One could inquire whether it is necessary for God to send prophets to guide human beings, and whether or not our human intellect and wisdom are enough to realize the realities of what encompasses and surrounds us.
According to religious doctrine, the human mind is unable to accept that what we see at times could be the exact opposite of reality, i.e. the reality behind what we see. The advancement of human knowledge to the current extent places forward a legitimate question as to whether or not humans are able to discover the secrets and answers behind the realities of all things. Especially when all what Prophets have come with either settles in our minds or doesn’t settle at all.
Why is it that prophets are troubled and killed in order that the rest of humanity is guided? As well as the discussion regarding whether the affairs of one human being can be submitted into the hands of another human being is possible?, and if possible, what are the required characteristics of the ‘prophet’? – Which would then open the topic of infallibility and greater social and divine rank. Because it wouldn’t make sense for us humans to submit to another human who is similar to us in characteristics.
The analysis of this matter would require certain matters to be taken into consideration:
As human beings, we need to accept that our knowledge is limited. And with all of the advancements in technology and sciences that have been achieved by man in the many fields, what we know is a drop in the ocean of what we don’t know… and what is yet to be known.
We are then in need of a guide that will enlighten humanity to the deep hidden secrets and sciences of this universe, or at least to what we are in need of to advance and excel to higher levels and statuses as human beings. It is true that our minds enlighten the path for us on a day to day basis, but what prophets preach of divine revelation is similar to the sun that enlightens the planets; and we have never heard someone deny the need for the sun due to the fact that the light bulb exists.
The matters of life can be divided into three categories:
a) The reasonable
b) The unreasonable
c) The unknown
Prophets sent from God may never make unreasonable statements which contradict the mind and wisdom. Along with that, Prophets assist us in comprehending the unknown, which is a matter of high importance to us human beings. Therefore those that claim the human mind is sufficient and that humanity is not in need of prophets and their teachings hasn’t understood the limit of the human mind, or the message of a prophet.
Such claims are similar to a young student that had learned the basics of school, and whom now turns around to claim that he is not in need of a teacher anymore.
Prophets are not only teachers, they are also leaders, and their leaderships which have been recorded throughout the books of history prove that their wisdom would change the situation of humanity to the better if followed.
Nobody has claimed that as human beings, we should submit our affairs into the hands of another human being similar to us. As for God’s Prophets who preach nothing other than divine revelation, we are in no way similar to them, and their miracles prove to us their never ending link with God.
As logical human beings, we are in need to search for the realistic reasons as to why Prophets are an important aspect within our happiness and advancement. There are key factors which highlight our dire need for prophets:
a) The Need to Learn
If we were able to board a plane that would travel at the speed of light (300,000* kilometers per second), we would require thousands of years in order for us to be able to reach and discover one corner/angle/edge of this wide universe.
This universe, with its unlimited and boundless size surely wasn’t created without wisdom. What’s more important is understanding that God is complete, and creating such a great creation wasn’t due to the need to complete His divine being or characteristic. From this we understand that the purpose behind such a great creation is to shower his creations with never ending blessings and mercy, in order for us to achieve perfection.
God is like the sun. It shines upon the planets and contributes in the system life but remains independent and not in need of them; and there is nothing that could be done in order to give back to the sun for all the good it provides.
b) Limited Knowledge and Different Theories
There are questions that require answers, and only Prophets are able to answer us. For example, nobody knows when we will die and depart from this world. If we knew when our time on this world would come to an end, we would prioritize our lives in a more organized manner, and we would achieve more than we thought we ever could.
From the social and economical aspects of life, every philosopher holds a unique opinion or theory. There are those who promote capitalism while others promote socialism, communism, and there are those who reject all three. Differences like this exist in almost all aspects of life, including education; and in many of these cases society remains confused. Therefore it becomes normal and natural for a human being to need a divine guide from God. Here, we must confess to the serious need for a guide to enlighten us in all aspects of life, in order that we may reach perfection… the ultimate goal behind our creation. This can only be achieved with divine interference which descends down upon Prophets.
God created and placed us on this path, therefore he is in need to provide a guide for us to be able to successfully complete this journey.
c) The Need for Social and Ethical Leaders
Along with the mind and intellect, human beings have strong desires and instincts such as love for one’s self, anger, and many other desires which could take control over the human being. If we do not control our desires and allow them to take control of us, our minds would then be restricted and limited, resulting in lack of vision and wisdom which eventually turns the human being into a tyrant – as we’ve seen throughout history.
Thus, we are in need of ethical nurturing by a divinely-selected nurturer we can completely trust and follow their footsteps. Because a role model like this would naturally be of high, perfect and divine upbringing in all aspects, and is able to take by our hands, guide and protect us from failure, corruption and demoralization; and to plant the seed of pure ethics within our beings by his teachings and actions, along with nurturing us in the right direction – the direction of loving other human beings, faithfulness, loyalty, peace, trustworthiness and purity of the soul.
The question which remains now is, who is worthy of guiding humanity other than a divine Prophet? And the merciful lord would not deprive humanity from such divinely guiding nurturers.
Human beings are an eccentric creation, complicated in structure, nature and mind. In fact, humans have sophisticated characters and personas; on one hand the human lives with the ability to cause ethical corruption and with the ability to spread goodness and righteousness.
As human beings, our desires drag us towards the loving of materialistic things, as well as love for leadership. However God reminds his creations in the Holy Quran for example, that “Verily man is in loss, Except those who have faith” which assures human beings that regardless of our worldly status and wealth, it is our good deeds that count.
The reason as to why God has undertaken such a methodology in clarifying the reality of things to his creations is due to the fact that the human mind is already set to understanding the ending pleasures of this world and the never-ending paradise which awaits in the hereafter. We humans are in need of a constant reminder that assists us on the path of reaching God’s satisfaction. Our minds were created to guide us to doing good and refraining from bad, and our conscience works closely with the mind to prevent any wrongdoings or oppression. Yes, humans do oppress other humans, but they too would admit that oppressing is a negative thing.
The struggle between the mind of the human being – that strives to guide the human being towards the satisfactions of God – and between the negativity of self-desires is a struggle that has always existed. Whoever’s mind takes control over self-desires will live the life of the honorable, and will be able to serve humanity in the best ways possible, and naturally, whoever’s self-desires take control over their mind will live the life of the low, while sabotaging every good and oppressing the rest of humanity.
At times, our self-desires deceive us into believing what is good is bad, and what is actually bad as good; which eventually prevents the mind from progressing into allowing us to becoming better human beings and excellent role models for society. The reason why self-desires become in control is due to the lack of knowledge within the mind that aids us in falling for the tricks of the heart.
What is the reality of what surrounds us as human beings?..
As a result of the fact that human knowledge is limited from knowing the realities of all things and the secrets of what encompasses man, we remain unable to identify all what benefits us and harms us. We are also unable to identify everything that results in our happiness and anger. The more we increase in knowledge regarding the universe that encompasses us, the more we realize how ignorant we were.
Therefore, human beings are in dire need of an infallible guide that will free them from self-desires and materialism and who will direct them towards the right path, and pave the way of success for them in the hereafter.
Intellectuals and great philosophers have realized this matter from the very start, that the human being – alone – may never be able to reach all fields of happiness and goodness; and know the realities of every surrounding thing. Regardless of how many allies among each other we may have as humans, we will never be able to comprehend what benefits and what harms us, our societies and world.
The solution is non other than that God is to send a guide that will take us by our hands and exit us from the darkness of this world and into the light of guidance. Thus the Almighty sent “a Messenger from themselves, reciting to them His verses and purifying them; teaching them the book and wisdom” (Quran) who will inform the human beings of what benefits them and warns them of what harms them. This is the philosophy behind the message of all Prophets, including Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad.
This matter comes as part of God’s justice and mercy towards his creations and His love for all.