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In the Name of God بسم الله

What is a Prophet?

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I’m looking at a book at the moment written by a Jewish theologian.

The Prophets by Abraham Joshua Heschel.  He says some interesting things about the role of a prophet.

  • The significance of Israel's prophets lies not only in what they said but also in what they were.
  • The prophet is a person, not a microphone …. He has a mission but also a temperament, concern, character, and individuality.
  • The word of God reverberated in the voice of man.
  • The prophet is not a mouthpiece, but a person; not an instrument, but a partner, an associate of God.
  • In speaking, the prophet reveals God. This is the marvel of a prophet’s work: in his words, the invisible God becomes audible.

He seems to be saying that God, the Holy One, the Majestic Other, put His voice within fallen human flesh.

How do these comments relate to the idea of Prophets in Islam and particularly in regards to the production of the Qur'an?

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I'm not speaking for Islam officially because this topic is deeper than the ocean, but my impression is that Prophets are the means through which God sends guidance to mankind so that we may learn ethics, knowledge, religion, priorities. We take the "obvious" things for granted, since not too long ago a Prophet had to come down and attempt to persuade us that it's wrong to bury infants or give women rights or not be racist. Or it was them who recommended we learn how to read and pursue knowledge.

I think because right and wrong has become more "obvious" (history shows it's not at all obvious), we've taken our guidance for granted. So when we look at prophets we forget that most of their job was to help us graduate from being savages. They brought us ethics, reading, clothing, agriculture, religion, knowledge. And when the Messiahs Imam Mahdi (عليه السلام) and Prophet Jesus (عليه السلام) come, they're going to finish the job by establishing a perfect utopian world of advanced technology, ethics, and prosperity. 

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17 hours ago, Dave follower of The Way said:

The prophet is not a mouthpiece, but a person; not an instrument, but a partner, an associate of God.

Hi Dave!!

I find the above quoted point contradicting to what I have studied from Quran. 

Prophet is not considered as partner of God neither an associate of God. Rather we believe that a prophet is nothing but a chosen servant of God.

إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا عَبْدٌ أَنْعَمْنَا عَلَيْهِ وَجَعَلْنَاهُ مَثَلًا لِبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ {59}

[Shakir 43:59] He was naught but a servant on whom We bestowed favor, and We made him an example for the children of Israel.

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21 hours ago, Dave follower of The Way said:

He seems to be saying that God, the Holy One, the Majestic Other, put His voice within fallen human flesh.

A Muslim would interpret it as the prophet reveals divine revelations and they do not speak from at their own. God does not calls human being fallen rather says that "We have bestowed dignity upon the children of Adam". 

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@Abu Nur Thanks - I'll read the artical - looks helpful.

On 1/27/2022 at 2:14 PM, Borntowitnesstruth said:

God does not calls human being fallen rather says that "We have bestowed dignity upon the children of Adam". 

After Adam disobeyed God his state was changed.  He no longer had the closeness to God he previously had.  Humans were made with dignity but to our shame we have lost it.  When God puts his words in a person he is honouring that person and restoring dignity to humanity.

On 1/27/2022 at 9:49 AM, Cool said:

Prophet is not considered as partner of God neither an associate of God. Rather we believe that a prophet is nothing but a chosen servant of God.

As I read the book the idea of God partnering with a person was very strong.  God uses the prophets experiences, personality and feelings to shape the message.  Sometimes, as we read the prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures, it is hard to distinguish the words of God and the feelings of the prophet.  God is expressing himself through human emotions.  The prophet Jerimiah says:

Oh, that my head were a spring of water
    and my eyes a fountain of tears!
I would weep day and night
    for the slain of my people.

In this passage it is not clear who the "my" is.  Who is talking? Is God saying MY people or is the prophet saying MY people?  God is associating himself with human emotions over the pain of people.  It is as if God is suffering and mourning with his people.

When we suffer, when we are sad, it is comforting to know God is sharing our pain and sadness.

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