In the previous article we talked about the word Islam, its meaning and origin, and talked about the Glorious Qur’an, the last message to the last Prophet. In this article, I am going to complete this article by giving an example that will be helpful in understanding the true nature of Islam, divine scriptures, Prophets, Messengers and their followers.
Islam is like an educational center that has teachers and professors of different nationalities. The founder of this center makes amendments in its prospectus frequently, in line with the developments that occur on the minds of students as a result of changes in societies. The Glorious Qur’an is actually the last book of this syllabus; the students are the peoples and tribes of the world who were addressed by the divine revelation.
The center is permanent that never changes, but the professors, teachers, students and books are altered from time to time. Our Prophet Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, (peace be upon him) is the last Prophet and final Messenger of Allah, the Almighty. There is no Prophet or Messenger after our Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has explained this reality with an example, as he said: “I and the Prophets before me are like someone who constructed a beautiful building but in a corner there was a gap for a brick. People would roam around this building and express their wonder on it and would ask: “Why was this brick not placed at its place?” He said: “I am that brick and I am the seal of the Prophets.” [Reported by Al-Bukhari]
Some Hindu brothers make mistake when they ask “Were the previous scriptures incomplete? Or was the knowledge of Allah imperfect so He (Glory be to Him) has revealed the Glorious Qur’an to correct the previous sacred books?”
In fact, the changes made in the syllabus of a school from time to time according to the developments of the community do not mean the lack of knowledge or experience in the author of the curriculum. Rather, it clarifies his wisdom, awareness and wideness of his knowledge. Furthermore, it refers to his mercy on his pupils, because he chooses for them the most appropriate and comprehensive curriculum. Likewise, Allah Almighty develops the curriculum of His slaves according to the circumstances and situations. But when the human-being reached to its highest level of perfection, Allah (Glory be to Him) gave them the last and final curriculum, which is represented in the Glorious Qur’an and Prophetic hadiths.
In addition to that, there are always sincere reformers and highly knowledgeable and righteous persons who understand the religion in its deep, and extract the rulings of new issues and latest subjects from the texts of the Glorious Qur’an and blessed Sunnah in the light of Islamic jurisprudential principles. They are neither Prophets nor Messengers but they are merely the successors of the Messengers and their heirs in the religious knowledge and divine guidance.
It is noteworthy that Islam has two types of principles. The first type includes the principles related to the faith and doctrine that includes the faith in monotheism, Allah, His attributes, angels, Messengers and Prophets, the death and Hereafter, paradise and hell, fate and destiny, moral values, etiquette and ethics. These principles remained almost the same in all divine messages from A’dam (peace be upon him) to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Allah Almighty says:
Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam. Those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) did not differ except, out of mutual jealousy, after knowledge had come to them. And whoever disbelieves in the proofs of Allah, then surely, Allah is Swift in calling to account. (Aal-`Imran3:19)
Moreover, Allah (Glory be to Him) says:
The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah – the which We have sent by inspiration to thee – and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: Namely, that ye should remain steadfast in religion, and make no divisions therein: to those who worship other things than Allah, hard is the (way) to which thou callest them. Allah chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn (to Him). (Ash-Shura 42:13)1
The second type includes the principles of Islam that are represented in the rulings on different social matters, such as purification of body, prayers, marriage, divorce, foods, drinks etc, that are called Shari`ah.
The difference between the messages of Prophets was only in jurisprudential and practical matters not in doctrine or faith. This type of differences is not considered a difference in true sense, but it is a sort of diversity in rulings according to the social diversities. Anyhow, it has become clear that the matters of faith were the same in the messages of all Prophets and Messengers all over the world. The difference was limited to the field of jurisprudence that denotes the wisdom, mercy and kindness of Allah Who introduced His legislation according to the need of His slaves and their social ability.
 Sa`eed Hawa, Al–Islam, 4th ed. Cairo: Dar Assalam,2001, pp. 7-9.