The Quran and the Aims of Prophecy
Hawzah News Agency –In the previous article we asserted, through intellectual argument, the necessity of divinely-guided Messengers. Now we ought to address the necessity of prophecy by focusing upon its aims, doing so from the point of view of the Qur’an and Hadith. It should be stressed, however, that the Qur’anic perspective on this question constitutes in itself a form of ‘intellectual analysis’, [that is, what the Quran teaches accords with what the intellect perceives [. The Quran relates the purpose of the raising up of Prophets to the following factors:
1. The consolidation of the foundation of Tawhid, and opposition to all forms of deviation therefrom. As it is said:
And verily We have raised in every nation a Messenger [proclaiming]: Serve God and shun false gods. (Sura al-Nahl, XVI: 36)
Thus, the divinely-inspired Prophets were in constant conflict with the polytheists, having to undergo great tribulations as a result. Imam Ali said, in relation to the aims of the raising up of Prophets by God:
The Prophets were appointed in order ‘to teach [God’s] slaves about their Lord that of which they were ignorant; to instruct them about His lordship after their denial] of it]; and to cause them to declare Him one in divinity after their deviation [from it].
2. To teach mankind the sciences of religion, the divine messages, and to show them the right path, and the way of purification. As the Qur’an says:
He it is Who hath sent among the unlettered ones a Messenger of their own, to recite unto them His revelations and to make them grow [in purity], and to teach them the Scripture and wisdom... (Sura al-Jum‘a, LXII: 2)
3. Establishing justice in human society. As the Quran says:
We verily sent Our Messengers with clear proofs, and revealed with them the Scripture and the Balance, that mankind might observe right measure... (Sura al-Hadid, LVII: 25)
Evidently, the establishment of justice requires the one who knows what justice calls for in a whole range of fields, and on different levels; and then the one who brings it to fruition according to the dictates of divine governance.
4. Providing authoritative judgment in diverse matters. As it is said:
Mankind were one community and God sent Prophets as bearers of good tidings and as warners and revealed therewith the Scripture with the truth that it might judge between mankind concerning that wherein they differed. (Sura al-Baqara, II: 213)
It is clear that disputation amongst men is not confined to the domain of beliefs, but is found in diverse areas of human life.
5. To put an end to arguments against God by His slaves. As the Quran says:
Messengers bearing good news and warning, in order that mankind might have no argument against God after the Messengers. God is ever Mighty, Wise. (Sura al Nisa, IV: 165)
It is obvious that God had a purpose in creating man, and this purpose was to be effected by means of the ordination of a perfect plan in all human affairs; and this plan had to be established by God for all people in such a manner that there could be no further possibility of arguing with Him, or proffering excuses by saying, for example, ‘I did not know the right way to conduct my life.
Ayatollah Jafar Sobhani, Doctrines of Shii Islam, A Compendium of Imami Beliefs and Practices, Translated and Edited by Reza Shah-Kazemi, published by I.B.Tauris Publishers, london • new york 2003