The Truth of Prophethood

Translated by : A.J. Kassem

   Prophethood is something that has been claimed by both the most truthful and the most deceptive of people throughout history.  The difference between these two types can be ascertained by discerning minds and hearts.

The famous companion, Hassan, the son of Thabit, once said, regarding the Quran, what can be translated as,

Even if there were no clear signs in it, your intuition would tell you the truth about its nature.

This statement is supported by the fact that no one has ever falsely claimed to be a prophet or receive revelation, except that his true nature has eventually been revealed to all through the exposure of his lies, sins and inconsistent statements and positions. Truth is always associated with righteousness and falsehood is always associated with sin.

After the Angel Gabriel first came to the Prophet Mohammad with revelation, he said to his wife, Khadija, “I am scared for my life”.  She said, “There is no way that God will humiliate you – Allah would never humiliate you, for you are good to your relatives, you are true to your word, you help those who are in need, you support the weak, you feed the guest and you help those who are in distress”.

When Hercules, the Byzantine King of the Eastern roman Empire, summoned the Qureshi noble, Abu Sufyaan, along with the members of his trading caravan, to ask him about the Prophet, Abu Sufyaan told the truth.  He told the truth even though he was the Prophets enemy, because he did not want to lie about anything in front of his tribesmen.  The conversation went as follows:

Which of you is the most closely related to this man who claims he is a prophet?”

Abu Sufyan replied, “I am.”

“Bring him closer and allow his companions to stand behind him. Tell his companions that I will ask him about this man who claims he is a prophet and, if he lies they must tell me he is lying.” the king instructed his guards.

 “Of what standing, amongst you, is the family of the man who claims he is a prophet?” Heraclius asked.

“His family is an honorable one, with a good name,” Abu Sufyan said.

“Have any of your people ever claimed what he has claimed?” the king asked.

“No,” replied Abu Sufyan.

“Were any of his ancestors kings?” the king continued.

“No,” replied Abu Sufyan again.

“Who believes in, and has followed this man, The weak or the powerful?” Heraclius asked Abu Sufyan.

“The weak,” replied Abu Sufyan.

“Are his followers increasing in number or decreasing in number?” the king asked.

“Increasing,” Abu Sufyan reluctantly admitted.

“Do any of them quit his faith out of anger for what it entails?” asked the king.

“No,” replied Abu Sufyan calmly.

“Did anyone ever accuse him of lying before he claimed he was a prophet?” Heraclius demanded.

“No,” Abu Sufyan said.

“Is he untrustworthy?” the king demanded, “Is he a betrayer?”

“No. There is currently a truce between us but we do not know what he will do with it.”

“Have you fought him?” the king asked, sounding surprised.

“Yes,” Abu Sufyan declared proudly.

“How did the battles go?”

“No one has dominated. We injure them and they injure us,” Abu Sufyan replied.

“What has he instructed you to do?” the king prompted.

“He told us we must worship only God, and to abandon the idols our forebears have always worshipped, and he told us we must pray and be truthful and chaste, and to acknowledge and care for our relatives,” Abu Sufyan replied.


The king then explained his line of questioning and his interpretation of the answers.  He said, “I asked you about his family and you tell me he is of a good family; thus it always is with prophets, they are chosen from amongst the good and honorable families of their people. I asked you if anyone else had claimed what he claimed and you told me, no. If anyone else had claimed what he had, then he was just an imitator of no consequence. I asked you if any of his ancestors was a king and you told me, no. If one of his ancestors was a king, then he is merely a man trying to regain his ancestor's throne. I asked you if anyone had accused him of lying before he claimed he was a prophet, and you told me, no. I know that a person who would not lie to, or about people would certainly not lie about God. I asked you if the weak or the powerful follow him and you told me, the weak. It is always the weak who first follow the prophets. I asked you if his followers increase in number or decrease, and you told me they increase. It is always like this with faith - the number of believers increase until it is complete. I asked you if anyone quits his faith out of anger and you told me: no. Once faith enters a heart, it improves it and remains there.” Heraclius further clarified, “I asked you if he was a betrayer and you told me, no. Prophets never betray. I asked you what he instructed you to do, and you told me he instructed you to worship only God and to forsake worshipping idols, and that he tells you to pray and be truthful and chaste. If what you say is true, then he will come to be master of the very land upon which my feet rest. I knew that he was to be sent by God soon, but I did not think he would be of your people. If I knew I could reach him now, then I would go to him, and if I were in his presence then I would gladly wash his feet.”

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