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Muhammad was neither last prophet nor last messenger

Introduction

There are many misconceptions among the people who claim them Muslims around Prophet Muhammad who delivered the Quran as guidance and reminder for the people of the world. While there are many but a snapshot of those are: he has been the founder of Islam, he had the authority to add rituals or steps to it, he has been assigned many hadiths as his sayings and sunnah as his deeds, he has been alive in his grave to respond our salaam,  he will intercede on a day of the Judgment, he is the latest and the greatest prophet, he is the last prophet as well as the last messenger and he is the last prophet but not the last messenger. As a result, Islam, a God-given religion has been corrupted to focus on him as a person even corrupting our faith affixing to it his name as a messenger of God. God is merciful and has given us a way that we can get rid of these misconceptions that make worthless of our all works due to idol worshipping (4:48 and 4:116).

However, the study of the following pieces of information in details may help us to understand that Muhammad has neither been the last prophet nor the last messenger but he has been a messenger prophet, who delivered the last edition of the God’s scripture as guidance and reminder for the people of the world:

Definition of the prophet

God has defined the prophet associating scripture and prophethood, and in some cases wisdom with it that we do not miss it being driven by the Satan as reflected in the following verses of the Quran:

[2:213] The people had been one community as God raised up the prophets as bearers of good news and warners, and He sent down with them the scripture with the truth that it may judge between the people in what they had differed in it. And they had not differed in it except those who have been given it after which the clear proofs came to them, out of jealously among themselves. Then God has guided those who have believed of what they differed in it of the truth with His permission. And God guides whoever He wills to a straight path.
Note: What has been clarified is the definition of the prophet including the scripture being the source of resolving all disputes among different groups and the more we study the scripture, the more we will learn from it.

[6:89] Those are the ones we gave them the scripture, wisdom, and prophethood. If these people disbelieve, then we have entrusted with it to a people who are not disbelievers in it.
Note: If we read the verses 83-86 of Sura 6 (al-an’`aam), we read 18 names starting with Abraham and ending with Lot while the verse 89 confirms that all these 18 were prophets of God.

[19:30] He (Jesus) said: “Indeed, I am a servant of God. He has given me the scripture and has made me a prophet.”

[29:27] And we granted him (Abraham) Isaac and Jacob, and we gave his descendants the prophethood and the scripture, and we gave him his reward in this world. And indeed, in the Hereafter he is surely, among the righteous.
Note: There is a clear indication in the verse that many of Abraham’s descendants were given the prophethood and the scripture.

[45:16] And we have given the Children of Israel the Scripture, and the wisdom, and the prophethood, and we provided them with good provisions; and we preferred them over the worlds.
Note: The Children of Israel have not only been given the scripture but they have also been bestowed many other favors to guide them to the right path.

[57:26] And we sent Noah and Abraham, and we granted their descendants prophethood and the scripture. Some of them were guided while many were wicked.
Note: The prophethood is consistently associated with the scripture to confirm the definition of the prophet who received the scripture.

Definition of the messenger

The definition of the prophet found in the verses of the Quran is very straightforward, which provides us with enough information to understand the difference between the two terms, prophet and messenger. while God has given us opportunity to confirm the definition of messenger as well focusing on the function of “prophet” and “messenger” including these two terms not being the same as well:

[3:81] And when God took a covenant from the prophets: “Certainly, whatever I have given you of scripture and wisdom, then a messenger has come to you confirming that which is with you. You must believe in him and you must support him.” He said: “Have you affirmed and taken My covenant on that?” They said: “We have affirmed.” He said: “Then you shall bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses.”
Note: This verse has not only exactly described the function of the prophet and the messenger but it is a confirmation of God’s covenant taken from the prophets placed in every scripture to send a messenger after delivery of all the scriptures.

[33:7] And we have taken their covenant from the prophets, and from you (Muhammad), and from Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, son of Mary. And we have taken a solemn covenant from them.
Note Here is an indication that the covenant from the prophets to send a messenger has been placed in the Quran given to Muhammad and the scripture revealed to Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, son of Mary while there is also indication that the prophet delivers the scripture.

According to the verse, 3:81, prophet delivers scripture while messenger is commissioned by God to deliver other form of message, but he does not bring a scripture. However, since both the prophet and the messenger deliver God’s message, every “Prophet” is a messenger but not every “Messenger” is a prophet. In addition, many of us claim that the words prophet and messenger have the same meaning, which is a misconception that has reflected in the following verse (22:52):

[22:52] And we have not sent any messenger (rasuulin) of your before nor a prophet (nabiyyin), when he had recited except the Satan cast in his recitation, while God annuls what the Satan cast. Then God establishes His revelations, and God is Knower, Wise.
Note: If the words “prophet” and “messenger” had the same meaning, God would not be saying “any messenger nor a prophet” in the statement, then mentioning one of them would have been sufficient.

Muhammad has been a messenger prophet

God has chosen from us from time to time to guide humanity to a right direction, of them some are prophets and some are messengers while He has told us in the Quran that prophets are messengers but not all messengers are prophets. Even He has blessed us to derive from the Quran that He sent 20 prophets while He has told us in it that He has sent an unknown number of messengers. However, in some expressions in the Quran, the word, “Rasuul” has defined by adding it to “Nabiyya”, and like many other prophets Muhammad has been designated as a messenger prophet, which has reflected in the following verses including being a gentile prophet:

[7:157] Those who follow the messenger, the gentile prophet (Muhammad), whom they find written in the Torah and the Gospel with them. He urges them with the guided, and forbids them from the evil, and makes lawful for them the good things, and makes unlawful for them the bad things, and relieves from them their burdens and of the shackles which has been upon them. Those who have believed in him, and have honored him, and have supported him, and have followed the light which has been sent down with him – those are they who are the successful ones.

[7:158] Say, “O people, I am God’s messenger to you all, the One to Whom is sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. There is no god except He, Who gives life and causes death.” So, you shall believe in God and His messenger, the gentile prophet, who believes in God and His words. You shall follow him, that you may guide.
Note: Through the above verses, the contemporary Jews and Christians were commanded to follow the message that came down to gentile prophet Muhammad who had no knowledge of the Torah and the Gospel when he had direct contact with the people. The phrases that end these two verses are very crucial for us to reflect on the message for which Muhammad was a prophet. However, none can find any logic to interpret it to be an order from God for the believers of the subsequent generations to praise him or follow his sayings or how he had led his family life as well. Thus, a believer would make focus on the message sent with the messenger to be among the successful ones.

Message (Quran)is a messenger of God

It is very common and we do not have any difficulty to understand that angel and human have been mentioned in the Quran being messenger of God while He has often called the message sent down being His messenger “rasuul” in certain instances in certain texts that can be confirmed upon reviewing the following straightforward verses of the Quran:

[5:15] O people of the scripture, has come to you our messenger (rasuulunaa) making clear for you many of what you have been concealing of the scripture and overlooking of many. Certainly, has come to you from God a light and a clear scripture.
Note: God has addressed the Jews and the Christians in the Quran, a light and clear scripture has been sent down from Him being His messenger to clarify what has been concealed and overlooked by them in the earlier scripture. Hence, our messenger as mentioned in the verse without any doubt is the message (Quran) as the human messenger, Muhammad has not been informed of what has been concealed and overlooked being gentile prophet (7:157-158, 2:78).

[65:10] God has prepared for them a severe punishment. So, you shall fear God, O possessors of the understanding of those who have believed. Certainly, God has sent down to you all a message (dhikran) –

[65:11] a messenger (rasuulan) reciting to you all God’sclear revelations that it may bring out those who have believed and have done the righteous deeds from the darkness into the light. And whoever believes in God and does as righteous, He will admit him into gardens, flow the rivers underneath them, abiding therein forever. Certainly, God has granted good provision for him.
Note: The message as mentioned in 65:10 refers to a messenger (Quran) in 65:11that recites God’s clear revelations to bring out those who have believed and have done the righteous deeds from the darkness into the light.

Fulfillment of God’s covenant from prophets

The covenant has been fulfilled through sending a messenger, which has been placed in every scripture including the Quran (3:81 and 33:7) connected with divine promises to protect it from any distortion (15:9) and when the people have been with His revelations do not ascertain what to believe and practice (27:82) for avoiding misinterpretation of the Quran by the learned as well as misconceptions and unauthorized practices in the God’s religion introduced by tradition and the so called scholars:

[3:81] And God has taken a covenant from the prophets: “Certainly, whatever I have given you of scripture and wisdom, then a messenger has come to you confirming that which is with you. You must believe in him and you must support him.” He said: “Have you affirmed and taken My covenant on that?” They said: “We have affirmed.” He said: “Then you shall bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses.”

[33:7] And when we have taken their covenant from the prophets, and from you (Muhammad), and from Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, son of Mary. And we have taken a solemn covenant from them.

[15:9] Indeed, we have revealed the reminder (Quran), and indeed, we will certainly be protectors of it.

[27:82] And when the punishment has fulfilled upon them, we have brought forth for them a creature from the earth speaks to them that the people have been with our revelations do not ascertain.
Note: Computer is a creature that can be used to ascertain what we have with us of God’s revelations.

[74:30] Over it is nineteen.
Note: 19 is a sign of supporting the messenger to unveil the Quran’s mathematical coding for the human race.

No distinction between any of prophet/messenger

There are two sets of verses in the Quran where God has commanded us not to make a distinction between any of His prophets and messengers is very crucial for us to avoid the figure worshiping for focusing on any particular prophet/messenger of God:

[2:136] Say: “We believe in God and in what was sent down to us and what was sent down to Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the Patriarchs, and what was given to Moses and Jesus, and what was given to the prophets from their Lord; we do not make a distinction between any of them and to Him we are submitters.”

[3:84] Say: “We believe in God and what was sent down to us and what was sent down to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Patriarchs, and what was given to Moses and Jesus and the prophets from their Lord. We do not make any distinction between them, and to Him we are submitters.”
Note: The commandment of not to make a distinction between any prophet referring prophets by name in the above verses.

[2:285] The messenger believes in what was sent down to him from his Lord. And the believers, all who believe in God, and His angles, and His scriptures, and His messengers; we do not make a distinction between any of His messengers; and they said: “We hear and obey, forgive us our Lord, and to you is our destiny.”

[4:152] And those who believe in God and His messengers and do not make a distinction between any of them, we will give them their rewards. And God is Forgiving, Merciful.
Note: The commandment of not to make a distinction between any messenger referring to the messengers in the above verses.

Focusing on scripture not on whom blessed with it

All prophets have advocated to worship God as what has learned from the scripture given to them while excessive focus on any prophet as a person makes the followers idol worshipers nullifying their all works. While it is a regret that our faith, salat prayers and even a call for the salat prayers are corrupted with adding Muhammad’s name violating the commandment of God as well as misinterpreting His commandment in the Quran:

[3:79] It has not been for a human that God gives him the scripture, and the wisdom and the prophethood, then he says to the people: “You shall be worshipers of me other than God!” rather: “You shall be worshipers of Lord of what you have been teaching of the scriptureand of what you have been learning.”

[7:3] You shall all follow what has been revealed to you from your Lord, and you are not to follow any allies other than Him. Little is what you remember.

[33:56] Indeed, God and His angels help and support the prophet. O you who believed, you shall help and support him, and shall regard him as he should be regarded.

The final edition of God’s scripture

Even the message is coded in every instance of rasuul being it an accusative noun according to Arabic grammar, but certain instances of it directly refer to God’s message to be His messenger. Muhammad has been mentioned 4 times by name in the Quran but as a messenger of God in 3:144 and 48:29 while the message, the Quran given to him has been mentioned as a messenger of God and a seal of the prophets in 33:40 indicating the end of prophethood, which also conforms to a prophecy in the Quran of coming a messenger upon the delivery of all the scripture (3:81 and 33:7):

[33:40] Muhammad has not been a father of anyone of your men but has had a messenger of God and a seal of the prophets, and God has done being Knower of everything.
Note: What has been given to Muhammad has been a messenger of God and a seal of the prophets, which clearly indicates that the prophethood has ended but not the messengership, and the Quran is the final edition of God’s scripture to guide humanity until the end of the world. This commandment in the Quran prevents us from falling into idol worship focusing on Muhammad as a person considering him the latest and the greatest prophet of the world, even what we see here is in 3:79.

Respecting prophet/messenger

God has chosen messengers from us from time to time to deliver His message to guide the people. Thus, He teaches us how we should respect them when they live with us or when they are not among us. The order for the contemporary believers to respect the messengers when they are alive is for the successful delivery of His message but such teaching is not applicable for the subsequent generation of believers when they are not among them:

[49:1] O you who have believed, you are not to put ahead of God and His messenger. You shall fear God. Indeed, God is Hearer, Knower.
Note: The messenger delivers the God’s message and strictly follows His commands, the believers should not have any opinion other than God and His messenger, and it does not matter whether he lives with us or not.

[49:2] O you who believed, you are not to raise your voices above voice of the prophet, nor are you to be loud at him in speech like loudness of you to others, lest becomes worthless your works while you do not perceive.

[49:3] Indeed, those who lower their voices with God’s messenger, those whom God has tested their hearts for righteousness. For them there is forgiveness and a great reward.
Note: Obviously, the contemporary believers could not possibly raise their voices above the prophet’s voice. In addition, respecting the prophet helps outsiders and visitors in accepting God’s message.

[49:4] Indeed, those who call on you from behind the walls, of their majority do not understand.
Note: Prophet was a fatherly figure among the believers, it was not befitting for them to call him from the other side of the wall that also conforms to the order of enjoining them from marrying the wives of prophet after him 33:53. However, 49:2-4 are only applicable to the contemporary believers.

Message given to Muhammad is a reminder for the worlds

The message given to Muhammad is a reminder for the people of world as reflected in the following straightforward verses of the Quran:

[12:104] And you (prophet) do not ask them any reward for it; it is not but a reminder for the people of the world.

[38:87] It is not but a reminder for the people of the world.

[68:52] And it is not but a reminder for the people of the world.

[81:27] It is not but a reminder for the people of the world.
Note: The commandment has been repeated 4 times referring to Quran that it is a reminder for the people of the world and does not need any further explanation that we must reflect to the message given to Muhammad but not on him as a person.

Conclusion

This study has been made thoroughly investigating the pieces of information: (1) definition of the prophet, (2) definition of the messenger, (3) prophets are messengers but not all messengers are prophets, (4) Muhammad has been a messenger prophet, (5) Quran is a messenger of God, (6) fulfillment of God’s promises and prophecies, (7) no distinction between any prophet/messenger, (8) focusing on scripture not whom blessed with it, (9) the final edition of God’s scripture, (10) respecting prophet/messenger, and (11) message given to Muhammad is a reminder for the worlds to understand misconceptions and corruptions made to our beliefs and religious practices centering Muhammad claiming him to be the latest and the greatest prophet of the world making us figure worshipers.

The study reveals that Muhammad has neither been the last prophet nor the last messenger except being the deliverer of the final edition of God’s scripture while he has technically been a last prophet as the prophethood ended with the revelation of the Quran but not the messengership. Thus, if we can reflect to the wisdom of God in the commandment may help us to ignore misconceptions and corruptions made to His religion completely being away from the Quran, we can prevent us from the figure worshiping to see our success in the Hereafter being our final return.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.
Tafazzal (4/3/2020).