Why Did Muhammad Become a Prophet According to Muslims?

Why Did Prophet Muhammad Become a Prophet?

Prophets of God conveyed the message of God to people. They taught God’s law to mankind. God chose them as messengers. He protected them with revelation and helped them so they could lead people to prosperity. You may ask why did God choose Prophet Muhammad as a prophet? Why did He prefer Prophet Muhammad to other messengers and prophets? To clarify the issue, we will study the following in this article:

Prophet Muhammad Is a Gift of God to the Believers.

God created man and made him reside on earth. Man did not know who he is, where he is from, why he is in the world, where he is going, and what would happen to him and when he dies. To teach, purify, and open a new horizon, God chose the most qualified servants out of people to guide mankind. They would pave the way for their prosperity. This is why God chose Muhammad and introduced him as a favor to believers.

لَقَدْ مَنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذْ بَعَثَ فِيهِمْ رَسُولًا مِّنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَإِن كَانُوا مِن قَبْلُ لَفِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ ‎

Indeed, God granted favor to the believers when He sent down a messenger from among themselves who recites His signs to them, and purifies, and teaches them the Book and wisdom, and indeed, before he came to them, they were in glaring error.1

Prophet Muhammad was a gift from God to people so that he would recite the signs of God, teach the Book and wisdom, and purify their evil qualities. People lived in the age of ignorance before Prophet Muhammad, and there was no sign of good qualities and kindness among people. God sent him as a messenger to spread God’s mercy over people and lead them from the ignorance of darkness to the light of guidance. Accordingly, the Quran reveals that Prophet Muhammad was a favor of God to the believers. He was the best possible person who could act as the messenger of God.

Prophet Muhammad Was the Most Qualified Person

God creates all humanity and knows them all. He has a deep understanding of their potentials, intentions, characters, features, and abilities. Therefore, when God chose His messenger, he knew who the most qualified person for this mission was. He knew who could act as a messenger better than others. Therefore, He chose Prophet Muhammad as a messenger. In other words, He knew that Prophet Muhammad was the best person who could be a prophet. The following verse mentions that God knows better where to place His prophethood and who deserves to be His messenger.

وَإِذَا جَاءَتْهُمْ آيَةٌ قَالُوا لَن نُّؤْمِنَ حَتَّىٰ نُؤْتَىٰ مِثْلَ مَا أُوتِيَ رُسُلُ اللَّهِ ۘ اللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ حَيْثُ يَجْعَلُ رِسَالَتَهُ ۗ سَيُصِيبُ الَّذِينَ أَجْرَمُوا صَغَارٌ عِندَ اللَّهِ وَعَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ بِمَا كَانُوا يَمْكُرُونَ ‎﴿١٢٤﴾‏

And when a sign comes to them, they say, “We will not believe [in it] unless we should be given what God’s messengers were given.” God knows better where to place His prophethood [and who deserves to be His messenger]. The guilty will be debased before God, and they will receive severe punishment because they used to hatch plots.2

This verse of the Quran is a response to the claim of Walid ibn Mughayrah. He was one of the leaders of polytheists in the early days of Islam. He said to Muhammad, “O Muhammad, if God truly chooses a messenger, I should be a messenger, not you,” so God revealed a verse saying that He knows best who is the most qualified person to act as a prophet of God. 

God Does Not Choose a Prophet for His wealth.

When God chooses a prophet, He does not consider his belongings or social status. In fact, He chooses a prophet based on his qualifications and ignores the words and desires of the arrogant and affluent people who desire to be leaders. 

The clear example of this case is Saul whom God chose as a leader even though the arrogant and wealthy people opposed God and His commands:

وَقَالَ لَهُمْ نَبِيُّهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ بَعَثَ لَكُمْ طَالُوتَ مَلِكًا ۚ قَالُوا أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ عَلَيْنَا وَنَحْنُ أَحَقُّ بِالْمُلْكِ مِنْهُ وَلَمْ يُؤْتَ سَعَةً مِّنَ الْمَالِ ۚ قَالَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفَاهُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَزَادَهُ بَسْطَةً فِي الْعِلْمِ وَالْجِسْمِ ۖ وَاللَّهُ يُؤْتِي مُلْكَهُ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ

Their prophet told them, “Indeed God has raised Saul as your king.” They said, “How can he rule over us while we have the greater right for ruling than him, and he has not been given enormous wealth,” He said, “Indeed, God has chosen him to rule over you and increased his knowledge and physical ability amply. And indeed, God gives His Sovereignty to whomever He wills. And He is All-Expander [of provisions], All-Knowing.”‎3

Prophet Muhammad Is Mercy for Humankind.

Prophet Muhammad (s) was the last and best prophet out of the 124,000 prophets of God. He was not a messenger for a particular age, a few people, or a specific nation. He is the mercy of God for all humanity and all ages:

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ ‎

And indeed, We have sent you [as] a mercy for humankind.4

Because of Prophet Muhammad’s unique character, God chose and sent him as a universal mercy for humanity and creatures. He had a great character. Some of his great qualities are as follows:

1. He was very sympathetic, kind, and merciful to people. Therefore, he suffered when he saw their problems. Moreover, he was extremely compassionate to the believing people:

لَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَنِتُّمْ حَرِيصٌ عَلَيْكُم بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Indeed, a messenger has come to you from among yourselves. Your difficulties are grievous to him, he is full of concern for you, and he is very kind and companionate with the believers.5

2. He longed for the prosperity of people and desired to guide people to the best path and save them. Therefore, when some people disbelieved and ruined their fate, he grew despondent:

لَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفْسَكَ أَلَّا يَكُونُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ

You may imperil yourself [out of grief] that they do not have belief.6

3. Prophet Muhammad had all the good qualities. This made him assume the duty of being God’s messenger and made him the best nominee for this great mission. God praises Prophet Muhammad in the Quran and says that he had a great character.

وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ

Indeed, you have exalted [ethical] qualities.7

Conclusion

Based on the teachings of the Quran, Muslims believe that Prophet Muhammad was the most qualified person who could function as the Messenger of God. He had great ethical qualities and had a deep love for people. This is why God chose him as a prophet.

When God chooses someone as His Prophet, He never considers that person’s wealth. In addition, God never chooses His messenger based on relationship and friendship. Rather, He knows His servants best and chooses the most qualified ones as His prophets. Therefore, He chose Muhammad as one of His prophets.


References

  1. Quran 3:164 (Foroutan).
  2. Quran 6:124 (Foroutan).
  3. Quran 2:247 (Foroutan).
  4. Quran 21:107 (Foroutan).
  5. Quran 9:128 (Foroutan).
  6. Quran 26:3 (Foroutan).
  7. Quran 68:4 (Foroutan).
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Dr. Behrouz Foroutan
Dr. Behrouz Foroutan
Dr. Behrouz Foroutan is a scholar, author, and international lecturer in Islamic studies. He has been involved in scripture translation and its commentary for approximately two decades now but he put most of his focus on translating the Qur’an and its commentary in English in a way that makes it easier for the reader to understand, without losing its credibility. The product of that was books on spirituality, beliefs, and a new English translation of the Qur’an and its commentary in 12 volumes.

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