What’s the Purpose of Revelation and Prophethood?

The following are the notes and audio to a khutbah I delivered at the University of Pennsylvania on March 9th, 2012.

[audio:http://www.marcmanley.com/media/mp3s/khutbahs/2012-3-9-purpose-of-revelation.mp3|titles=Khutbah – What’s the Purpose of Revelation and Prophethood?|artists=Marc Manley]

What’s the purpose of Revelation? Of prophecy? Of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in our lives?

If the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is Imam of the Messengers, then are we treating him as our Imam as well? Imam – the one who is in front and leading us.

Submission – it’s what we do for our own selves. Not whether or not others take us seriously.

وإذا رءاك الذين كفروا إن يتخذونك إلا هزؤا اَهذا الذى يذكر ءالهتكم وهم بذكر الرحمن هم كفرون

“When those who are kafir see you, they only make a mockery out of you: ‘Is this the one who makes mention of your gods?’ Yet they are kuffar about the mention of the All-Merciful.” [al-Anbiyā’ 21: 36]

Submission is an ongoing process.  In order to facilitate this, God has provided for us His Signs. We need only slow down to notice them:

خلق الإنسان من عجل – سأوريكم و ءايتى فلا تستعجلون

“Mankind was created hasty.  I shall show you My Signs so do hasten.” [al-Anbiyā’ 21: 37]

Don’t be hasty. Though we were created hasty, don’t be hasty. There’s a difference between how we are created and how Allah wants us to be.

If you allow it, the Qur’an will move you. It will lift your spirits, it will over-awe you, it will terrify you, it will move you to tears.

By coming to see this aspect of our relationship with Allah—The Big Picture—we foster a greater sense of realization [يقين-معرفة] of our purpose in life:

and …

الذين يذكرون الله قياما وقعودا وعلى جنوبهم ويتفكرون في خلق السموت والأرض ربنا ما خلقت هذا باطلا سبحانك فَقِنا عذاب النار

“Those who remember God standing, sitting and laying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth [utter], ‘O our Lord, You have not created all this in jest, how perfect You are, so protect us from the torment of the Fire.” [Āl-‘Imrān 3: 191]

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ :

“يَقُولُ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى: أَنَا عِنْدَ ظَنِّ عَبْدِي بِي، وَأَنَا مَعَهُ إِذَا ذَكَرَنِي، فَإِنْ ذَكَرَنِي فِي نَفْسِهِ، ذَكَرْتُهُ فِي نَفْسِي، وَإِنْ ذَكَرَنِي فِي مَلَإٍ، ذَكَرْتُهُ فِي مَلَإٍ خَيْرٌ مِنْهُمْ، وَإِنْ تَقَرَّبَ إِلَيَّ بِشِبْرٍ، تَقَرَّبْتُ إِلَيْهِ ذِرَاعًا، وَإِنْ تَقَرَّبَ إِلَيَّ ذِرَاعًا، تَقَرَّبْتُ إِلَيْهِ بَاعًا(1) وَإِنْ أَتَانِي يَمْشِي، أَتَيْتُهُ هَرْوَلَةً

We all know the hadith: The world [al-Dunya] is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the ingrate [kafir]/روى أبو هريرة أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال الدنيا سجن المؤمن وجنة الكافر. Most folks stop at this and say, “there’s nothing we can do or enjoy from this life.” But the nature of all prisons is that the prisoners want to break out; the nature of Paradise is that no one wants to leave. So, we strive to break out of this prison, not to sit glumly by while not being tricked into thinking we’re staying here in this fake paradise forever.

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