Death and the Afterlife Prophets The Holy Qur'an

Distinctive Features of Islam

20 The Review of Religions – October 2004 Distinctive Features of Islam Hadhrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad( r a ) c o m m e n t s on this: `This verse constitutes an e ffective and conclusive argument against any form of polytheism. Even atheists cannot deny that a perfect and unifying order pervades and permeates the whole Universe. If there had been more than one God, then more than one law would have governed the Universe because for a god it is necessary to create a universe with its own laws; and thus disorder and confusion would have been the inevitable result and the whole universe would have gone to pieces.’ (English Commentary of The Holy Qur’ a n by Hadhrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad(ra) Vol.4, p.1684) The Universal Prophet and the Universal Religion The teachings and scriptures of other religions were meant for certain people or nations at a given time. They were limited to a particular period and they were not universal and never claimed to be universal. Jesus(as) clearly stated: I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. (Matthew 15:24) Meaning that his message was limited only to the Jews. The scriptures, which he claimed to fulfil and not to change, were not meant to cope for the human needs of all time. This task was reserved for a great and universal Law Bearing prophet who was to come at a later date. Jesus(as) told his disciples that after him the Counsellor or Comforter would appear and would teach them all the things he was not commi- ssioned to do. (John 14:15-16, 14:25-26,16:7) This is exactly the claim of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa). In the Holy Qur’an God Almighty commands the Holy Prophet(sa) to declare: Say “O mankind! I truly am a Messenger to you all from 21The Review of Religions – October 2004 Distinctive Features of Islam Allah.” (Ch. 7: V. 159) No other prophet or scripture lays down such a claim, because they were not meant to be universal. The Holy Qur’an then says: ‘This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as religion.’ (Ch.5: V.4) This unequivocal declaration of the perfection of God’s message cannot be found in any other religion. It eliminates the need for any change or interpolation. It is a grand sign that God, in His Mercy, has provided the whole of mankind with a complete and perfect code for the satisfaction of its spiritual hunger. Islam claims to be a complete religion, and therefore no aspect of human life is left without guidance. It lays down funda- mental principles for addressing all types of problems but refrains from stipulating details, which can be filled according to chang- ing times or geographical needs. Its beauty is that it conforms to human nature. It provides a comprehensive code of conduct in individual, collective or international dealings. All the teachings of Islam were put into practice in the best possible way by a human being, the beloved Holy Prophet(sa), who reflected these teachings in his life with such excellence that he became the best example for the entire human race. If the Holy P r o p h e t( s a ) as a human being could put the teachings of the Holy Qur’an into practice, no excuse is open for any other person to say that it is impracticable. The Holy Qur’an The Holy Qur’an forms the very words that God put in the mouth of `That (The) Prophet’ as mentioned in the Bible in Deuteronomy (18:18 and John 1:21). It contains all the truths for the guidance of mankind and its message is Universal. It affirms 22 The Review of Religions – October 2004 Distinctive Features of Islam the truth of all previous revelations and the righteous- ness of all the prophets. The Holy Qur’an was revealed in Arabic by Divine revelation to Prophet Muhammad( s a ) over a period of about twenty-two and a half years. From the very outset, the Holy Prophet ( s a ) used two independent but complementary methods for preserving the integrity of the revelations. The two methods used were memor- isation and inscription. Besides ensuring independently the trans- mission of the revelations, the two methods also served as inter- nal checks to ensure their accu- rate preservation. Upon investigation it can be found that all previous religions have suffered from one common problem – that their original scriptures have been lost and only copies are available and even these have been tampered with or changed by man whenever he found that the teaching could not cope with the demands of the society of the time. Consequently their Divine purity has been lost forever. God has therefore taken it upon Himself to safeguard the Holy Qur’an from being tampered with. A verse from the Holy Qur’an states: Verily, it is We Who have sent down this Exhortation, and most surely We will be its Guardian. (Ch.15: V.10) To d a y, even non-Muslim scholars admit that the text of the Holy Qur’an is exactly the same as it was at the time of the Holy Prophet(sa). This great prophecy protecting the integrity of the text of the Holy Qur’an has been fulfilled every day over the last 1400 years. Islam is a living religion and Arabic is a living language. For a complete and living message it was essential that it should be preserved in a living language. The significance of this sign can be judged from the fact that even the English language has undergone tremendous changes over this period – and it is now 23The Review of Religions – October 2004 Distinctive Features of Islam difficult for an ordinary man in the street to understand the English language of Chaucer. This is not so with the Holy Qur’an and its Arabic is still spoken, used and understood in the Arab world. The Holy Qur’an explains all that is or may be needed by mankind for the complete fulfilment of life. It seeks to create faith in God and makes full provision for mankind’s welfare – material, moral and spiritual. It teaches all that is needed for the regulation of human life and also the philosophy underlying it. It explains the significance of establishing and maintaining communion with God. The Qur’an is so comprehensive that it makes provision for guidance in all aspects for all peoples for all times. But, the Holy Qur’an is much more than simple injunctions and commands. It is a treasure house of spiritual knowledge. It is also full of prophecies – some of them have already been fulfilled, others are being fulfilled and still others wait to be fulfilled. In fact every verse of the Holy Qur’an is called an Ayah i.e. a sign, a proof, an argument. Not one verse nor even one word is superfluous or out of place and any change would undoubtedly result in a profound decline in the meaning and the beauty of its form. Other religions more or less agree with man’s spiritual needs, but fail to describe how to fulfil them. For example, they agree that there is a God, but they expect everybody else to accept this fact without giving good reason that there is a God. Similarly, they may describe a few attributes of God, but provide no proofs of these attributes. The Holy Qur’an on the other hand, provides strong, incontro-vertible proofs of the existence of God. It also gives complete and full descriptions of all those Divine attributes that are concerned with man and it also provides the proofs. Even if man were to make in a thousand years a most powerful and 24 The Review of Religions – October 2004 Distinctive Features of Islam comprehensive computer, it could never match the power and the knowledge contained within this glorious Holy Qur’an. The Equality of Mankind Islam proclaims that every human being is born without sin and starts with a clean slate. As a former Christian, when I heard this claim it immediately released me from my previous belief that I, like all men and women, according to Christian doctrine, was born with the stigma of sin even before I took my first precious breath of life. It also appealed to my logic and common sense and was the precursor to my further investigation into the claims of the religion of Islam. As for Jesus(as) suffering for the sins of mankind, this doctrine of Atonement is repudiated by Islam, which declares: And no burdened soul can bear the burden of another; and if a heavily laden soul call another to bear its load, naught of it shall be carried by the other, even though he be a kinsman. (Ch.35: V.19) Islam gives us the assurance that we are just as capable and qualified to achieve the purpose of our creation as any other fellow human being. In this respect, Islam teaches complete equality of mankind. The Holy Qur’an for example says: O mankind, we have created you from male and female: and We have made you into clans and tribes that you may ISLAM IS THE ONLY RELIGION THAT HAS TAKEN STEPS TO SAFEGUARD THE MORAL, ECONOMIC AND SPIRITUAL RIGHTS OF WOMEN AND BRINGS THEM ON AN EQUAL FOOTING WITH MEN. THE QUR’AN REPEATEDLY DECLARES THAT MEN AND WOMEN ARE SPIRITUALLY EQUAL IN THE SIGHT OF GOD AND WILL BE JUDGED ACCORDING TO THEIR DEEDS. 25The Review of Religions – October 2004 Distinctive Features of Islam recognise one another. Verily, the most honourable among you, in the sight of Allah, is he who is the most righteous among you. Surely Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Ch.49: V.14) The message from this verse totally eliminates any sense of superiority among people, tribes, nations or races. We have acquired different features, colours and characteristics due to the distribution of the human race in different parts of the world – it is not due to a different or superior origin. No matter who or what we are, the method of our birth is a common one. Whether he is a King or a President or an ordinary man in the street or a man in South America or someone from the remote parts of China – all are born in the same way. Our requirements are the same, our natures are the same and our needs are the same. Our God is the same One God, Who is very just in His dealings. He created all men with equal spiritual opportunities and rights, as it would have been against His justice to make one people superior to another. The Holy Qur’an declares: Surely We have created man in the best of creative plans. (Ch.95: V.5) A man’s riches, colour, rank, position or intellect are all blessings of God, and He can take them away whenever He wants to do so. God can also bestow all these blessings and even more on a person who does not possess or deserve them. How, then, can a believer in God be arrogant about the possession of anything worldly? Rights of Women in Islam Islam is the only religion that has taken steps to safeguard the moral, economic and spiritual rights of women and brings them on an equal footing with men. The Qur’an repeatedly declares that men and women are spiritually equal in the sight of God and will be judged according to their deeds. The Qur’an states: 26 The Review of Religions – October 2004 Distinctive Features of Islam Whoso does evil will be requited only with the like of it: but whoso does good whether male or female, and is a believer – these will enter the Garden: they will be p rovided therein without measure. (Ch. 40: V.41) Islamic philosophy is based on the nature of human beings. It, therefore, takes into account the special anatomical and biological variations between man and woman and lays down certain rules that cover these variations. It does not blindly apply all rules to both sexes, but takes into account their special needs and requirements. This sometimes appears strange to an untrained eye, but upon reflection, provides a proof that the Provider of this teaching must also be the Creator of human beings Who knew the intricate and inner feelings and requirements of both sexes. Before the advent of Islam, the majority of women had no position in society. They were at the mercy of their husbands, fathers, brothers or others who treated them as mere property. Islam, for the first time, vindicated the rights of women and gave them a status in society. Islam has given women complete economic indepen- dence and the right to inherit money and property. Even after marriage they still have this economic independence. Today in the West, we hear a lot about the rights and status of women yet only one hundred years ago, in England, a woman automatically lost all her property and belongings to her husband the day she married him. In the Middle Ages it was the Western woman who was burdened with the respons-ibility of providing her future husband with a dowry and even in today’s Western (Christian) society the cost of a wedding and all it entails, such as the use of the church or licensed wedding establishment and provision of food for all guests is generally borne by the bride’s parents. 27The Review of Religions – October 2004 Distinctive Features of Islam Islam on the other hand, 1400 years ago, gave full protection to the rights of women – making them equals of men, both in the spiritual and religious spheres of life. For instance it now became the responsibility of the husband to offer a dowry to his wife according to his means. The dowry then became her sole property to do with as she saw fit. Islam makes it clear that a husband has no rights over his wife’s property and that it is the duty of the husband to provide for the running of the household even if his wife has an independent source of income. Another important right given to women by Islam 1400 years ago was their right to divorce their husbands. Divorce is not encouraged in Islam because of the devastating effect on all concerned, especially the children. Nevertheless the right of divorce was accorded to women so that they did not have to spend the rest of their lives living in discomfort or torment. It is narrated by Hadhrat Jabir that the Holy Prophet(sa) said: The best of you is one who is best in his treatment of his wife and I am the best of you in the treatment of my family. ( Tirmidhi – Kitabun Nikah, Book of Marriages) The Holy Prophet( s a ) a t t a c h e d great importance to a husband’s kind treatment of his wife, so much so that in the eyes of God he considered the best of Muslims to be the ones who treated their wives best. Abu Hurairah relates that a man came to the Holy Prophet(sa) and asked: ‘Messenger of Allah, which of all the people is best entitled to kind treatment and good companionship from me?’ He answered, ‘Yo u r mother’ The man asked ‘and after her?’ He said, ‘Yo u r mother’ And after her? He said, ‘Your mother’ And after her? ‘Your father’ (Bukhari – Kitabul Adab , Book of Manners) Again the Holy Prophet( s a ) i s 28 The Review of Religions – October 2004 Distinctive Features of Islam reported to have said: ‘Paradise lies at the feet of m o t h e r s .’ (Nisai, K i t a b u l Jihad, Book of Jihad) Surely these statements by the Prophet(sa) of God make it crystal clear that a woman has such a high status in Islam. Life after Death To believe in the unseen does not mean that we should believe in unreal, magical or imaginary things. The Holy Qur’an does not invite us to believe in things blindly. Just because the Qur’an may contain things which not everyone can at this moment in time comprehend does not mean to say that they cannot be proved right by reason or experience. For instance the Holy Qur’an says: Verily He will merge the two oceans, joining them together; between them is now a barrier; they encroach not one upon the other. (Ch.55: Vs.20-21) For thirteen centuries people wondered what on earth these two verses could possibly mean. Yet we in this day and age have been privileged to understand what they mean in a physical sense. The verses refer to the construction of the Suez and Panama canals. They could have still other meanings but as I said, in a physical sense, God in His wisdom knew that one day, the needs of man to trade in other parts of the world using huge ships would require the linking of oceans. The Big Bang theory was revealed by the Holy Qur’an, yet it has taken 1400 years for man to reach a similar conclusion (Ch.21: V.31). As mankind is now in the infancy of space travel, the Holy Qur’an tells us that if He wished, God could join us with others from other worlds indicating that there are other forms of life in His Universe (Ch.42: V.30). It is therefore inconceivable that God, Who is All-Wise, Creator of the Universe and Master of the 29The Review of Religions – October 2004 Distinctive Features of Islam Day of Judgement would fail to provide for the spiritual needs of mankind. If the prophecies in the Holy Qur’an have come true then why should man doubt about a spiritual life after physical death? The Qur’an teaches that on a man’s death his soul enters a new universe and assumes a new body. That body is different from his physical body that is adjusted to the requirements of life on earth. Sahl ibn Sa’ad relates: “I was present in the company of the Holy Prophet(sa) in which he described the condition of Paradise and said: ‘In it there is that which no eye has seen, no ear has heard nor has the mind of man conceived it.’” (Bukhari – Kitabul Tafseer – Book of Commentary Chapter Al-Sajda, verse 18) The whole concept of life after death is illustrated in the Holy Qur’an, where certain types of conduct in this life are described as defects and shortcomings that will affect the soul in the life after death. For instance, the Qur’an states that he who is blind in this life will be blind in the life after death and will find himself even more astray. This does not mean that a person who is physically blind in this life will be blind in the next. Blindness here means spiritual blindness. A person who has failed to develop a spiritual insight in this life will be blind in the life to come. On attaining life after death, the Qur’an describes their fate through the following verse: But they who will disbelieve and treat Our Signs as lies, these shall be the inmates of the fire; therein shall they abide. (Ch.2: V.40) All our actions, good or not so good, leave a permanent impression upon our souls and when we pass away our souls will carry the sum total of all these impressions into the life to come. Whatever we have done has been recorded on our souls and we take them with us and are 30 The Review of Religions – October 2004 Distinctive Features of Islam judged on them. The record of a man’s acts and their consequ- ences will be presented to him as if it were an open book. He will be told to read his book and he will have to follow the course that it lays down for him. He will have to render an account of the manner in which he spent his life on this earth and that account will constitute his rewards and his punishments. The Holy Qur’an states: And every man’s record of deeds have we fastened to his neck; and on the Day of Resurrection We shall bring out for him a book which he will find wide open. It will be said to him, ‘Read thy book. Sufficient is thy own soul this day as a reckoner against thee’. (Ch.17: Vs.14-15) The life we lead on this earth is extremely short compared to the next life. We are ruled by the dimension of time in this life and are therefore subject to decay and death. Time does not exist as we know it in the next life and therefore the next life will be an eternity – a living eternity for all souls. And as for those that strive towards righteousness, the Holy Qur’an gives the following promises: And those, who feared their Lord, will be conducted to Heaven in groups until when they reach it, and its gates are opened and its Keepers say to them, ‘Peace be upon you! Be ye happy, and enter it abiding therein.’ And they will say, ‘All praise belongs to Allah Who has fulfilled His promise to us, and has given us the land for an inheritance, making our abode in the Garden wherever we please.’ How excellent is the reward of the righteous workers! (Ch.39: Vs.74-75) According to the teachings of Islam, Hell is only temporary whilst Heaven is a permanent abode. Khilafat The Holy Qur’an holds out a promise to Muslims that if they 31The Review of Religions – October 2004 Distinctive Features of Islam carry out the programme of life which God has laid down for them, they will become leaders of the world both in spiritual and temporal matters and that their religion will become firmly established in the world. The Holy Qur’an states: Allah has promised to those among you who believe and do good works that He will surely make them Successors in the earth, as He made Successors from among those who were before them. (Ch.24: V.56) This verse embodies a promise that Muslims will be granted both spiritual and temporal leadership. The promise is made to the whole Muslim nation but the institution of Khilafat will take a palpable form in the person of certain individuals who will be the Prophet’s successors and the representatives of the whole nation. This verse further says that the fulfilment of this promise will depend on the Muslims’ observing prayer and giving the Zakat and on obeying the Messenger of God in all religious and temporal matters. When they have fulfilled these conditions, the boon of Khilafat will be bestowed upon them and they will be made leaders of nations. As the Holy Prophet(as) is now humanity’s sole guide for all time, his Khilafat must continue to exist in one form or another in the world till the end of time. (From the English Commentary of the Holy Qur’an by Hadhrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad Vol.4, p.1869) In one Hadith, the Holy Prophet(sa) said: ‘O ye Muslims, the present prophethood period amongst you will last as long as Allah Wills. On its conclusion there will be a period of Khilafat on the design, pattern and succession of Nabuwwat (in continuation of the Prophet’s mission). This Khilafat will be followed by a succession of kingship, which will be dictatorial regimes of tyranny and oppression, which will be 32 The Review of Religions – October 2004 Distinctive Features of Islam followed by non-democratic regimes. On its conclusion there will then begin real Khilafat on the model and pattern of prophethood’. (Musnad Ahmad Vol.5 p.404) In the 19th Century CE, the fulfilment of this prophecy came to fruition and the world witnessed the Holy Prophet’s greatest spiritual Khalifa in the person of Ahmad, the Promised Messiah(as) who established the Ahmadiyya Muslim Comm- u n i t y. The re-establishment of Khilafat on the pattern of prophethood in the latter days has been fulfilled by the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) who also claimed to be an Ummati Prophet, a deputy and a Khalifa of Prophet Muhammad(sa) in this age. The Promised Messiah(as) once again established faith in the hearts of people: that God exists, that God still communicates and that it is always possible to develop a personal and direct relationship with Him. He said that this is the blessings of the Holy Prophet( s a ) and that by following in his footsteps, union with God is possible, so that our hearts can see God and our souls can hear His voice and see His signs repeatedly. In fulfilment of the prophecy: ‘I will carry thy message to the ends of the eart h’ (Ta d h k i r a) revealed to the Promised Messiah(as) in his remote Indian village of the nineteenth century by Allah, the message of the Promised Messiah(as) has and is reaching the ends of the earth. Indeed, the proceedings of this gathering are being transmitted simultaneously by satellite all around the globe by Muslim Television Ahmadiyya (MTA). The Promised Messiah( a s ) s a i d that Khilafat would follow after him unbroken and would last forever until the Last Day (The Will, p.10). By the Grace and Mercy of Allah the Almighty, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community continues to be led and guided 33The Review of Religions – October 2004 Distinctive Features of Islam by the institution of Khilafat. Khilafat is a great and Divine blessing which brings about s o l i d a r i t y, cohesion and unity among the believers. This is so in the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which has at its head, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the fifth Khalifa (Successor) of The Promised Messiah(as) and whose members epitomise Unity in their daily lives, Unity and love of God and Unity and love for Mankind. Finally, I would like to end with an extract from the writings of the Promised Messiah(as): All the prophets have been teaching the same thing: that has been the main subject of their propagation. ‘La ilaha i l l a l l a h’ (There is none worthy of worship but the One and only God) teaches us to believe God to be One and at the same time it also teaches that one should be perfect in the love of this One God. La ilaha illallah is so beautiful a sentence, and so meaningful, that the like of it is not to be found in any of the Scriptures, be it Torah, or the Gospels or any other Book: no other Book contains so comprehensive a teaching. (Malfoozat Vol 3 p187) I hope I have conveyed some of the many distinctive features of Islam that turned me towards this great religion. I sincerely invite all people to investigate with an open mind and to their own satisfaction the guidance offered in the teachings of Islam, Therein is a vast treasure available to us if only we all knew it. (All Biblical references taken from the New International Version of The Holy Bible 1986, Hodder & Staunton) 34 The Review of Religions – October 2004 In one of its first verses the Holy Qur’an makes the proclamation: This is the Perfect Book; there is no doubt in it; it is a guidance for the righteous. (Ch.2: V.3) Such a bold claim should be supported by compelling proofs. In this essay we intend to (1) evaluate the claim; (2) examine the Holy Qur’an for evidence to support the claim and (3) show, as far as is humanly possible, that this is indeed a just proclamation. Throughout this essay we take for granted that man was created by God and that the Holy Qur’an is the revealed word of God. Perfect Guidance for Mankind There are three key words in the above sub-title, ‘perfect’, ‘guidance’ and ‘mankind’. Let us examine each one in turn. P e r f e c t: A perfect entity must possess the following attributes: 1. It should be free of flaws and contradictions. 2. It should be comprehensive and complete. 3. It should be balanced and harmonious. 4. It should be universal and eternal. Guidance for Mankind: A guide should lead its followers to their destination(s). In other words it must not only provide a passive roadmap for reaching one’s goal, it should also be an active prompter prodding one along and bringing one back to the correct path should one go astray. In other words a good guide would be actively THE HOLY QUR’AN – The Perfect Guidance for Mankind By Fauzia Bajwa – Montreal, Canada 35The Review of Religions – October 2004 The Perfect Guidance for Mankind involved in the journey and it must be a living entity not a static one. In qualifying ‘guidance’ with ‘mankind’ we are stating that the guidance provided in the Holy Qur’an is intended only for human beings and not for animals, insects etc. Objective of Man’s Creation Before determining whether or not the Holy Qur’an guides man to his objective we must first determine what that objective is. For this we turn to the Qur’an: And I have not created the Jinn and the men but that they may worship Me. (Ch.51: V.57) Given that God is our Creator it is His prerogative to define the purpose of our existence. Here He tells us that the sole purpose of our being is to worship Him. Worship of Allah encompasses much more than paying homage to Him, although this is important. It means total obedience and submission to Allah. It means imbibing in oneself the attributes of Allah. It is to know, to understand and to love Him. The objective is the wholehearted and persistent use of our God-given faculties, our time and our money to reach Him and to earn His pleasure. Guidance in the Qur’an Having established that the purpose of our life is to become godly we need to know how to achieve this purpose. For this we turn, once again, to the Holy Qur’an. It would be impossible in this short essay to expound on all the Qur’anic teachings that prompt man to become godly and admonish him to abstain from vice. We will, therefore, select just a few verses to illustrate the points being made. As stated earlier the purpose of man’s creation is to worship Allah and we are told in the very early verses of the Qur’an that this is not an easy task – Thee alone do we worship and Thee alone do we i m p l o re for help. (Ch.1: V. 5 ) When we delve further into the Q u r’an we find that Allah has provided the help we need to achieve our objective. To worship Allah it is necessary to have firm faith in Him, to fear Him and to 36 The Review of Religions – October 2004 The Perfect Guidance for Mankind love Him. These motivating factors are amply provided in the Qur’an. It tells us what faith is and how it may be acquired. Faith or Iman is a stage beyond belief; it encompasses belief, security and trust. It is derived from the word aman which means to feel safe and to put one’s trust in someone or something. The Holy Qur’an sets man on his journey to faith in the following verse: O ye who believe! Believe in Allah and His Messenger and in the Book which He has revealed to His Messenger and the Book which He revealed b e f o re it. And whoso disbelieves in Allah and His angels and His Books and His Messengers and the Last Day has surely strayed far away. (Ch.4: V.137) Here Allah lists the five articles of faith as faith in the One God, the angels, the Messengers, the Books and the Day of Judgement. Together they form the starting point of the journey towards faith. It is necessary to accept them before continuing the spiritual j o u r n e y. The Qur’an furnishes strong arguments in favour of each of these articles. For example, concerning the Unity of God we are told that we will find nothing but harmony in God’s creation, that we will find no contradiction between the word of God and the act of God. (Ch.67: Vs.2-5). This harmony points to the Oneness of the Creator. Angels are the spiritual agencies created by God to serve man. They transmit God’s messages to prophets and other pious and holy people or those who are near to God. They also administer the laws of nature. They are also responsible for keeping a record of man’s good and bad deeds. Man’s thoughts and actions have an ongoing effect on his soul; it is the angels who are responsible for maintaining this complex system of cause and effect. In short angels execute God’s will in the material universe and the spiritual universe. They form the link between the Books and the Messengers which are the next two articles of faith. It is through their agency that the Books are revealed to the Messengers. These