faith difficult. The guidance is for the people of Taqwa as per verse 2:2 and Taqwa in this context is persevering patiently and in good faith fully expecting Allah’s help in finding an answer.
(47:17) But to those who receive Guidance, He increases the (light of) Guidance, and bestows on them their Piety and Restraint (from evil).
Those with a flaw in their character will never cease to doubt unless they first identify and work on their flaw with a prayer to Allah seeking help. The doubting Thomas’s who exult and enjoy debating with the believers trying to make doubters out of them will never return to the correct path. It is about such people that Allah says:
(2:10) In their hearts is a disease; and Allah has increased their disease: And grievous is the penalty they (incur), because they are false (to themselves).
Effect Of The Ayats On The People Of Faith And The Disbelievers
(9:124) Whenever there cometh down a sura, some of them say: "Which of you has had His faith increased by it?" Yea, those who believe,- their faith is increased and they do rejoice.
(125) But those in whose hearts is a disease,- it will add doubt to their doubt, and they will die in a state of Unbelief.
(126) See they not that they are tried every year once or twice? Yet they turn not in repentance, and they take no heed.
(127) Whenever there cometh down a Sura, they look at each other, (saying), "Doth anyone see you?" Then they turn aside: Allah hath turned their hearts (from the light); for they are a people that understand not.
(128) Now hath come unto you a Messenger from amongst yourselves: it grieves him that ye should perish: ardently anxious is he over you: to the Believers is he most kind and merciful.
(129) But if they turn away, Say: "Allah sufficeth me: there is no god but He: On Him is my trust,- He the Lord of the Throne (of Glory) Supreme!"
A frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com, Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He has spent years studying Quran in-depth and made seminal contributions to its interpretation.
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