Sunday, 10 May 2020

Abrogation of Prophesy and its Substitution

In Your Name, Allahumma

He, Holy and Exalted is He, says:

 مَا نَنسَخْ مِنْ آيَةٍ أَوْ نُنسِهَا نَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ مِّنْهَا أَوْ مِثْلِهَا ۗ أَلَمْ تَعْلَمْ أَنَّ اللَّـهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

We do not abrogate a Sign or cause it to be forgotten (except) that We bring forth one better than it or similar to it. Do you not know that Allah is over all things competent
(Sura 2:106)

This is the Quranic answer to the dilemma that we have been struggling with for a while, namely, why did Allah terminate the institution of Prophesy after the Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu alayhi wa-aalihi wasallam) so that there is no prophet to come after him for this Umma, whereas in the previous nations, particularly the children of Israel, Allah sent among them a multitude of prophets after their chief prophet Moses (peace be upon him). After all, Allah Most High declares that we are the best Umma (Sura 3:110). How is it logically possible that this "best Umma" be deprived of a great blessing - the institution of Prophesy - which persisted for centuries in Israel, an Umma that is inferior to ours?
So the basic reply to this problem is that the institution of Prophesy has ceased only in the formal sense, to illustrate the completion and perfection of the Muhammadan Shari'a (Sura 5:3), but Allah has promised that in compensation for the termination of the institution of Prophesy, He has brought forth in its place something that is similar to it (there cannot be any institution that is superior to that of Prophesy). That institution which is a substitution for the cessation of Prophesy in its formal sense is the institution of Wilaya (Sainthood) and Khilafa (Caliphate or Succession to the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him which is upon the pattern of his prophesy and his way). So the one who is a true Muslim saint and successor of the Prophet may be termed a "para-prophet" (meaning one like a prophet without actually being a prophet), in addition to "semi-prophet" (meaning one that is partially and not fully a prophet).

2 comments:

  1. It was Dr. Nasir Ahmad Sultani, the self-proclaimed Mujaddid (divinely-appointed Reformer) of the 15th century After Hijra, who drew my attention to this Verse (Sura 2:106) as being relevant to the abrogation of Prophesy, which is one of Allah's Signs, and therefore it being necessary for there being some substitution for it that is either its similitude or superior to it. While I maintain that Wilaya (sainthood) is the similitude of Prophesy that is its substitution for this Umma, Dr. Sultani insists that in general the institution of Islamic Sainthood is superior to Prophesy, which I passionately disagree with. Other verses of the Quran clearly define Prophesy as one of Allah's Signs, and Prophets as being Signs of Allah.

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  2. In anticipation of the possible objection that how does the term آية Ayah as it occurs in Surah 2:106 encompass the institution of Prophesy, then the answer may be given with Surah 2:259 where Allah, in speaking of the ancient prophet Ezekiel, declares to him: وَلِنَجْعَلَكَ آيَةً لِّلنَّاسِ "We shall make you a Sign for the people". In other words, Allah declared a Prophet to be a Sign in his person, proving that the institution of Prophesy, and the individuals Prophets, are among the Signs of Allah. The cessation of that institution requires a substitution that is its like as per Surah 2:106

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