THE RESOLUTE PROPHETS (Ulu al-Azm)
Among the thousands of prophets and messengers sent by God, the Qur'an refers to 25, five of whom are known as ulu-al-Azm, or messengers with power or resolve. The first of the prophets of power or resolve (ulu al-'azm) was Nuh (pbuh), referred to as najiyullah, the confidant of Allah, the father of humanity after the Deluge. The second prophet of resolve is Ibrahim (pbuh), khalilullah, the intimate friend of Allah (Qur'an An-Nisaa 4:125). With his son Isma'il (pbuh) he built the Ka'bah, the first house for the worship of God. The third one is Musa (pbuh), called kaleemullah, the one to whom God speaks (Qur'an An-Nisaa 4:164), the recipient of the Torah. He saved the people of Israel from Ramses II and brought the tablets with the Ten Commands. Then Isa (pbuh), the Word of God and His spirit (ruhullah) the recipient of the Enjeel, who was born from the Virgin Maryam. And finally Muhammad (pbuh) referred as habibullah, the most beloved of Allah, the last messenger of God to mankind, who blessed us with the Qur'an. Musa and Muhammad (pbut) occupy a special place in prophetic history because they were prophets and statesmen. They did not simply transmit the message, they implemented it in the life of a socio-political order.
Allah sent these five prophets with divine law for their nations. They were called such because their resolve was very strong. Their trials were immense and their struggles arduous yet their constancy and remembrance of the covenant remained firm.
Nuh (pbuh) was a great prophet who preached a very long time, calling people to the straight path. "We sent Noah to his people, and he tarried among them a thousand years less fifty: but the Deluge overwhelmed them while they persisted in sin."<Qur'an `Ankabut 29:14> Also, God says in the Holy Book "We sent Noah to his people (with the command): Do thou warn thy people before there comes to them a grievous torment. He said : O my people! I am to you a warner, clear and open." <Qur'an Nuh 71:1-2>
Nuh (pbuh) underwent a long struggle, affirming the reality of faith, forbearance. He was an excellent speaker and taught respect between people. He pointed out to his people the mysteries of life and the wonders of the universe. He showed them how the night is regularly followed by the day, how the night gives coolness and rest whilst the day gives warmth and awakens activity, the sun encourages growth of plants...he pointed out that the ownership of the heavens and the earth belongs only to the Divine Creator.
He underwent persecution in the hope that he might guide the people towards
the one God. He tried to make them believe in Him and make them Muslims. But
as time went on, they became more and more obstinate, drawing further from the
truth day by day. Finally, Nuh (pbuh) sought refuge in Allah's threshold, reporting
their stubbornness to Him, complaining of their hostility. He begged for Allah's
guidance, and it became clear to him that he would not gain more disciples than
the few who already believed in his message. "Do not ever worry or be disappointed
about what these ignorant people do". Despite the long time spent preaching,
only very few people believed in the Prophet Nuh (pbuh). The rest were taken
away by the Deluge, due to their obstinance in acknowledging his message.
This parable set forth of mankind at the time of Prophet Nuh (pbuh) is still applicable in our present day. On the one hand, there are those who are sincere and devoted in their love of God, people who are fully dedicated and patient, constantly remembering the blessing of God, both publicly and privately, to Humankind. Whilst on the other hand, there are those who are deluded by the trappings of this world. People worshiping money, prestige and power. Since Nuh (pbuh), Man has not changed that much, one can notice than Man is arrogant and only concerned by worldly matters. This confrontation of the good/bad, is the struggle that Nuh (pbuh) undertook at his time, and that true believers should continuously undertake today. "Further I have spoken to them in public and secretly (in private)."
<Qur'an Nuh 71:9>
"Also mention in the book (the story) of Abraham; he was a man of truth, a Prophet" <Qur'an Maryam 19:41>
He exhibits in the Qur'an and Islamic tradition a robust and dynamic personality. Ibrahim (pbuh) typifies man's spiritual journey from that primordial state (fitra) of innocent faith in God to doubt, then to faith, and finally to absolute certainty. From a contemplative observation at night of the universe around him, Ibrahim (pbuh) deduced that it must have a Lord. "When the night covered him over he saw a star. He said: This is my Lord. But when it set, he said : I love not those that set". Ibrahim (pbuh) cried with disappointment. He then saw the moon, and then the sun, even more luminous and of much greater magnitude. Ibrahim (pbuh) exclaimed: This is my Lord, this is greatest of all! But when the sun set, he said : O my people, I am indeed free from your guilt of giving partners to God." Finally, in an outburst of divine illumination, Ibrahim (pbuh) cried out: "For me, I have set my face, firmly and truly towards Him who created the heavens and the earth and never shall I give partners to God". <Qur'an Al-An'am 6:76-79>
It was after this discovery of the truth by his unaided reason that Ibrahim (pbuh) received revelation. He discovered God, as it were, then God guided him and granted him and his progeny the gift of prophethood, then chose him as His intimate friend (khalil) and finally appointed him as the imam (leader) of Humankind. Ibrahim, (pbuh) left no revelation of his own because he belongs to all revelation. He is the hero and maker of revelation-history rather than its guide. He was neither a Jew nor a Christian but a man of pure faith, a humble Muslim, a submitter to God. "Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian rather he was a downright acceptor of commands." <Qur'an Al-Imran 3:67>
In the time of Musa, people of Egypt were worshiping the Pharaohs instead of Allah. Cruelty, evil, and stealing were abundant. Allah sent Prophet Musa (pbuh) to guide the Pharaoh and the people of Egypt and to save them from slavery. Prophet Musa (pbuh) delivered the command of God to the Pharaoh. However, Ramses II, who was very cruel and selfish, did not accept the command of Allah and disagreed with Musa (pbuh) warning his followers that if they did not stop worshipping one Allah, he would cut their hands and feet and would hang them to death. However, the followers of Musa (pbuh) did not get scared, and stood firmly in their belief refusing to abandon the right religion. Allah ordered Prophet Musa (pbuh) to take his followers out of Egypt to a new land. The Pharaoh and his army, knowing about this migration, set out to capture Musa (pbuh) and his followers. Musa (pbuh) and his followers reached the dead sea on their way, where God, the Almighty, split the sea in two allowing them to cross safely, whilst the Pharaoh and his army were drowned therein. After that, Musa (pbuh) devoted himself to the work of guiding people to live by the laws that he brought from the Most Merciful, Allah. These laws are found in the "Torah", the book which he brought from Allah. The followers of Prophet Musa (pbuh) are called Jews.
Muslims respect and revere Isa (pbuh), and await his second coming. He is considered to be one of the greatest of God's messengers to Mankind. He told people of the earlier prophets of Allah, saying that he is only one of the prophets of God. "...Christ Jesus, the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of God..." <Qur'an Nisaa 4:171> He urged people to believe in Allah and worship no one apart from Allah.
In the Qur'an, when he is not mentioned by name while Isa (pbuh), he is mentioned
as son of Maryam". Most Quranic references to Isa (pbuh) describe
him as son of Mary, because at the time when the Quran was
revealed, there were numerous legends in circulation about Isa (pbuh) and the
false claim of his being Allahs son or his having a dual nature, partly
divine and partly human, on his having a single divine nature with which his
human nature has mixed and integrated in the same way as a drop of water falls
into a cup mixes with the water contained in that cup. Numerous were these mythical
concepts which gave rise to endless arguments and polemics among various churches
and councils, and which led to great bloodshed during the reign of the Byzantine
He was a man who wanted to instill love and justice between the people as opposed
to the oppression, cruelty and injustice prevalent at the time. He received
many blessings from God and through them he was able to perform many miracles.
He could cure the sick and also bring the dead back to life, in order that the
people recognise the truth of his message, realising his miracles were a gift
from God and it is thus to Him that they should be grateful to alone. But most
of the people did not accept Isa' invitation (pbuh) to the right path. They
showed a lot of hatred and cruelty towards him instead. The book that Isa (pbuh)
brought from Allah for the guidance of people is called the Enjeel.
He announced to the people a coming of another prophet, whose name would be Ahmad.
Muhammad (pbuh) was born in AD 570 into the clan of Hashim (Banu Hashim) of the tribe of Quraysh, who at that time was the most powerful and prestigious tribe in Mecca. The birth of the Prophet of Islam (pbuh) and the dawn of his prophethood was not the birth of a Prophet alone, nor was it the rise of a new nation, or the beginning of a new era. It was the genesis of a new world which was destined to last till the end of time when all shall he returned to their Lord and Master. The influence of Muhammad's prophethood is visible in everything that the world now contains, the beliefs and the patterns of thought, culture and civilization, the morals and modes of living, the knowledge and learning.
His final spiritual awakening and call to prophethood occurred when he was about forty. The event of the full revelation was as dramatic and sudden as it was transformative. The human frame was too frail to absorb the shock of the infinite unveiled Light of Reality, so for the next twenty-three years of his life the revealed message of the Qur'an descended upon the Prophet through the angelic medium of Gabriel. There is no doubt that neither the occasion nor the content of the revealed message was under Muhammad's (pbuh) conscious control. The sequence of the revelation followed an organic pattern dictated by the occasion, but Muhammad (pbuh) already knew the form of the whole Qur'an, which he clarified after it was fully revealed before his death. The particular night that the Qur'an descended upon the Prophet's heart is described as the "Night of Destiny" (Qur'an Qadr 97:1-5), symbolizing the full descent of the Book of Knowledge in contrast to the years it took for it to be outwardly manifested.
Another night of note which is regarded as a significant experience in the Prophet's life was the "Night of Ascent", laylat al-mi`raj (Qur'an Bani Israel 17:1), in which the Prophet (pbuh) actually experienced a heavenward journey that included a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Natural physical limitations were overcome and the soul's journey to its Lord took place. This event is symbolically reflected in the transportation of the believer's soul during his or her daily prayers.(source :The Rise of Islam By Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri)
The great prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the most noble, most patient, and the most sacrificing Prophet: No prophet has ever been hurt as I had. Allah distinguished him with commendation and honoring to the extent that He had never before distinguished any prophet before him "And most surely you conform (yourself) to sublime morality" <Qur'an Al-Qalam 68:4>