In fulfilment of the promise of guidance which Allaah gave to man after his exit from Paradise, Allaah chose from amongst them, Messengers, who would pear His message to the rest of mankind. He made them naturally disposed for knowledge and placed upon them heavy responsibilities regarding the message. Allaah says to the last messenger (sallaallaahu alayhi wa sallam):
"Verily, We shall send down to you a weighty Word (i.e. obligations, laws)."(Q73[Muzzammil]:5).
The Qur'aan and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (sallaallaahu alayhi wa sallam) described the duties and the Assignments of the Messengers as follows:
The Clear Conveyance of the Message
The first of the duties placed upon the messengers is the clear conveyance of the message of Allaah. They are required to proclaim it without omission or addition: Allaah says:
"O Messenger (Muhammad) proclaims the Message which has been sent to you from your Rabb. And if you don't then you have not conveyed His Message." (Q5 [Maa'idah]: 67)
There was neither pretence nor deception about the obstacles the messengers were bound to face in proclaiming Allaah's message. It is part of their obligation to the message to remain firm and courageous having complete trust in Allaah and fear none except Him:
"Those who convey the message of Allaah and fear Him, and fear none save Allaah."(Q33[Ahzaab]: 39)
Because of the special knowledge they received from Allaah, the Messengers are the most qualified to explain the meaning of the Revelation which they bear. About this Allaah says:
"And We have sent down unto you (0 Muhammad!) the Reminder and the Advice (this Qur'aan), that you may explain clearly to men what is sent to them and that they may give thought." (Q16[NahI]: 44)
Thus, to understand the text of Allaah's revelation, then we must resort to the explanation of the Messenger (sallaallaahu alayhiwa sallam).
They Call People to Allaah
The duty of the Messengers does not stop with the clarification and proclamation of the Truth (Revelation), but they must also call mankind to adopt the Message, believe in it, and act upon it. The Messengers say to the people: "You are the slaves of Allaah, He is your Rabb and True God. He wanted us to tell you how to worship Him. Because we are Messengers assigned by Allaah, then you must obey us and follow us":
"And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (nation, community) a Messenger (proclaiming): 'Worship Allaah (alone)',and avoid (or keep away from) Taghoot (all false deities)." (Q16[NahI]: 36)
The similitude of the messengers' call to Allaah is as given by Prophet Muhammad (sallaallaahu alayhi wasallam) who said: "I have seen in my dream as if Jibreel is by my head and Mika'eel (the angel in charge of the rain and vegetation) by my feet. One of them tells his companion: Give a similitude of him (i.e. Muhammad);the other replied: "Listen (i.e. O Muhammad), may your ears hear (by giving audience), and think, may your heart (mind) understand that the similitude of you and your nation is that of a King who acquired for himself a piece of land; on it he built a house and furnished it with a dining place. He then sent a messenger inviting people to his food. Some of them accepted the invitation, while others turned it down. Verily, Allaah is The King, and the land is Islaam, and the house is the Jannah (Paradise) and You Muhammad are them Messenger; whoever responds to you (by obeying you),will enter Islaam, and whoever enters Islaam will enter Jannah, and whoever enters Jannah shall eat from what is in it." (Bukhari)
Give Glad Tidings and Warnings
For effective deliverance of the message, Allaah established for them an effective manhaj(methodology) in Da'wah (calling to Allaah), Part of the methodology is Bishara (glad tiding) and Ta'dhir (warning). Thus, the messengers were both bearers of glad tidings of Allaah's pleasure and warnings of His punishment both in this world and the Hereafter. Allaah says:
"And We send not the Messengers save as bearers of good news and warner’s ..."(Qur'aan [81:56])
Allaah's pleasure in this world is manifested in being granted authority, security and a goodly life. In the Hereafter, it is manifested in Paradise:
"Whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, while he (or she) is a true believer, verily to him We will give a good life (in this World) and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in Hereafter)."(Q 16[Nahl]: 97)
Conversely, Allaah's punishment in the world is manifested in a tortuous life as Allaah says:
"But whosoever turns away from My Reminder (i.e. neither believes in this Qur'aan nor acts on its orders, etc.),verily for him is a life of hardship..."(Q20 [Tahaa]: 124)
In the Hereafter, such a person ends up in Hell:
"And whoever disobeys Allaah and His Messenger, and transgresses His limits, He will cast him into the Fire, to abide therein, and he shall have a disgraceful torment." (Q4 [Nisaa']: 14)
The glad tiding and warnings brought by the Messengers are key elements that influence the human soul. Naturally, the soul aspires for what is good and likes to drive away evil. The Messengers enlighten the human soul by informing about the great good that can be achieved as a result of having the right belief and doing righteous deeds. The person will then be eager to acquire such good. On the other hand, when the soul is informed about the great harm that may be inflicted upon it if it rejects Allaah and His Message, it may refrain from committing what may be hurtful to itself.
Correction & Purification of Human Soul
Allaah is All-Merciful and by His Mercy He revives and enlightens the souls of His slaves. This enlightenment is the Revealed Light (i.e. The Qur'aan). Allaah's Revelation leads man from the deepest of darkness, the darkness of shirk (association of partners with Allaah) and ignorance to the Light of truth and Islaam. Allaah says:
"Allaah is the Waliyy (Protection or Guardian) of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into light."(Q2 [Baqarah]: 257)
The Messengers were the ones who were sent with Guidance from Allaah to lead mankind from darkness to light. The Light is the Qur'aan and Islaam; it brings life to the hearts:
"Is he who was dead (without faith by ignorance and disbelieve and We gave him life (by knowledge and faith) and set for him a Light (of believe whereby he can walk amongst them, like him who is in the darkness (of disbelief and hypocrisy) from which he can never come out?"(Q6 [An'aam]: 122)
Without this Light, the hearts are blind and even dead. The Prophet (sallaallaahu alayhi wa sallam)would supplicate:
"I ask You by every Name You have named Yourself with, revealed in Your Book, taught anyone of Your creation or kept unto Yourself in the knowledge of the unseen that is with You, to make the Qur'aan the spring of my heart, and the light of my chest" (Ahmad, Ibn Hibban)
Correcting Deviant Ideas, False Beliefs, &Immorality
Man is born with an innate nature (Fitrah) of submission to his Creator, Allaah alone. Mankind were one nation, on this Fitrah. When people started setting up rivals with Allaah, He sent Messengers to remind them about their Fitrah and to call them to return to Him:
"Mankind were one community and Allaah sent Prophets with Glad tidings and Warnings." (Q2[Baqarah]: 213)
Every Messenger called his own nation to the straight path, Islaam. Also each one of them called for the correction of any deviation within his own nation. Noah (alayhi sallam) refused to acknowledge and accept the worship of idols by his people, and so did Ibrahim (alayhi sallam). Hud (alayhi sallam) stood firm against his nation's arrogance and injustice. Saalih (alayhi sallam) battled corruption and malpractice, and Lut (alayhisallam) fought against the filth of homosexuality which took over his people. Shu'aib (alayhi sallam) resisted his peoples' cheating with their scales and measures, and so on. All these crimes were deviations from the Straight Path and the Messengers (alayhim sallam) clarified the Truth and fought against any dissent and disobedience.
Establishing the Evidence
Allaah sent the Messengers and His Books so that there can be no excuse for mankind on the Day of Recompense:
"Messengers as bearers of good news as well as of warning in order that mankind should have no plea against Allaah after the Messengers."(Q4[Nisaa']: 165).
If Allaah had left man without guidance, he would dispute with Allaah on the Day of Judgment, Allaah says:
"And if We had destroyed them with torment before this (i.e. the Messenger & the Qur'aan), they would surely have said: 'Our Rabb! Ifonly You had sent us a Messenger, we should certainly have followed y::our 'Ayaat (signs, proofs, verses, lessons, revelations, etc.) before we were humbled and disgraced." (Q20 [TaaHaa]: 134)
On the Day of Recompense, each Messenger will be a witness for or against his nation testifying that he had indeed delivered the Message and established the evidence:
"How (will it be) then, when We bring from each nation a witness and We bring you (O Muhammad) as a witness against these people. On that Day those who disbelieved and disobeyed the Messenger will wish that they were buried in the earth, but they will never be able to hide a single fact from Allaah" (Q4[Nisaa']: 41-42)
On the Day of Judgment when they are shown their horrible end, and before they are thrown into Hell, they will be asked about their sins and they will bear witness against themselves:
"It (Hell) almost bursts with fury: Every time a group is cast therein, its keeper will ask: "Did no warner come to you" They will say: Yes indeed, a warner did come to us, but we belied him and said: "Allaah never sent down anything (of revelation),you (warner’s) are only in great error. And they will say:"Had we but listened or used our intelligence, we would not have been among the dwellers of the Blazing Fire!"(Q67[Mulk]: 8-11)
Establishing the Rule of Allaah on their Nation
Those who accept the Message and the Messengers form a Jama'ah (community) and an Ummah (Nation) and therefore, will need someone togovern them and run their affairs. The Messengers perform such a duty ruling and judging by the Law of Allaah:
"So judge between them by what Allaah has revealed." (Q5[Maa'idah]: 48)
Allaah called upon Prophet Dawud (alayhi sallam) saying: "
Dawud Verily! We have placed you as a successor on earth, so judge you between men in truth (and justice) and follow not your desire." (Q38 [Saad]:26)
The Prophets of Banee Israa'eel (The Israelites) were Governors of their nation, as the Prophet (sallaallaahu alayhi wa sallam) was also the head of the Muslim Ummah both political and religious. In all matters, of judgment, the Messengers were obedient to Allaah:
"He who obeys the Messenger (Muhammad) has indeed obeyed Allaah."(Q4 [Nisaa']: 80) .
In implementing Allaah's rule, the messengers were faithful above all emotional consideration. Aisha(RA) reported that the people of Quraish worried about the lady from Bani Makhzum who had committed theft. They asked, "Who will intercede for her with Allaah's Messenger?" Some said. "Noone dare to do so except Usama bin Zaid the beloved one to Allaah's Messenger (sallaallaahu alayhiwa sallam)."
When Usama spoke about that to the Prophet (sallaallaahu alayhi wa sallam) he said, (to him). "Do you try to intercede for somebody in a case connected with Allaah's prescribed punishments?" Then he got up and delivered a sermon saying. "What destroyed the nations preceding you, was that if a noble amongst them stole, they would forgive him, and if a poor person amongst them stole, they would inflict Allaah's legal punishment on him. By Allaah, if Fatima the daughter of Muhammad stole. I would cut off her hand."(Bukhari)
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited