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page 40



Through careful study of the Qur'an, one finds a consonance of principle with the Holy Scriptures revealed before it, but in more explicit and often repeated texts. Some basic principles are readily identifiable and are included here.

The Unity of God, and the Unity of His Apostles and Prophets1 That God is one, that there is a fundamental unity of His Apostles and Prophets, and further, that His Scriptures and religions are one, is stated in the following verse:
Say ye: "We believe in God, and that which hath been sent down to us, and that which hath been sent down to Abraham and Ismael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes: and that which hath been given to Moses and to Jesus, and that which was given to the prophets from their Lord. No difference do we make between any of them: and to God are we resigned (Muslims). "
(Surih II, "The Cow", v. 130) [2:130]

Thus, the Muslims believe in God and the Qur'an, in that which was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and others, as well to Moses, Jesus and the prophets. It is clearly stated that Muslims are not to make distinctions between the Recipients of these Revelations.2

  1. For further study, see Muhammad and the Course of Islam, Chapter 18, "What Muhammad Taught".
  2. cf Qur'an 2:285. For further study, see also Kitab-i-Iqan pp. 152-4, and The Revelation of Baha'u'llah, vol. 1, pp. 175-8 which provides a section on the nature of God and His Manifestations as a major theme of this Book.

page 41

The Divine Origin of all the Laws of God

The laws sent from God to humanity, though outwardly different in having been revealed through different Apostles to different nations at different times, were and continue to be one in origin and purpose, as is expressed in the following verse:
To you hath He prescribed the faith which He commanded unto Noah, and which we have revealed to thee, and which we commanded unto Abraham and Moses and Jesus, saying, "Observe this faith, and be not divided into sects therein. "
(Surih XLII, "Counsel", v. 11) [42:11]

God prescribed the laws, or jurisprudence, of Islam, in keeping with the exigencies of the time, as He had revealed laws to Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus in the past.3

  1. Mirza Abu'l-Fadl provides the following explanation, citing Qur'an 42:11, as follows: "...Just as the divine Essence does not become multiple, though it may have numerous Manifestations, even so religion itself is the same even though it be manifest through different laws and bestowals. This abstruse point, which has proved to be a stumbling block for the feet of nations, can be deduced from the Qur'an itself ... If we considered the obvious differences in the laws of the existing religions, including the duties, obligations, and moral behavior they prescribe, to have caused divisions in the reality of religion, we would have to conclude that the prophets violated God's commandment, ignoring His prohibition, dividing up and differing over His religion. Since this is unthinkable, any alert person will at this point perceive that in talking of the revelation of these religions, God meant the single reality that remains unaffected in its essential oneness by accidental variations such as differences in the laws governing lasting, prayer, marriage, divorce, and social behavior. The sense of the verse cited above requires that the Islamic revelation be identical to the Christian, and to the Jewish revelation, and to the revelation bestowed on Noah. In the same way, the good and righteous revealers of these religions were all Manifestations of a single reality that is called the Spirit of God and His Cause. 'We make no division between any of His Messengers."' See Letters and Essays: 1886-1913, pp. 124-5.

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The Function of the Apostles of God is One and the Same

God attributed to the Prophet Muhammad three functions: witness, herald of glad tidings and warner.
O Prophet! we have sent thee to be a witness, and a herald of glad-tidings, and a warner;
(Surih XXXIII, "The Confederates", v. 44) [33:44]

For the Apostles in general, God says the following:
We send not our Sent Ones but as heralds of good news and warners
(Surih VI, "Cattle" v. 48) [6:48]

It will be later shown that Moses and Jesus were also witnesses. When are the Apostles Sent? Given the principle of unity taught in the Qur'an, why then should there have been different religions and different Apostles? And also, when would God send a new Apostle?
Men were of one religion only: then they fell to variance: and had not a decree (of respite) previously gone forth from thy Lord, their differences had surely been decided between them!
(Surih X, "Jonah, Peace be on Him!", v. 20) [10:20]

The verse explains that when a unified community loses its cohesiveness and develops differences, God sends a Revelation to reestablish its unity.

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Mankind was but one people; and God sent prophets to announce glad tidings and to warn; and he sent down with them the Book of Truth, that it might decide the disputes of men; and none disputed but those to whom the Book had been given, after the clear tokens had reached them, being full of mutual jealousy And God guided those who believed to the truth of that about which, by his permission, they had disputed; for God guideth whom he pleaseth into the straight path.
(Surih II, "The Cow", v. 209) [2:209]

The verse restates this theme and reaffirms that God sends His Manifestations to both educate and judge the people. Those who believe in the newly- revealed Book are guided in a manner that eliminates their differences, while others turn on their heels and create disharmony. Thus at the appearance of every new Revelation, the sincere are guided to unity, while those who cling to a previous Revelation and have hearts filled with jealousy and hatred, reject the truth and cavil.4 It might also be noted that in the verse cited above, the Prophets are mentioned in plural, while is singular, a further confirmation of the unity of God's Revelation, however numerous the Pure Mirrors reflecting It to humanity.

  1. cf. Qur'an 10:47 and 16:86.

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