Maybe the ignorant will ask, what does this descent of angels from heaven mean? Let them know that it is the custom of God that when a prophet or apostle or saint descends from heaven to reform and restore a people to faith, then angels also descend with him, in his company. These angels enter human hearts willing and ready. They draw them to virtue and keep drawing them, until disbelief and misguidance disappear and the dawn of belief and righteousness shows its face. As indeed God Almighty Himself says in the Holy Qur’an:
“In it – the Night of Power – descend angels and a New Spirit, all by the command of their Lord and charged with every kind of affair. Peace it is, peace – till the rising of the dawn”. (Holy Qur’an Chapter 97:5-6)
The descent from Heaven, that is to say, angels and the Holy Spirit, takes place only when a great human – an elect – draped in vicegerency and blessed with divine revelation, descends upon this earth. The Holy Spirit is specially charged to work for this man. And the angels, they descend upon willing hearts all over the world. Then wherever there are men of good will and ability the light emitted by this man descends. The whole world is then under the influence of a pervasive light. Angels enter men’s hearts and set them in the right direction. Love of the One God begins to attract. Simple and straight hearts become charged with the love and search of truth. The weak are endowed with strength. Everywhere a wind of wholesome change begins to blow. The cause of the reformer begins to prosper. A hidden hand moves men to righteousness. Whole nations begin to feel the push. So much indeed, that the ignorant among men begin to think the world has taken a turn towards the right, all on its own.
In reality the change is the work of angels who descend from Heaven along with the vicegerent of God, and lend special strength for the acceptance and understanding of truth. They awaken those who were asleep and alert those who were lost. They give hearing to the deaf, quicken those who were dead, and raise the entombed out of their graves. Then do men suddenly open their eyes and begin to perceive and understand what was hidden from them before. The angels who help the Vicegerent are not beings apart from the Vicegerent. They are the light that shines on his face. They are the many signs and symptoms of his courage and will. This light, that is, these signs and symptoms draw towards themselves men suited to the change, by their magnetic quality. Physical distance may or may not separate them and the men drawn may be friends or complete strangers.
In short, the stir towards a new conscience, a new enthusiasm for truth that mark the change, come of the influence emanating from the angels, who descend along with the Vicegerent. It may be the people of Asia or Europe or America. It is angels who move them. This is the law of God. You will find no change in it and it is so easy and simple to grasp. It will be your misfortune if you heed it not. This humble one has come from God with Truth. Signs of Truth you will see on all sides. Time is not far, nay it is very near, when you will see angels in troops descend from heaven, moving men in Asia, in Europe and in America.
You know from the Qur’an that angels must descend along with the Vicegerent: so that they may turn men’s minds towards the truth. Better, therefore, that you wait for the appearance of this sign. If no angels descend, and no visible sign of their influence, no general – a more than ordinary – movement towards the truth takes place, then you may think no one has come from heaven. But if all this comes to pass, beware lest by rejecting the truth you become a people rebellious in the sight of God.” [Victory of Islam]
Triumph of Islam
Since the period of the Prophethood of the Holy Prophetsa extends to the Day of Judgement and he is Khaatam-ul-Anbiya’ [the seal of the Prophets], God did not so design that mankind should be united in one faith during his lifetime, for this would have marked the end of his era, and one could be led to think that since the task that had been assigned to the Holy Prophetsa had been completed, his Prophethood had also come to an end. God, therefore, left the unification of mankind and their acceptance of one faith for the latter part of the Prophethood of Muhammadsa, which will also be the time of the approach of the Day of Judgement. For this purpose, God appointed a deputy from among this very Ummah [Muslim community], who was named the Promised Messiah and also Khatam-ul-Khulafa’. Thus, the Holy Prophetsa stands at the beginning of his Prophethood, and the Promised Messiahas stands towards the end of it. It was necessary that this world should not come to an end until after the appearance of the Deputy of the Prophet, as the unification of mankind was destined to take place in his time. This is set out in the verse:
He it is Who has sent His Messenger with perfect guidance and the True Religion so that He may bring about its triumph over all the religions of the world… (Ch.61:V.10)
All scholars who have preceded me are agreed that this universal triumph would be achieved in the time of the Promised Messiahas.
[Chashma-e-Ma’rifat, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 23, pp.90-91 (Eng. Translation in Essence of Islam, Vol. 4, pp.73-74)]
The Need for Prophets
God Almighty has bound up belief in His own existence with belief in His Messengers. The reason for this is that man is invested with the capacity of believing in the Unity of God as stone is invested with the capacity of flaring up; and a Messenger is like the flint, which elicits the spark from the stone by striking it. It is, therefore, not possible that without the flint, that is to say without a Divine Messenger, the spark of the Unity of God may be ignited in a human heart. It is only a Divine Messenger who brings down Tauhid [belief in the Unity of God] upon the earth and it is achieved only through him. God is hidden and displays His countenance only through a Messenger.
[Haqiqat-ul-Wahi, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 22, p.131 (Eng. Translation in Essence of Islam Vol. 3, p. 111)]
Prophets are a manifestation of
The misconception that belief in the Unity of God is enough for the salvation of man, and that it is not necessary to believe in a Prophet, is utterly absurd. People who entertain such a belief seek to separate the soul from the body. Belief in the Unity of God can only be established through a Prophet, and is not possible without believing in him. If a Prophet, who is the source of belief in God’s Unity, is excluded, Divine Unity cannot be upheld. A Prophet alone is the cause and source and father and fountain and perfect manifestation of the belief in the Unity of God. Through him alone can one behold the hidden countenance of God and realise His existence. On the one hand, the Divine is eminently Self-Sufficient and cares not whether anyone is guided or goes astray; on the other, He desires that He should be known and that His creatures should derive benefit from His eternal mercy. He, therefore, manifests Himself to him whose heart is charged to the highest degree with the natural desire of attaining nearness to the Holy One, and is also filled with utmost sympathy for mankind. God displays to him the light of His being and eternal attributes. In this manner, the person who possesses such superior nature—who, in other words, is called a Prophet—is drawn towards God. On account of the extreme eagerness with which his heart is charged with sympathy for mankind, he desires by his spiritual inclination, supplication and humility, that others too should recognise the God Who has been revealed to him so that they too may attain salvation. He sincerely offers the sacrifice of his own self and, out of the desire that mankind may be revived, strives to the utmost degree and is always ready to suffer many deaths, as is indicated in the verse:
‘Haply thou wilt grieve thyself to death because they believe not.’ (Ch.26:V.4)
God is Self-Sufficient, and does not stand in need of creatures, but in view of the grief, sorrow, torment, humility, extreme devotion, truthfulness and integrity of such a person, God manifests Himself through His signs to the eager hearts of men. As a result of the earnest supplications of such a person, which create a tumultuous uproar in heaven, Divine signs descend upon the earth like rain and extraordinary happenings are witnessed, which reveal the countenance of God and the world bears witness that God exists. Had the Holy Prophetsa not turned to God with so much supplication, entreaty and earnestness, and had he not offered the sacrifice of his self and accepted a hundred deaths at every step, Divine countenance would never have been revealed to the world, because God Almighty, due to His Self-Sufficiency, is completely independent. He says:
That is: ‘Allah is independent of all the worlds;’ (Ch.3:V.98) and:
‘It is Our eternal law that those who strive after Us and seek Us with the utmost effort, We show them Our way.’ (Ch.29:V.70)
The first and foremost in offering sacrifices in the cause of Allah, are the Prophets. Everyone strives for himself but Prophets strive for others. People sleep, but the Prophets stay awake on their behalf. People laugh and the Prophets weep for them. They willingly bear hardship for the deliverance of mankind. They do this so that God may so manifest Himself that people should be convinced that He exists, and His existence and Unity may be clearly perceived by them and through such perception mankind might attain salvation. Thus the Prophets suffer death out of their sympathy for their enemies. And when their agony reaches its climax and heaven is filled with their tormented supplications, God Almighty exhibits the brightness of His countenance and manifests His existence and His Unity to mankind through powerful signs. Thus there is no doubt that the knowledge of God and of His Unity is gained by man only through a Prophet and cannot be achieved otherwise. The highest example in this regard was set by our Holy Prophetsa who lifted a whole people out of the filth in which they were steeped, and conveyed them to a garden. He provided excellent spiritual food and drink for those who were on the point of death because of spiritual starvation. He raised them from their animal condition to the condition of man, and then made them civilised and perfect, and exhibited so many signs that they were enabled to see God, and brought about such a change in them that they began to shake hands with angels. No other Prophet was able to bring about such a complete change in his people, for their followers did not achieve perfection.
[Haqiqat-ul-Wahi, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 22, pp.116-118, (Eng. Translation in Essence of Islam Vol. 3, p.111-114)]
Prophets demonstrate God’s existence
It should be remembered that it is the Prophets (peace be on them) who demonstrate the existence of God and teach people His Unity. If those holy ones had not appeared, it would have been impossible to discover the straight path with certainty. Though a person of sincere nature, possessing sane reason can, by reflecting on the universe and observing its perfect and well-established order, conclude that there ought to be a Creator of this well-ordered universe, however, there is a world of difference between ‘ought to be’ and ‘is’. The prophets alone (peace be on them) established through thousands of signs and miracles that the Transcendent Being Who comprises all power does in fact exist. Indeed, the degree of comprehension that the need of a Creator may be perceived by the observation of the universe is also a reflection of the rays of Prophethood. Had there been no Prophets, no one would have achieved this degree of reason. This may be understood through the contemplation that, though there is water below the surface of the earth, the maintenance of that water depends upon the water that descends from the sky. When there is a long drought, the underground water dries up and when rain descends, the underground water also begins to well up. In the same way, with the advent of a Prophet, reason—which is sub-surface water—is sharpened and improved; and when over a long period no Prophet is raised the sub-surface water of reason begins to decline and becomes muddied and the worship of idols and all manner of paganism and vice abound. The eye possesses the faculty of sight, yet it needs the light of the sun to be able to see. In the same way, human reason, which resembles the eye, needs the light of the sun of Prophethood. And when that sun disappears reason becomes confused and dark; just as you cannot see with the eye alone, you cannot see without the light of Prophethood. As the recognition of God always depends upon the recognition of a Prophet, it is not possible to recognise the Unity of God without him. A Prophet is a mirror for the observance of the Divine. God can only be seen through this mirror. When God Almighty designs to reveal Himself to the world, He raises a Prophet, who is a manifestation of Divine powers, and sends down His revelation to him and manifests His Divine powers through him. It is then that the world comes to know that God exists.
[Haqiqat-ul-Wahi, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 22, pp.114-116 (Eng. Translation in Essence of Islam Vol. 3, p.)]