For everyone who has ever believed in a religion or spiritual teaching, there is usually a book or collection of books associated with it that has the purpose of first bringing the devotee to an awareness of God, and then deepening that awareness into a real connection to the divine. The use of the written word to transmit knowledge about God and His Teachings is fundamentally what enables future generations to benefit morally and spiritually from those Teachings.
In most cases, each religion’s divine guidance is associated with a messenger sent by God to not only convey His teachings, but also embody those heavenly principles and present to the believers a living example of submission and obedience to God. That’s why in Islam, belief in all previous prophets and their holy scriptures is an essential requirement of the faith.
While some religious texts and people may insult, ridicule and declare as false and satanic any and all messengers who are not from their own dispensation, true Islam looks at earlier messengers as being sent by God to different peoples to give specific guidance needed at that time. Just as a child starts in kindergarten and 1st grade learning elementary things, as he grows up, the lessons become more and more complex until the child is an adult and in college. In the grand design of God, all prophets are seen in a similar light, fulfilling a necessary spiritual evolution of giving the teachings each people requires for their time, place and level of understanding.
The Israelites, for example, were told by God that He was their God alone and they were His “chosen” people. He gave Moses the Torah to teach the Jews the true oneness of God and cleanse them of the idolatry and paganism they had adopted over their four long centuries of enslavement in Egypt. Moses and the Torah are timeless examples of how God raises prophets and gives them guidance to educate and reform people.
As human beings, we progress spiritually, morally and civically when we realize that it is God alone who appoints Law-bearing prophets and reveals to them His Holy Scriptures so people can know and live by God’s Laws and thus create righteous relationships and societies. This is why Paul’s statements in the New Testament that the Law of Moses is a curse or that Jesus (pbuh) redeemed us from that “curse” cannot be true. The reasoning is simple.
If parents correct their children’s immoral or harmful behavior out of love, not wanting them to come to any spiritual or physical harm, how much more does God love us by sending prophets with divine guidance to correct our immoral and harmful behavior on both a personal and societal level?
Viewed in this light, how could anyone say God’s Laws were a curse? Some teachings may only be meant for a limited time or purpose, and any such commandments which are not meant to be permanent are either modified or replaced with better, more humane or universally applicable Laws revealed to later prophets.
This has always been the way of God in rehabilitating mankind through His Holy Scriptures: He raises up Law-bearing prophets with divine guidance for their people, and then He sends follower prophets to bring a people back to the guidance previously sent to them or to prepare them for the next Law-bearing prophet.
This was the fundamental mission in the case of Jesus (pbuh). He states emphatically that he was sent “only to the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel” and that he did not come to destroy the Mosaic Law but to fulfill it -- that he was the Christ, their Messiah, but not a new, Law-bearing prophet. That prophet, he said, would come later and “lead them into all truth.”
This was a reference to Deut. 18:15-20 and 33:2, where the Israelites are given prophecies about their future Messiah, Jesus (pbuh) in 18:15, and of another Law-bearing prophet like Moses (18:18-20) who would come from Mount Paran in Arabia with a new Holy Scripture -- a “fiery Law in his right hand” (33:2). This Holy One from Mount Paran (Habakkuk 3:3) was the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his new Divine Law was the Holy Quran, which was designed to cleanse people of their sinfulness, and transform them into righteous, pious believers in the One True God of Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac.
And this is exactly what happened with the advent of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Islam in the 7th century AD. The resulting spiritual treasure was the Holy Quran, God’s complete and final guidance for all mankind, and the best example and clearest proof that God’s Laws are always a blessing and never a curse.
As Muslims we believe in all prophets of God and in the truthfulness of their original teachings. We also believe that the Holy Quran and the life example of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) answer mankind’s spiritual questions and moral needs for all time. We invite you to read the Quran and the Life of Muhammad (pbuh)
To read the Quran online in English, Spanish and other languages, go to the “Holy Quran” section at: www.alislam.org. To purchase a Quran in your language, call the Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino at 909-627-2252.
[ with Imam Shamshad; ran in the Jan. 2013 Asia Today newspaper on page 36 ]
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a dynamic, fast-growing international revival movement within Islam. Founded in 1889, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community spans more than 200 countries with membership exceeding tens of millions. Their motto is: “Love for All – Hatred for None.”
For more information about the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in
Southern California call
909-627-2252 or go online to: www.alislam.org or call Toll-Free 1-800-WHY-ISLAM.