Prophets – A Manifestation of Divine Attributes
Farhan Iqbal, Missionary, Canada
In part seven of this article series, it was stated that there is nothing unique in the fact that special phrases and special titles are used for Jesus Christas. In fact, such usage is common in Biblical idiom for the prophets of God in general. What is more is that such metaphors are common in the books of God, and they should not be understood in the literal sense for the deification of any human being.
It should be understood that such metaphors are common in the books of God and they have never ever been understood in the literal sense for the deification of any human being. In the last part, the example of Mosesas was given that he was called “god” in Exodus 7:1. In a similar way, the acts of Prophet Muhammadsa are called acts of God in a metaphorical sense. Consider the following examples:
وَمَا رَمَيۡتَ اِذۡ رَمَيۡتَ وَ لٰـكِنَّ اللّٰهَ رَمٰى ۚ
“And thou [O Muhammadsa] threwest not when thou didst throw, but it was Allah Who threw.” (Surah al-Anfal, Ch.8: V.18)
اِنَّ الَّذِيۡنَ يُبَايِعُوۡنَكَ اِنَّمَا يُبَايِعُوۡنَ اللّٰهَ ؕ يَدُ اللّٰهِ فَوۡقَ اَيۡدِيۡهِمۡ ۚ فَمَنۡ نَّكَثَ فَاِنَّمَا يَنۡكُثُ عَلٰى نَفۡسِهٖ ۚ وَمَنۡ اَوۡفٰى بِمَا عٰهَدَ عَلَيۡهُ اللّٰهَ فَسَيُؤۡتِيۡهِ اَجۡرًا عَظِيۡمًا
“Verily, those who swear allegiance to thee [O Muhammadsa] indeed swear allegiance to Allah. The hand of Allah is over their hands. So whoever breaks his oath, breaks it to his own loss; and whoever fulfils the covenant that he has made with Allah, He will surely give him a great reward.” (Surah al-Fath, Ch.48: V.11)
وَمَا يَنۡطِقُ عَنِ الۡهَوٰى
اِنۡ هُوَ اِلَّا وَحۡىٌ يُّوۡحٰى
“Nor does he [Prophet Muhammadsa] speak out of his own desire. It is nothing but pure revelation that has been revealed by God.” (Surah al-Najm, Ch.53: V.4-5)
These examples show that the actions of the Holy Prophetsa were so much in accordance with the will of Allah that they are called the actions of Allah Himself in a very clear and understandable metaphor. To understand these verses in a literal sense would amount to Shirk (association of partners with God) which is strongly condemned in the Holy Quran, as follows:
اِنَّ اللّٰهَ لَا يَغۡفِرُ اَنۡ يُّشۡرَكَ بِهٖ وَيَغۡفِرُ مَا دُوۡنَ ذٰ لِكَ لِمَنۡ يَّشَآءُ ۚ وَمَنۡ يُّشۡرِكۡ بِاللّٰهِ فَقَدِ افۡتَـرٰۤى اِثۡمًا عَظِيۡمًا
Surely, Allah will not forgive that any partner be associated with Him; but He will forgive whatever is short of that to whomsoever He pleases. And whoso associates partners with Allah has indeed devised a very great sin.” (Surah al-Nisa, Ch.4: V.49)
In other words, in light of this clear teaching on Shirk, it is impossible to assume that the above verses where Prophet Muhammad’sactions are called the actions of God are literal instead of metaphorical. The same is the case with Jesusas. His actions and words were simply in accordance with the will of Allah. The Promised Messiahas illustrates this further in the following quotation:
“If Christians had confined themselves to describing Jesus, son of Mary, as the son of God just as Abrahamas, Isaacas, Ishmaelas, Jacobas, Josephas, Mosesas, Davidas, Solomonas and others were metaphorically called sons of God in the Scripture, there would have been no objection to it. Just as these Prophets were called sons of God, so is the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) metaphorically called God in some prophecies. The truth is that all these descriptions are metaphorical; none of those Prophets were sons of God, nor was the Holy Prophetsa God. Such expressions abound in scriptures as indications of God’s love.” (Haqiqatul Wahi, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 22, p. 66)
The Promised Messiahas illustrates this point by quoting the following verse of the Quran:
قُلۡ يٰعِبَادِىَ الَّذِيۡنَ اَسۡرَفُوۡا عَلىٰٓ اَنۡفُسِهِمۡ لَا تَقۡنَطُوۡا مِنۡ رَّحۡمَةِ اللّٰهِ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ يَغۡفِرُ الذُّنُوۡبَ جَمِيۡعًا
“Tell them, ‘O my servants! Despair not of the mercy of Allah; surely Allah will forgive all sins.’” (Surah al-Zumar, Ch.39: V.54)
In this verse, “O my servants” has been stated in the place of “O servants of Allah”, when the reality of course is that all of mankind is Allah’s servant. In this quotation then, the Promised Messiahas gives yet another example from the Quran where Prophet Muhammadsa is equated with God in the metaphorical sense, and this is nothing but a result of his extra-ordinary loving relationship with God.
This same loving relationship was experienced by the Promised Messiahas as well. In several of his writings, he has explained how a seeker of God can reach high levels of spiritual exaltation and communion with God. When a person totally becomes one with God and starts doing everything in accordance with the will of Allah, and only seeks the pleasure of Allah in all his actions, he reaches a stage called fanaa, which can literally be translated as extinction of the self or self-annihilation.
Explaining this concept with reference to JesusChristas, and giving his own example, the Promised Messiahas writes in the following comprehensive quotation:
“[Jesusas] said clearly that he was a man. Regardless, it is true that his case is similar to the chosen ones of God who are granted titles from God, the Exalted, for respect, and nearness, and love, and similar to those people who use words expressing their love and communion [with God] as they are completely extinct in the love of God. Is there any doubt that when a person loves another person or God, and that love reaches its climax, then the lover feels as if his soul has become one with the soul of the beloved? And, at the stage of fanaa nazri [apparent extinction of the self], he sees himself one with the Beloved at many occasions.” (Kitabul Bariyya, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 13, p. 100)
The Promised Messiahas then quotes a number of revelations where Allah has expressed the same kind of love for him and has granted him special titles. These can be seen in full in Tadhkirah, pages 397 to 403.
This exalted position given to the Promised Messiahas by God prompted him to challenge his Christian opponents in the following words:
“There is nothing in the Gospel that establishes the godhood of Jesus… If his godhood can be established by the words of the Gospel, then the revelations vouchsafed to me connote my godhood to a greater degree than do the revelations of Jesus in his case. If the Christian ministers are not capable of determining this matter by themselves, then let them submit the revelations and words of Jesus set out in the Gospel, which are supposed to establish his godhood, to three umpires who may be mutually agreed upon from among non-Muslims and non-Christians, and if they decide and state on oath that the godhood of Jesus is established more clearly from his reported words, I would hand over one thousand rupees to the Christian ministers as a penalty. The umpires should state on oath, in the name of God Almighty, that they have made the truthful decision, and also state that if it be otherwise, may God Almighty afflict them, within one year, with such torment as should involve their ruin and disgrace. But I am convinced that the Christian ministers will not agree to this method of settlement.” (Kitabul Bariyyah, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 13, p. 106 [as translated in The Essence of Islam, Vol. 3, pp. 415-416])
Given the evidence, it is not surprising that the Christian ministers of the time of the Promised Messiahas did not rise up to this challenge, as there is nothing in the Gospels that clearly and unambiguously establishes the Divinity of Jesusas.