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The prophet as Revelation and Inerrancy
In the second part of the article, the dimensions of the knowledge of the prophe according t to Twelve- Imam shi’ism the following issues will be considered: -Revelation and Inner ancy, the dimensions of Divine religion, Miracle, as apeoof of truth of the prophet’s claim, the number of the prophets and the prophets who are bringers of Divine law.
The appearance of prophets affirms that conception of revelation outlined above. The prophets of God were men who propagated the call revelation and prophecy and brought definitive proofs for their call they propagated among people the elements of the religion of God(which is the same divine law that guarantees happiness)and made it available to all men.
Since in all periods of history the number of people endowed with the power of prophecy and revelation has been limited to a few individuals, God- the Most Exalted- has completed and perfected the guidance of the rest of mankind by placing the mission of the propagation of religion upon shoulders of his prophets. That is why a prophet of God must possess the quality of inerrancy (ismah) in receiving the revelation from God, in guarding it and in making possible it’s reaching the people, he must be free from error. He must not commit sin (ma’siyah). The reception of revelation, its preservation and its propagation are three principles of ontological guidance, and error. In existence itself meaningless furthermore, sin and opposition to the claims of the religious call and its propagation are impossible in a prophet for they would be a call against the original religious mission, they would destroy the confidence of the people, their reliance upon the truth and the validity of the call. As a result they would destroy the purpose of the religious call itself.
God, the Exalted, refers in his word to the inerrancy of the prophets, saying, and we chose them and guided them unto a straight path (“Qumran, VI, 88).
And also, (“He is) the knower of the Unseen, and he revealeth unto none his secret, save unto every messenger whom he hath chosen, and then he maketh aguard to go before him and guard behind him, that he may know that they have indeed conveyed the messages of their Lord(“Quran, LXXII,26-28).
The dimensions of the Revealed religion
What the prophet of God receive through revelation and as a message from God and conveyed to mankind was religion (din), that is, away of life and human duties which guarantee the real happiness of man.
Revealed religion in general consists of two parts doctrine and practice or method. The doctrinal part of revealed religion consists of a series of fundamental principles and view concerning the real nature of things upon which man must establish the foundations of his life. It is comprised of the three universal principles of unity (tawhid), prophecy (nubuwwat) and eschatology (ma’ad). If there is any confusion or disorder in one of these principles the religion will not be able to gain any following.
The practical part of revealed religion consists of a series of moral and practical injunctions covering the duties man has before God and human society. That is why the secondary duties which have been ordered for man in different Divine laws are of two kinds: morals (akhaq), and actions (a’mal). The morals and actions related to the Divine are of two kinds, such as: first the quality of faith, sincerity, surrenders to God, contentment and humility, and second, the daily prayers, fasting and sacrifice (called acts of worship and symbolizing the humility and servitude of man before the Divine Throne). The morals and actions related to human society are also of two kinds, such as, first, the quality of love for other men, wishing well for others, justice and generosity, and second, the duty to carry out social intercourse, trade and exchange, etc. ( called transactions).
Another point must be considered is that since that human species is directed toward the gradual attainment of perfection ,and human society through the passage of time becomes more complete, the appearance of a parallel development must also be seen in revealed laws. The Holy Quran affirms this gradual development, which reason has also discovered. It can be concluded from its verses that each Divine law (shari’ah) is in reality more complete than shari’ah before, for, in this verses where he says, “And unto thee have we revealed the scripture with the, confirming whatever was before it, and whatever over it (“Quran, V, 48).
Of course, as scientific knowledge also confirms and the Quran stares, the life of human society in this world is not and the development of man is not endless. As a result, the general principles governing the duries of man from the point of view of doctrine and practice must of necessity stop a particular stage. Therefore, prophecy and the shari’ah will also one day come to an end when in the perfection of doctrine and expansion of practical regulations they have reached the final stage of their development that is why the Holy Quran, in order to make clear that Islam ( the religion of Muhammad) is the last and most complete of revealed religions, introduces itself as a sacred book that cannot be abrogated ( nosh), calls the prophet the “ seal of the prophets ( Khatam al – anbiya’), and sees the Islamic religion as embracing all religious duties, As he says, and lo! It is an unassailable scripture. Falsehood cannot come at it from before it or behind “(Quran, XLI, 41- 42).”
And also, Muhammad is not the father of any man among you but he is the messenger of Allah and the seal of the prophets (“Quran,XXX,III, 40). And, we reveal the scripture unto thee as an exposition of all things (“Quran, X VI, 89).
Miracle, as a proof of truth of the prophet
Many modern scholars who have investigated the problem of revelation and prophecy have tried to explain revelation, prophecy and questions connected with them by using the principles of social psychology; they say that the prophets of God were men of pure nature and strong will who had great love for humanity. In order to enable mankind to advance spiritually and materially and in order to reform decadent societies, they devised laws and regulations and invite mankind to accept them. Since people in those days would not accept the logic of human reason, in order to make them obey their teachings the prophets, according to such modern scholars, claimed that they and their thoughts came from the transcendent world, Each prophet called his own pure soul the holy spirit, the teachings which he claimed came from the transcendent world were called from ”revelation and prophecy “ the duties which resulted from the teachings were called “ revealed shari’ah, and the written record of these teachings and duties were called a ‘revealed book”.
Anyone who views with depth and impartiality the revealed books and especially the holy Quran, and also the live of the prophets, will have no doubt that this view is not correct. the prophet of God were not political men, Rather they were “men of God, “ full of truth fullness and purity, what they perceived they proclaimed without addition or diminution. And what they uttered they acted upon. What they claimed to possess was a mysterious consciousness which the invisible world had bestowed upon them. In this way they came to know from God himself welfare of men was in this world and the next, and propagated this knowledge among mankind.
It is quite clear that in order to confirm and ascertain the call of prophecy there is need of proof and demonstration. The sole fact that the shari’ah brought by a prophet conforms to reason is not sufficient in determining the truthfulness of the prophetic call. Aman who claims to be prophet, in addition to be claims of the truth of his shari’ah, claims a connection through revelation and prophecy with the transcendent world, and therefore claims he has been given by God the mission to propagate the faith. This claim in itself is in need of proof. That is why (as the holy Quran in forms us) the common people with their simple mentality always sought miracles from the prophets of God in order that the truthfulness of their call might be confirmed.
The meaning of this simple and correct logic is that the revelation which the prophet claims is his cannot be found among others who are human beings like him. It is of necessity an invisible power which God miraculously bestows upon his prophets, though which they hear his world and are given the mission to convey this world to mankind .if this be true, then the pro pet ask God for another miracle so that people would believe the truth of his prophetic call.
It is thus clear that the request for miracles from pro phets is according to correct logic and it is incumbent upon the pro pets of God to provide miracle at the beginning of his call, or according to the demand of the people, in order to prove his prophecy. The Holy Quran has affirmed this logic, relating miracles about many prophecy at the beginning of their mission or after their followers requested them.
Of course many modern investigators and scientists have denied miracles, but their opinions are not based upon any satisfactory reasons. There is no reasons to believe that the cause which until now have been discovered for events through investigation and experiment are permanent and unchanging, or that no event ever occurs for reasons other than those which usually bring it about, the miracles related about the prophets of God are not impossible or against reason (as is, for example, the claim that the number three is even). Rather they are a “break in what is habitual” (kharq- I –adat); an occurrence which, incidentally, has often been observed in a lower degree among people following ascetic practices.
The number of the prophet
It is known through tradition that in the past many prophets appeared, and the Holy Qumran affirms their multitude. It has mentioned some of them by name or by their characteristics, but has not given their exact number; through definitive traditions also it has not been possible to determine their number except in the well known saying which Abu Dear Ghifari has recited from the Holy prophet, according to which their number has been set at 124,000.
The prophet who are Bringers of Divine law
From what can be deduced from the Quran, it can be concluded that all the prophets of God did not bring a sgari’ah, Rather, Five of them – Noah, Abraham Moses, Jesus, and the prophet Muhammad- are “possessors of determination” ( ulu’l – azim), those who have brought a shari’ah. Other prophets follow the shari’ah of those who “ possess determination” God has said in the Quran,”he hath ordained for you that religion which he commended unto Noah, and that which we inspire in thee ( Muhammad ), and that which we commended unto Abraham and Moses and Jesus”(Quran, XLII, 13) he has also said “ And when we exacted a covenant from the prophets, and from thee ( O Muhammad) and from Noah and Abraham and Moses and Jesus son of Mary, we took from them a solemn covenant “(Quran, XXXIII, 7).
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