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Some Clarifications Regarding the Position & the Mission of a Rasu'l


Question

After reading your writings and re-reading the Book by Amin Ahsan Islahi titled "Call to Islam And how the Prophets preached" pages 218-223, "the stages of the call to truth" the following issues come to mind:

  1. Define Itmaam-i-hujjat and Indhar (briefly)
  2. After the Prophet, the Companions with the institution of Khilafah, were able to represent the truth in its most perfect form (second only to the Prophet (sws). Since there is no institution of Khilafah, what are the implications for Muslims today in terms of our obligation to present and represent the Truth? The results of this inadequacy (no Khalifah, assuming it is a witness for mankind), places the present day Non-Muslim in a status of "not knowing or being convinced" of the complete truth (Islam), is this correct?

The following concepts are very crucial in understanding an important aspect of Islam. The general understanding that seems to prevail today, appears to miss the following:

  1. The Call to Truth and its stages
  2. Status of one who has knowingly rejected the truth Vs one who has not
  3. Understanding the addressees and applicable directives in the Qur'an and
  4. Nabi Vs. Rasul and the related laws concerning their presentation of the Truth and the consequences thereof.

I am quite sure there are more, but for me, getting a better perspective and understanding of the above has aided my understanding tremendously.

May Allah continue to bless all of us and help guide us to Truth.

Islamically Yours



Question from United States of America
Answer

I agree with you regarding the general lack of understanding about the concepts that you have pointed out. I also agree with you regarding the importance of these concepts in the understanding of the overall message of Islam. However, it seems that under the circumstances the only way for us is to try to present our understanding in an effective and comprehensible manner and pray for Allah's guidance for ourselves as well as our fellow human beings. Nevertheless, an important aspect that should never be overlooked is that we should never become complacent about our ideas and point of view. We should always keep our hearts and minds open toward the views that are different from our own. This seems to be the only way open for us to be able to determine our own mistakes and correct our ideas.

Your first question relates to the concept of Itmaam al-Hujjah and how it is achieved.

Itmaam al-Hujjah means the removal of all excuse in relation to accepting the revealed truth of God. The following points may help in understanding the concept of Itmaam al-Hujjah and how it is achieved with particular reference to the Messengers (Rasu'l) of God:

  1. Man is generally given the freedom to choose between good and evil and right and wrong during the life of this world. However, the reward of opting for pious deeds or the punishment of evil deeds, for the purposes of this test is generally not delivered immediately. On the Day of Judgment, only those who knowingly opted to do evil shall deserve punishment. People, who committed some evil deeds due to some actual ignorance or by mistake, shall be dealt with mercifully. For the purpose of this test, the pious and the impious people are generally not distinguished from each other in any way. However, on the Day of Judgment, people shall be separated and grouped according to their deeds. The pious shall be separated from the impious and both shall meet separate ends that shall be according to their deeds. This separation and grouping - also for the purposes of the 'test' - is generally not conducted during the life of this world.
  2. The advent of a Rasu'l (Messenger - as distinct from Nabi or Prophet) of God is an exception to the above general principle. A Rasu'l of God is not just a deliverer of God's message. In addition to that, a Rasu'l is also a symbol and an evidence of God's final justice on the Day of Judgment. When a Rasu'l of God is sent to a people, their reward and punishment is not governed by the general principles mentioned above (refer to the first point). The reward/punishment of these people is no longer deferred till the Day of Judgment. God directly guides the Rasu'l in his deliverance of the message and furnishes him with all the necessary qualities and requirements to affect this deliverance at a level after which no excuse of rejection is left with the addressees of the Rasu'l. At this juncture, the collectivity of the people toward whom the Rasu'l is sent is neither left ignorant of God's truth nor is their rejection due to any mistake in their understanding. No questions are left unanswered. No doubts about the truthfulness of the Rasu'l are left to exist in the minds of his addressees. Truth and falsehood become as clear of each other as the light of the day from the darkness of the night. The path of God's liking becomes an apparent reality. Thus, no one is left with any excuse of rejecting the truth revealed by God. This is stage of Itmaam al-Hujjah. If the addressees of the Rasu'l persist in their rejection of the truth even at this stage, then the punishment of God, which shall be the fate of all those who knowingly do evil on the Day of Judgment, is initiated for these people. Consequently, the pious and the impious - who would generally be separated on the Day of Judgment - are separated and grouped in the life of this world.
  3. The particular position of the Rasu'l of God, with reference to the Itmaam al-Hujjah is not the result of any specific efforts on the part of the Rasu'l. On the contrary, it is solely the result of God's special guidance to these Rasu'l. It is because of their being furnished with all the qualities and requirements (this may also include miracles in certain cases) that are essential and necessary for the accomplishment of Itmaam al-Hujjah on their particular addressees. Thus, the accessories with which one Rasu'l is furnished for the purpose of achieving Itmaam al-Hujjah may vary considerably from those with which another Rasu'l is furnished. These accessories and requirements with which a Rasu'l is furnished for the purposes of achieving Itmaam al-Hujjah are called "Bayyinaat" (literally meaning: 'Clear and obvious signs') in the Qur'an. In view of this fact, it is not possible for any individual or group of individuals to achieve the stage of Itmaam al-Hujjah, besides the messengers of Allah or besides the groups on whom God Himself has bestowed this position.

In view of the above explanation, it should be clear that the concept of Itmaam al-Hujjah at a collective level, relates primarily to the Rasu'l of God. It is not a quality, which can be gained through good planning and hard work. It is an attribute, which is given by God only to whom He Himself decides.

Your second question relates to Indhar.

"Indhar" literally means 'warning'. 'Indhar' and 'Basharat' (literally: 'glad tidings') are the two major components of the message of prophets and messengers of God. Both the messengers as well as the prophets of God warn their addressees of the grievous punishment that awaits them if they persist in rejecting God's message and give them glad tidings of the eternal life of bliss if they accept this message and live their lives according to the directives entailed in it. In the case of the prophets (Nabi) both the 'Indhar' (warning) as well as the 'Basharat' (glad tiding) is with reference only to the life hereafter, whereas in the case of the messengers (Rasu'l) this 'Indhar' and 'Basharat' is also with reference to the punishment/reward that their addressees are to face in the life of this world in case of rejection/acceptance of God's message.

Incidentally, the duty of the scholars of the Ummah has also been described in the Qur'an by the word of 'Indhar' (Al-Taubah 9: 122). The Qur'an (in the referred verse of Surah Al-Taubah) has stressed that some people from each Muslim community should devote their lives to the thorough learning and deep understanding of Allah's Deen (religion). It further tells us that after they have developed deep understanding of Islam (Allah's Deen) they should then perform the duty of 'Indhar' (warning others of the punishment of hellfire in case they avoid to live according to the directives of Allah) among their own people.

Your third question pertains to the results of the non-existence of the Khilafah institute among the Ummah. In this connection, it should be understood that after the Prophet (pbuh) the institute of the Itmaam al-Hujjah was transferred to the companions of the Prophet (pbuh), in their collective capacity (Al-Baqarah 2: 143, Al-Hajj 22: 78). After the companions of the Prophet (pbuh) no group or individual holds the position of performing Itmaam al-Hujjah. Now, once again, the same general principle, as explained in point number one above, applies to all mankind.

As far as the duties of individuals or groups in the work of Da`wah are concerned, the Qur'an has clearly outlined these duties with reference to the different capacities of an individual. Surah Al-`Asr lays down the duties of the common man with reference to Da`wah, Al-Taubah 9: 122 lays down the duty of those who are given the opportunity of gaining deep knowledge and understanding of religion, while Aal Imraan 3: 104 lays down the duty of an Islamic state.

2nd January 2000


Answer published by Moiz Amjad