Questions and Answers on Islamic Doctrine
Chapter 2: Belief in Prophets and Missions
Question 12: Seeing that God’s message to humanity is one and the same, why was it partitioned among more than one prophet and not revealed in one package?
Answer 12: The message entrusted to all prophets is one and the same. It finds expression in a call for the worship of the one God and the avoidance of false deities, God says: “And verily, we have sent among every ummah (community/nation) a messenger (proclaiming): ‘Worship God (alone), and avoid taghut (all false deities)’.” (Holy Qur’an: 16: 36). God Almighty also said: “And We did not send any messenger before you (Muhammad) but We revealed to him (saying): ‘None has the right to be worshipped but I (God), so worship Me (alone and none else)’.” (Holy Qur’an: 21: 25). As for the multiplicity of the prophets, it has been caused by various motives:
1. So that people in any age may not have the pretext as to have been ignorant of God’s commandments. God says: “Messengers as bearers of good news as well as of warning in order that mankind should have no plea against God after the (coming of) messengers.” (Holy Qur’an: 4: 165).
2. Specifying individual laws for each nation which shall conform to its nature and circumstances. God says: “…To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way…” (Holy Qur’an: 5: 48).
3. The differences among languages and their multiplicity, required entrusting more than one prophet/messenger, each speaks the language of a certain nation. This is obvious in the Almighty’s words: “And We sent not a messenger except with the language of his people in order that he make (the message) clear for them” (Holy Qur’an: 14: 4).