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The Necessity for sending the Messengers (Part 1)

the holy prophet (pbuh)

What is man created for?

Did God create man as part of the chain of reproduction, to be a cog in a machine, and to be counted only as an automaton? Was man created only for his own enjoyment? Was he created only to amass as much wealth as possible through any means, direct or devious, so as to satisfy his material wants? Is there no greater idea behind his creation?

A large number of people regard only man's material aspect and neglect the other side of the coin, because they have not understood the profundity of the nature of man, or because they have not correctly evaluated it. Men of great understanding have ascribed three dimensions to man:

1. Individual material life.

2. Social life.

3. The world of the spirit and insight.

Those who give importance only to the first dimension, and believe in absolute freedom for man, even though it is harmful for him, overlook the profound character of man and they have forgotten the other two important dimensions. Those who land importance to the first and second dimensions, but neglect the third, only succeed in creating an environment, which lacks spiritual and moral values.

Arnold Toynbee, the great British historian, in a long interview with the American magazine, 'Life', said that man had submitted himself to materialism, and that from that point of view we do not lack anything. However, he said, we have become bankrupt on the spiritual side of things. However, I think there is still time, he continued, to leave this incorrect view of things and return to religion.

So, a serious investigator goes further than the first two dimensions, and looks at and studies man and the aim of creation from all three dimensions. Because the reality of man is thus, and man cannot be known in himself in any other way than this. Moreover, the third dimension gives man the power to evaluate his entrances and exits on the stage of personal and social life. This is the correct way of living. Man must reach his perfection by making his way through various dimensions, and he must find this way, for he is created for this purpose.

The question now arises of whether one's conscience can lead one through these dimensions.

Let us begin to analyze this problem with a view to find an answer.

Conscience

Some psychologists deny the existence of conscience. They believe that what is called conscience is really only the result of early childhood training. On the other hand, many scholars, like Rousseau, believe that there is a power hidden in the depths of man's nature, which can distinguish good from bad. Children who are not under the influence of an environment which trains them in a certain way, whose conscience has not been perverted, can understand good and bad, basically and instinctively. (See Rousseau's Emile, especially Book LV).

We can agree that a part of good and evil is according to custom; for example, dress, food and such thing, which may be good at one time, and place and bad in others. But the intelligent and reasonable who are governed by thinking cannot accept that all goods and evil are like this, because trust, fulfilment of obligation, help for the poor and the weak, work for humanity, brotherhood, equality and the such like have deep roots in the nature of man. On the other hand deception, injustice, breaking agreements, selfishness and such like have always and in all places been condemned. One cannot, therefore, say that they came to be regarded as instinctively bad.

One must, therefore, accept the existence of conscience but with the following necessary condition: that conscience, by itself, cannot guide man completely - it needs training, It must, like minerals in the grounds, be extracted and refined. Otherwise, it may be perverted under the influence of a corrupt environment, with the result that these psychologists cannot recognize it and therefore deny its existence. This is an indication that man needs infallible prophets.

Human ideologies

From early times up to now, man has been putting forward many ideas for the improvement of society and the individuals who it comprises. But because man is not completely aware of the secrets of spiritual and material well-being, and his ignorance is very great, he has never been able to put forward any ideas which have been able to satisfy the full requirements of human nature.

Dr. Burrows said some years ago that at Princeton he heard Einstein say that science tells us what is there, but religion tells us what should be there, and Victor Hugo said that as much as man progresses, his need for religion becomes greater.

Whatever intelligence tells us, however right it may be, and no guarantee can be made that we will follow its ideas. Many people know through their intelligence and knowledge that gambling, alcohol, stealing and crime are not good, but nevertheless they fall victims to such practices.

Today we see that the United Nations, with over 150 members from countries all over the world, is a weak body whose resolutions generally remain merely in their minutes and only on paper. This is because intelligence and knowledge are no guarantee for action.

But the Divine scheme, because it comes from an unlimited source of knowledge, can have no room for error, and because it issues forth from the immaculate hearts of the prophets (A.S), it has influence on mankind. Moreover, the reward and punishment for not carrying out His instructions causes man to implement: his scheme. Alone, intelligence and thinking is not enough; a confirmation must be found through Divine assistance. These faculties are only, fields for training through the Divine discipline of the messengers so that man may reach felicity without being diverted.

Imam 'Ali (A.S), in the first sermon in NahjuI-Balaghah explains the reason for the sending of messengers thus: Then Allah sent His messengers and the series of His prophets to them (mankind) to make them fulfil the pledges of His creation, to recall to them His bounties, to exhort them by perching, to unveil before them the hidden virtues of wisdom and show them the signs of His Omnipotence.

However, supposing that man has a correct ideology, do the dictators and those who wish to enforce their own ideas allow us to distinguish the true from the false? Don't they rather try to cover the true face of ideologies? In this way people, through ignorance of correct beliefs, do not rise up against oppression and are successfully deceived. However, a law that comes from God can be made known to all through the miracles and signs of truth which God gives to His messengers and people can understand its truthfulness and believe in it, and will then be unable to find any excuse for disobedience.


Reference: Roots of Religion

Written by: Dar Rahe Haq Institute Writing Board


Other links:

Foretelling the Advent of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) (Part 1)

Foretelling the Advent of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) (Part 2)

The Predisposition of the People of Madina towards Islam

Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), the Radiance that Shone Forth in the Darkness

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