إِنَّا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ كَمَا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَى نُوحٍ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ مِن بَعْدِهِ وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَْاسْحَقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالأَسْبَاطِ وَعِيسَى وَأَيُّوبَ وَيُونُسَ وَهَارُونَ وَسُلَيْمَانَ وَآتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ زَبُورًا وَرُسُلاً قَدْ قَصَصْنَاهُمْ عَلَيْكَ مِن قَبْلُ وَرُسُلاً لَّمْ نَقْصُصْهُمْ عَلَيْكَ وَكَلَّمَ اللّهُ مُوسَى تَكْلِيمًا رُّسُلاً مُّبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ لِئَلاَّ يَكُونَ لِلنَّاسِ عَلَى اللّهِ حُجَّةٌ بَعْدَ الرُّسُلِ وَكَانَ اللّهُ عَزِيزًا حَكِيمًا
النساء ، القران
We have sent revelation to thee (O’ Muhammad,) like we sent revelation to Noah and other prophets after him, and We sent revelation to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and his progeny, and Jesus and Job and Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and to David – we bestowed (great) Psalms. And (other) messengers that we had narrated to thee before and others that we have not narrated to thee, and Allah talked to Moses – the way of conversation. Messengers sent as givers of glad tidings and warnings – so that there remains no argument with people against Allah after these messengers – and Allah is verily supreme and wise. (The Women, Chapter 4, Verses: 163-165)
In the verse cited above, Allah has stated the Raison d’être for establishing the office of Prophethood. To understand it, recall that Adam and his progeny, apart from a unique moral code, have been bestowed with superior faculties of reasoning – or in other words ‘Inferential Capabilities’. That is to say, that man can reach to obscured facts, merely on the basis of hints. By seeing smoke, he can ascertain fire. By connecting the dots, he can see the unseen. But when he couples this capability with the ‘moral code within’, religion holds, that the only possible outcome, for which no other evidence is required, is a Day of Retribution. The Quran therefore bears this motif that all humans are to be held accountable merely on the basis of this prized faculty, alone. It is replete with the idea that if men use their powers of reasoning and deduction, their is no way they can be misguided. It is only prejudice of some kind that can keep them from accessing sound logic enshrined within them. And yes, this prejudice is a ‘Bypass’ switch. Once engaged, man can bypass arguments and reasoning the size of mountains.
But there is another small anomaly, that man is prone to! He is a product of his surroundings – generally speaking. So what happens is that ‘under the influence‘ of his surroundings, man succumbs to ‘un-reasonability‘. He accepts as ‘normal’, what is veritably ‘abnormal’. He supersedes his intelligence and conscience by forcing himself to believe in logical fallacies, only because they are prevalent. Sure there are Evil mongers and Devil’s advocates too, but many a men are nothing but innocent. By approaching them from an angle of trust and sincerity, demagogues can fool them into believing make-believe. These demagogues exploit their trusting natures, which is actually a jewel in itself, to misguide them – just like Satan confounded Adam. But all that these innocent and trusting beings need during this inebriation, is but one ‘moment of clarity’. This single moment is enough to break their spells and offer them with the simple plain truth. And when a truth seeker finds the truth, he jumps towards it like a moth to a flame. Allah, in His infinite wisdom, thus acceded to grant man this moment of clarity.
Allah, therefore, has clarified in the Quran that prophethood was not ‘necessary’, per se, to legitimize retribution. It is merely ‘mopping up’ of any stray arguments that a man may present with sincerity in the court of the Almighty, that God has attended to. ‘Why didn’t thou point to me my mistake once thou saw that I was misled?’, he might say. ‘You knew I was a seeker of truth, and believed what i believed only since i was befuddled?’, he might argue. ‘If after you had shown to me the right path, and exposed to me my mistake, then if I had chosen wrong, should I be liable to punishment’, he might reason. Although, the line of reasoning holds little credence, but Allah Almighty, just didn’t want such a back and forth on ‘that day’, that might seem even remotely logical to man. Thus He established Prophethood.
After prophets, therefore, Allah holds, no argument whatsoever shall be accepted from man for open disobedience. He is oft forgiving and manifest mercy, but if anyone ‘chooses’, despite such discrete arrangements, vice over virtue, lie over truth, unreasonable over reasonable; his abode shall reasonably, be Hell.
But the beauty of all of it, and it might even confuse some, is that how well every single arrangement that Allah made fits into His Grand Scheme. I mean, one might wonder, if it is just a fail-safe, why have prophets been given such tremendous powers, exalted statures, detailed scriptures and mammoth assignments. They should merely have been ‘Postmen’ and nothing more………
That is because one of the perks that comes with ‘Omniscience’ is: there is no contingency planning. Once, the raising of an entity was pre-decided, to utilize the entity fully, many other tasks were allotted to the entity as part of its office. I am not going to try and talk about stuff that evidently is beyond my pay grade, but this much, to me, is only logical. Allah, once prescient of the office, made them His true representatives. From their selection, to their authorities, everything was designed in a manner exhibiting the exalted stature of the Almighty. His reps – are His reps. The powers they wield, the reverence they deserve, the tasks they are appointed to undertake: were all supposed to be radiant of the Almighty Himself. People who approved of them, thereby ‘choosing’ truth over falsehood, were guided further. Through prophets, they came to know much about their Lord, that others did not and could not. They came to know how to please Him, how to avoid His displeasure. They enhanced their ethics, donning a fancy exterior over their morally superior interior. And thus in turn, all the levels of closeness to their Lord, that were initially granted to prophets, were bestowed to them also.
وَمَنْ يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ فَأُولَئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ مِنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ وَالصَّالِحِينَ وَحَسُنَ أُولَئِكَ رَفِيقًا
And whosoever shall obey Allah and this Messenger (i.e. Muhammad), for they shall be in the company of the ones awarded by Allah (i.e. those) from among the Prophets and the Affirmers (i.e. leaders in believing and leading others to believe in the prophets) and the Witnesses (i.e. testifying Allah by giving their lives) and the Righteous (in general) – and how beautiful is this companionship. (The Women, Chapter 4, Verse 69)
Thus to me, the raison detre of the office of prophethood is ‘Argument Elimination’. They do this by pointing out to their masses the right and the wrong, and in turn, the glad tidings that shall accompany the righteous and the evil consequences that the wrongdoers shall endure. But their choice as true representatives of the Almighty, enshrines in them, the very countenance of the Lord, in every respect that He deems appropriate. Anybody, therefore, if thinks, that since he has not discovered any prophet yet, should know, that absence of prophets from your discovery shall not absolve you from accountability. Retribution will take place. And it’ll take place on the basis of your ‘moral code’ and ‘faculties of reasoning’.