The Sharing Group Discussion on Non-Arab Prophets

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Brother Irshad Alam posted, on The Sharing Group, on the 05th March 2015: “Why is it that the Message was given only to the Jews and the Arabs?  What about the Chinese?  The Indians?  The Russians?  Why are only the Jews and Arabs Chosen to receive the Message?”

Brother Irshad Alam: The Qur’an States God has Sent Messengers to every people.  In his Maktubat, Imam Ahmad as-Sirhindi (q.s.) confirmed that God has Sent many prophets to India for the Hindus.

Sister Sakinah Rasheed: In the Qur’an, Allah (s.w.t.) Confirms that He has Sent Messengers to all nations.  Only some, not all, are Mentioned in the Qur’an.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Abraham (a.s.) was Chaldean.  Jethro (a.s.) was Midian.  Jonah (a.s.) was Assyrian.  Aside from that, they were all from the same Greater Near East geographic region.  It does not mean that there were no prophets Sent elsewhere.  It just means we do not know their names, or that they have not been positively identified as such.  The reason why these were named is because they were the names most familiar to the people of the two Houses of God: Jerusalem and Makkah.

The Upanishads, which were written before the sixth century before common era, had a prophet named Mani who saved his people from the great flood in an ark.  Could Noah (a.s.) have been Aryan?  Various Islamic scholars have proposed, based on the earliest portions of their scripture, that Gautama Siddartha Buddha, Zoroaster, Confucius and Lao Tze were prophets, or amalgams of prophets.  Buddha emphasised the “laa ilaha” aspect of the shahadah, the negation of self and the removal of desires.  That is the Nine Precepts.  And the Tenth Precept states that when one has done all that, “Behold the Supreme One”, “illa Allah”.  Lao Tze, whom some believe to be an amalgamation of several people and their teachings, wrote about the illusion of dunya: “That which is, is not”.  He said that there is a God in Heaven, Tien; and that the virtuous go to Heaven, and the sinners are punished in Hell.  Confucius emphasised morality and adab.  Much of what he thought eventually merged with Chinese folk religion.  Krishna was believed to be the embodiment of virtue.  He is from an earlier version of one of the proto-religions that became Hinduism as we know it.  Krishna united the forces of good, the believers, against an army of demons led by their analogue of the Antichrist.

Sayyidina ‘Umar ibn al-Khaththab (r.a.) treated the Zoroastrians as Ahl al-Kitab in all aspects save marriage since that is not mentioned in the Qur’an.  They believed that God is the Creator of Light, Ahura Mazda, and that that Light became Creation.  They believed that on the Day of Judgement, we will be Summoned forth on a plain, and have to cross a bridge called the Sirat across a huge pit.  Those who make it across will arrive at Paradisae.  And those who fall because of their evil will enter Jahanamae.

There is Guidance wherever you find it.  You only need to know where to look.  Did God not Promise that wherever you look you will see His Face?

Brother Imran Price: Dr. Imtiyaz Yusof, who has studied the interaction of Islam and Buddhism for many years, said the following about Buddha being regarded as a prophet: “More recently, the late Dr. Hamidullah observes that in line with the Qur’anic view of prophethood, the Buddha can be regarded as one among previous prophets.  According to Hamidullah, the symbolic mention of the fig tree in chapter 95, verse 1 of the Qur’an alludes to the prophethood of the Buddha.  He concludes that since Buddha is said to have received Nirvana, Enlightenment, under a wild fig tree and that the fig tree does not figure prominently in the lives any of the prophets Mentioned in the Qur’an, hence, the Qur’anic verse Refers to Gautama Buddha.”

سُوۡرَةُ التِّین
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
وَٱلتِّينِ وَٱلزَّيۡتُونِ (١) وَطُورِ سِينِينَ (٢) وَهَـٰذَا ٱلۡبَلَدِ ٱلۡأَمِينِ (٣) لَقَدۡ خَلَقۡنَا ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنَ فِىٓ أَحۡسَنِ تَقۡوِيمٍ۬ (٤) ثُمَّ رَدَدۡنَـٰهُ أَسۡفَلَ سَـٰفِلِينَ (٥) إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ فَلَهُمۡ أَجۡرٌ غَيۡرُ مَمۡنُونٍ۬ (٦) فَمَا يُكَذِّبُكَ بَعۡدُ بِٱلدِّينِ (٧) أَلَيۡسَ ٱللَّهُ بِأَحۡكَمِ ٱلۡحَـٰكِمِينَ (٨)

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
By the Fig and the Olive, and the Mount of Sinai, and this City of security ― We have, indeed, Created man in the best of moulds, then do We abase him (to be) the lowest of the low ― except such as believe and do righteous deeds: for they shall have a Reward Unfailing.  Then what can, after this, contradict thee; as to the Judgement (to come)?  Is not Allah the Wisest of Judges? (Surah at-Tin:1-8)

سُوۡرَةُ المؤمن / غَافر
وَلَقَدۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا رُسُلاً۬ مِّن قَبۡلِكَ مِنۡهُم مَّن قَصَصۡنَا عَلَيۡكَ وَمِنۡهُم مَّن لَّمۡ نَقۡصُصۡ عَلَيۡكَۗ وَمَا كَانَ لِرَسُولٍ أَن يَأۡتِىَ بِـَٔايَةٍ إِلَّا بِإِذۡنِ ٱللَّهِۚ فَإِذَا جَآءَ أَمۡرُ ٱللَّهِ قُضِىَ بِٱلۡحَقِّ وَخَسِرَ هُنَالِكَ ٱلۡمُبۡطِلُونَ (٧٨)

We did, aforetime, Send Messengers before thee: of them there are some whose story We have Related to thee, and some whose story We have not related to thee.  It was not (possible) for any Messenger to bring a Sign except by the Leave of Allah: but when the Command of Allah Issued, the matter was Decided in truth and justice, and there perished there and then, those who stood on falsehoods. (Surah Ghafir:78)

سُوۡرَةُ النِّسَاء
وَرُسُلاً۬ قَدۡ قَصَصۡنَـٰهُمۡ عَلَيۡكَ مِن قَبۡلُ وَرُسُلاً۬ لَّمۡ نَقۡصُصۡهُمۡ عَلَيۡكَ‌ۚ وَكَلَّمَ ٱللَّهُ مُوسَىٰ تَڪۡلِيمً۬ا (١٦٤)

Of some Messengers, We have already Told thee the story; of others We have not; ― and to Moses Allah Spoke Direct. ― (Surah an-Nisa’:164)

سُوۡرَةُ إبراهیم
وَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَا مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا بِلِسَانِ قَوۡمِهِۦ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَهُمۡ‌ۖ فَيُضِلُّ ٱللَّهُ مَن يَشَآءُ وَيَهۡدِى مَن يَشَآءُ‌ۚ وَهُوَ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلۡحَكِيمُ (٤)

We Sent not a Messenger except (to teach) in the language of his (own) people, in order to make (things) clear to them.  Now Allah Leaves stray those whom He Pleases and Guides whom He Pleases: and He is Exalted in Power, Full of Wisdom. (Surah Ibrahim:4)

Hence, Islam’s position toward other religions is that of religious pluralism, recognising the existence of different religions including Buddhism.  The Qur’an States that:

سُوۡرَةُ المَائدة
وَأَنزَلۡنَآ إِلَيۡكَ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ بِٱلۡحَقِّ مُصَدِّقً۬ا لِّمَا بَيۡنَ يَدَيۡهِ مِنَ ٱلۡڪِتَـٰبِ وَمُهَيۡمِنًا عَلَيۡهِ‌ۖ فَٱحۡڪُم بَيۡنَهُم بِمَآ أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ‌ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعۡ أَهۡوَآءَهُمۡ عَمَّا جَآءَكَ مِنَ ٱلۡحَقِّ‌ۚ لِكُلٍّ۬ جَعَلۡنَا مِنكُمۡ شِرۡعَةً۬ وَمِنۡهَاجً۬ا‌ۚ وَلَوۡ شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ لَجَعَلَڪُمۡ أُمَّةً۬ وَٲحِدَةً۬ وَلَـٰكِن لِّيَبۡلُوَكُمۡ فِى مَآ ءَاتَٮٰكُمۡ‌ۖ فَٱسۡتَبِقُواْ ٱلۡخَيۡرَٲتِ‌ۚ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ مَرۡجِعُڪُمۡ جَمِيعً۬ا فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمۡ فِيهِ تَخۡتَلِفُونَ (٤٨)

To thee, We Sent the Scripture in truth, Confirming the scripture that came before it, and Guarding it in safety; so, judge between them by what Allah hath Revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee.  To each, among you, have We Prescribed a Law and an Open Way.  If Allah had so Willed, He would have Made you a single people, but (His Plan is) to Test you in what He hath Given you: so, strive as in a race in all virtues.  The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will Show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute. (Surah al-Ma’idah:48)

سُوۡرَةُ الحُجرَات
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلنَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقۡنَـٰكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ۬ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلۡنَـٰكُمۡ شُعُوبً۬ا وَقَبَآٮِٕلَ لِتَعَارَفُوٓاْ‌ۚ إِنَّ أَڪۡرَمَكُمۡ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ أَتۡقَٮٰكُمۡ‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ۬ (١٣)

O mankind!  We Created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and Made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other).  Verily the most Honoured of you, in the Sight of Allah, is (he who is) the most righteous of you.  And Allah has Full Knowledge and is Well Acquainted (with all things). (Surah al-Hujraat:13)

This is from the “International Journal of Buddhist Thought & Culture”, February 2005, Vol.5.

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: Some people say that “Dzu al-Kifl” Mentioned in the Qur’an is Gautama Buddha.  And Luqman (r.a.) is sometimes identified with Aesop, the Ethiopian.

Brother David Rosser Owen: There is a tendency to view the human race of the general area in question as having been settled there in the same ethnic groups as today, but the further back in time one goes one meets the migrations of people, “Völkerwanderung”, as the historical anthropologists term it, through various causes - one was the drying up of the Great Siberian Sea, causing migrations of peoples living on the littoral to go south, east, and west.  It is possible, therefore, that the identified prophets and the conjectured ones were indeed the same people.

Brother Dan Oo: A famous hadith states that there were 124,000 prophets Sent to nations all over the Earth.  Most were killed or ignored by their people at that time.  Others had their message corrupted by later generations and some had statues made of them and the people turned them into their gods, in ignorance.

Sister Sairii Mehnaz Kamal: Amazing the idea of Buddha and Shiva being God’s Messengers as well.  But only God Knows what is correct.

Brother Abdullah Shalchi: I have also heard speculation that perhaps Socrates was a prophet.  I would not be surprised.


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