The Holy Quran teaches that we must believe in all prophets and messengers and that they were all chosen to help guide humanity towards the supreme truth of the oneness of God and our bondage to Him. The Holy Quran mentions the stories of Abraham, Moses, Jesus , David, John, Zechariah, Elijah, Jacob and Joseph, may the peace of God be upon them all.
The role of these messengers and prophets is to be a manifestation of what has been revealed to them. For example, they will be role models and examples of God’s conscience, piety and compassion. Because the messengers received the revealed word from God, their role also includes teaching the correct interpretation and understanding of what God has revealed. In addition, messengers and prophets act as a practical and spiritual example, as they embody the meaning, message and values conveyed by the divine text. In this perspective, Divine revelation tells us what to do and the life of the Prophet ﷺ shows us how to do it.
The Holy Qur’an mentions the name of Prophet Muhammad five times (May peace and blessings be upon him) and confirms that the book was revealed to him through the angel Gabriel. The Holy Qur’an states that Muhammad ﷺ is the last messenger of God. In this perspective, intellectually affirming this status of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is quite simple. Since the Holy Quran was established as a divine book, it necessarily follows that whatever you say will be the truth. Since he mentions Muhammad ﷺ as the messenger of God, and what comes from the truth is true, then the fact that Muhammad ﷺ was a messenger of divine revelation is also true.
Despite this undeniable conclusion, the fact that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was the last messenger from God can also be deduced from his experiences, teachings, character and the impact he has on the world.
Prophet Muhammad de’s life experiences are one of the strongest arguments in support of his claim – and, by extension, the Holy Quran’s claim – that he was God’s last messenger. Once an analysis of his life is carried out, concluding that he lied or was mistaken would amount to concluding that no one ever spoke the truth. To be brutally honest, it would be the epistemic equivalent of denying that the person you called your mother gave birth to you. The teachings of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ cover a wide range of topics, including spirituality, society, economics and psychology. Studying his statements and taking his teachings in a holistic approach will force any rational mind to conclude that there was something very unique and special about this man. Significantly, examining his character in the context of a myriad of difficult situations and circumstances will facilitate the conclusion that he had unprecedented levels of tolerance and humility – key signs of a prophetic character. Muhammad ﷺ’s life and teachings, however, not only influenced the Arab world, but also had a tremendous impact on all of humanity. Simply put, Muhammad ﷺ was responsible for unprecedented tolerance, progress and justice.
Deny Muhammad ﷺ, Deny your Mother
The only true source of knowledge we have to confirm that the lady we call our mother gave birth to us is knowledge of testimony. Even if we claim to have a birth certificate, hospital records or a DNA test certificate, these are still examples of knowledge of testimony. You have to believe the opinion of others.
In this case, who completed the birth certificate, the person responsible for hospital records and the person who completed the DNA test certificate. Fundamentally, it is only based on a transmission of testimonials; there is not a shred of physical evidence that you can empirically verify the claim that your mother gave birth to your child. Even if you can do the DNA test yourself (which is highly unlikely), your belief, now that it has given birth to you, is not based on the fact that you can potentially acquire the results. The irony is that the only reason you believe that you can use a DNA test to check if your mother gave birth to you is based on the transmission of testimonies from some authority saying that you have not yet done so.
So, from an epistemic perspective, the basis for your belief that your mother gave birth to you is based on some instances of passing testimonies. Since we have much more authentic testimonial evidence to conclude that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was the final prophet of God, then, to deny Muhammad eria would be tantamount to denying his own mother.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ claimed prophecy more than 1,400 years ago with the following simple but profound message: There is none worthy of worship except God, and Prophet Muhammad is God’s last messenger.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ became a prophet at age 40, after spending some time meditating and reflecting in a cave outside Mecca. The dawn of prophecy began with the revelation of the first verses of the Holy Quran. His message was simple:
Our ultimate purpose in life is to worship God. Worship is a broad term in the Islamic spiritual tradition; it means loving, knowing, obeying and dedicating all acts of worship to God alone.
To test whether his claim to prophecy and his message was true, we must rationally investigate the historical narratives and testimonies about the Prophet’s life ﷺ. Once we do that, we will be in a position to reach a balanced conclusion in this regard.
The Holy Qur’an provides a rational approach to testing the Prophet’s claim ﷺ. He argues that the Prophet ﷺ is not a liar, disgusted, led astray or deluded, and denies that he speaks of his own desire. The Holy Qur’an states that he is really the messenger of God; therefore, he is speaking the truth:
“Your companion has not strayed or strayed, And does not speak, out of passion.” [Holy Quran 53: 2-3]
We can summarize the argument as follows:
– Either the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was a liar or a delusion, or spoke the truth;
– The Prophet ﷺ could not have been liar or deluded;
– So the Prophet ﷺ spoke the truth.
Was he a liar?
The first historical sources in the life of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ illustrate the integrity of his character. He was not a liar and to say so much is indefensible.
The reasons for this abound – for example, he was known even by the enemies of his message as “Trusted”.
He was persecuted for his beliefs, boycotted and exiled from his beloved city – Mecca. He was starving and was stoned by children to the point that blood soaked his legs. His wife passed away and his beloved companions were tortured and persecuted. Further proof of the Prophet’s reliability and credibility ﷺ is supported by the fact that a liar tends to lie for some worldly gain.
Muhammad ﷺ suffered tremendously for his message and rejected the riches and the power that was offered him to stop promulgating his message. He was uncompromising in his call to the unity of God.
Montgomery Watt, the late Professor Emeritus of Arab and Islamic Studies, explores this in “Muhammad in Mecca” and argues that calling the Prophet ﷺ an imposter is irrational:
His readiness to suffer persecution for his beliefs, the high moral character of the men who believed in him and looked upon him as a leader, and the greatness of his ultimate achievement – all argue for his fundamental integrity. To suppose that Muhammad was an imposter, raises more problems than he solves them.
Was he deluded?
To claim that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was deluded is to argue that he was deluded in believing that he was the messenger of God. If someone is deluded, he has a strong belief in an opinion, despite any evidence to the contrary. Another way of looking at the issue of illusion is that when someone is deluded, he speaks falsehood while believing that it is true. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ had many experiences during his career that, if he were deluded, he would use them as evidence to support his illusion.
One example is the death of his son, Ibrahim. The boy died at an early age and the day he died, there was a solar eclipse. Many Arabs thought that God made the eclipse happen because the prophet’s son passed away. If the Prophet ﷺ had been deceived, he would have used this opportunity to reinforce his claim. However, he did not, he rejected the claims of the people. The Prophet ﷺ answered them as follows:
“THE SUN AND THE MOON DO NOT ECLIPSE BECAUSE OF THE DEATH OF SOME PEOPLE, BUT THEY ARE TWO SIGNS AMONG THE SIGNS OF GOD. WHEN YOU SEE THEM, GET UP AND PRAY. “
The Prophet ﷺ also announced many things that would happen in his community after his death. These events occurred exactly as Muhammad ﷺ predicted, and this is not consistent with a deluded individual. For example:
The Mongol Invasion
Six hundred years after the death of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, the Mongols invaded Muslim lands and massacred millions of people. A significant milestone in the invasion was the looting of Baghdad. At that time, it was known as a city of learning and culture. The Mongols arrived in Baghdad in 1258 and spent a week shedding blood. They were inclined to demolish the city. Thousands of books were destroyed and up to a million people were killed. This was an important event in Islamic history.
Mongols were non-Arabs who had flat noses, small eyes and their boots were made of hair; Mongols had fur cloaks on their boots called degtii. This was predicted by the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ hundreds of years before the Mongol invasion:
“The Hour will not be established until you fight Khudh and Kirman among non-Arabs. They will have red faces, flat noses and small eyes; their faces will look like flat shields and their shoes will be made of hair. ”
Competition in the construction of tall buildings
“Now, tell me about the Final Hour,” said the man. The Prophet ﷺ replied: “The respondent knows no more than the one asking.” “Then tell me about your signs,” said the man. The Prophet ﷺ replied: “You will see the barefoot and naked Bedouins compete in the construction of tall buildings”. Note the detail in the prophecy: a specific people (the Arab Bedouins in the region) have been identified. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ could have played it safe easily using more general language, such as “You will see competition in the construction of tall buildings …”
Which of course would be flexible enough to apply to anyone in the world. Today we realize, in the Arabian Peninsula, that the Arabs who used to be impoverished herders of camels and sheep are competing in the construction of the largest skyscrapers.
Today, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is the tallest artificial structure in the world at 828 meters. Shortly after completion, a rival family in Saudi Arabia announced that they would build a tallest tower (1,000 meters) in the Kingdom. So they are literally competing with each other over who can build the tallest building.
Now, what is remarkable is that until just 50 or 60 years ago, people in the region hardly ever had homes. In fact, most of them were still Bedouins, living in tents. The discovery of oil in the 20th century led to the transformation of the region. If it were not for oil, it is likely that the region was still the barren desert that it was at the time of the revelation of the Holy Quran. If this were a simple guess on your part, the discovery of oil would represent a huge stroke of luck. Furthermore, if Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was merely guessing, would it no longer make sense to relate this prophecy to the superpowers of his time – Rome and Persia – who (unlike the Arabs) already tended to build extravagant buildings and palaces? He was speaking the truth.
Considering what has been discussed so far, the most reasonable conclusion is that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ spoke the truth. This conclusion is echoed by the historian Dr. William Draper:
FOUR YEARS AFTER JUSTINIAN’S DEATH, AD 569, HE WAS BORN IN MECCA, ARABIA, THE MAN WHO, OF ALL MEN, EXERCISED THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON THE HUMAN RACE … BEING THE RELIGIOUS LEADER OF MANY EMPIRES, GUIDING THE DAILY LIFE OF ONE THIRD OF THE HUMAN RACE, PERHAPS JUSTIFIES THE TITLE OF A MESSENGER FROM GOD.
The Teachings, Character, and Impact of the Prophet ﷺ
Muhammad ﷺ’s teachings are also not from someone who is deceived or liar. Among many of his teachings, he taught humanity about compassion and mercy, humility and peace, love and how to benefit and serve others. The character of the Prophet ﷺ was perfect. He reached the summit of virtues; He was compassionate, humble, tolerant, just, and showed great humanity, tolerance and piety. His guidance has also had an unprecedented impact on the world. The Prophet’s profound leadership ﷺ and sublime teachings on tolerance, justice, progress and freedom of belief and many other areas of life strongly indicate that he was not mistaken; before he was a man of the truth. Below are some of the words of the prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
Mercy and Compassion
“The Merciful shows mercy to those who are merciful [to others]. So, show mercy to whatever is on earth, and the One in heaven will show His mercy. ”
“God is compassionate and loves compassion.”
“It is not one of us who does not have compassion for our little ones and does not honor our old ones.”
“May God have mercy on the man who is kind when he buys, when he sells, and when he makes a demand.”
Contentment and Spirituality
“Wealth is not about having many possessions. Instead, true wealth is the soul’s wealth. ”
“In fact, God does not look at their bodies or their appearances. But, he looks at their hearts and their actions. ”
“Don’t talk too much without the remembrance of God. In fact, excessive talk without remembering God hardens the heart. And, in fact, the most distant people from God are those with a hard heart. ”
“The servant of God does not reach the reality of faith until he loves for people what he loves for himself out of goodness.”
“Love for people what you love for yourself and you will be a Muslim. Behave well with your neighbors and you will be a believer. ”
“The best action after believing in God is a benevolent love for people.”
Community and Peace
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was asked: “What kind of acts or traits in Islam are good?” He replied, “Feed others and greet those you know and those you don’t know.”
“ALL OF HUMANITY COMES FROM ADAM AND EVE, AN ARAB HAS NO SUPERIORITY OVER A NON-ARAB NOR DOES A NON-ARAB HAVE ANY SUPERIORITY OVER AN ARAB; ALSO A WHITE PERSON HAS NO SUPERIORITY OVER A BLACK PERSON NOR DOES A BLACK PERSON HAVE ANY SUPERIORITY OVER A WHITE PERSON, EXCEPT FOR PIETY AND GOOD DEED. ”
“The believer is not one who eats until he is satiated while his neighbor is hungry.”
Charity and Humanitarianism
“Visit the sick, feed the hungry and free the captives.”
“Make it easy and don’t make it difficult, and give good news and don’t make people run away.”
“Every act of kindness is charity.”
Character and Ways
“The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character, and the best of you is what is best for your wives.”
“[God] revealed to me that you should adopt humility so that no one would oppress the other.”
“He who truly believes in God and on the last Day must speak well or keep silent.”
“The best among you is the one who has the best customs.”
Environment and Animals
“If a Muslim plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal of that person eats, it is considered as a gift of charity (sadaqah) for him.”
“Removing harmful things from the road is an act of charity.”
“Whoever kills a sparrow or something greater than that without a just cause, God will hold him responsible on the Day of Judgment.”
The Impact of Muhammad ﷺ on the world
Prophet Muhammad verdadeiramente was truly a mercy for humanity. This statement is not only justified by its message and its teachings, but it also includes its unprecedented impact on our world. There are two main reasons why his teachings at the social level were so transformative: the justice and compassion of Islam.
Compassion and justice are its central values, expressed through a sincere belief in the existence and worship of a God. By electing Him to worship and being aware of his responsibility, a Muslim is encouraged to act with compassion and justice. The Holy Quran clearly states in this regard:
“O you who believe! Be constant in serving Allah, being witnesses with equanimity. And that hatred towards a people does not lead you not to be just. Be righteous: this is closer to godliness. And fear Allah. Certainly, Allah of what you do, is Knower. ” [Holy Quran 5: 8]
“O you who believe! Be constant in equanimity, witnessing for Allah, even against yourselves, or against parents and relatives. Whether rich or poor, Allah will have priority over both. So, do not follow the passions, to be righteous. And if you misrepresent the testimony or shrug, surely Allah, of what you do, is Knower. ” [Holy Quran 4: 135]
“And what makes you aware of what the obstacle is? It is to free a slave, Or to feed, in a day of poverty, A related orphan, Or a needy dusty from misery. Next, it is to be of those who believe and mutually recommend patience, and mutually recommend mercy. “[Holy Quran 90: 12-17]
The main reason why Prophet Muhammad capaz was able to directly influence such tolerant and compassionate societies was due to the affirmation of the Oneness of God, pleasing and worshiping Him, was the spiritual and moral basis of his life and the lives of those who loved and followed him.
The credibility of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, his high moral character and the impact he had on the world establishes a strong argument for his being the final Messenger of God. Studying his life and understanding his teachings in a holistic and nuanced way will lead to a single conclusion: he was a mercy to the world and the one chosen by God to lead the world to divine guidance and light.