Prophets as Messengers of Allah
The prophet’s task is to convey the message of Allah and provide a living example for people to follow; they are not responsible for converting people or compelling them in any way. Ultimately, Allah will only hold them responsible for conveying the message.
“And obey Allah and obey the Messenger. But if you turn away, then Our Messenger is responsible only for the clear conveying of the Message.” (64:13)
“Say, ‘Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger.’ But if you turn away, then upon him is his burden, and upon you is your burden. And if you obey him, you will be rightly guided. And the messenger is not responsible but for the plain delivery of the Message.” (24:55)
“Admonish, therefore, for thou art but an admonisher; Thou hast no authority to compel them.” (88:22-23)
“Haply thou wilt grieve thyself to death because they believe not.” (26:4)
“Thou art only a Warner.” (35:24)
“..Be my witness, O Allah, that I have conveyed your message to your people.” (Farewell sermon of the Holy Prophet Muhammad)
All Messengers Are Equal
Islam declares that the authenticity of every prophet’s message is equal. Muslims are forbidden from engaging in debate over the superiority of one prophet over another.
“This Messenger of Ours believes in that which has been revealed to him from his Lord, and so do the believers: all of them believe in Allah, and in His angels, and in His Books, and in His Messengers, saying, ‘We make no distinction between any of His Messengers…” (2:286)
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) went beyond the matter of belief only and asked his followers on several occasions not to compare him with other prophets or to try to prove his superiority over other prophets.
“One should not say that I am better than Jonah (i.e. Yunus) bin Matta.” (Bukhari)
“Don’t give superiority to any prophet amongst Allah’s Prophets” (Bukhari)
“I am the nearest of all the people to the son of Mary, and all the prophets are paternal brothers…” (Bukhari)
The Oneness of Allah
Belief in the oneness of Allah is the fundamental principle of Islam, Allah’s status as the All-knowing, All-powerful Master is zealously guarded. The Islamic beliefs do not leave any possibility of any other supreme power or being. Allah is the one and only.
The prophets are held in a very high esteem in Islamic beliefs but their status is clearly defined as humans who receive revelations from Allah and are assigned as Allah’s Messengers.
The basic declaration of Islamic faith states:
“There is none worthy of worship except Allah, Muhammad is Messenger of Allah”
Muhammad as a mortal human being
With the passage of time many religions started granting their prophets or founders the status of god or at least the status of a non-human supreme being. Islam takes great care in ensuring that the status of all Prophets in general and Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in particular is well understood and there is no way for the followers to grant any prophet the status of god.
“Say, ‘I am only a man like yourselves; but I have received the revelation that your God is only One God…” (18:111)
“Say, ‘I have no power to do good or harm to myself, save as Allah please. And if I had knowledge of the unseen, I should have secured abundance of good; and evil would not have touched me. I am only a warner and a bearer of good tidings to a people who believe.’” (7:189)
“And I say not to you, ‘I possess the treasures of Allah,’ nor do I know the unseen, nor say I, ‘I am an angel.’ Nor say I concerning those whom your eyes despise, ‘Allah will not bestow any good upon them’ — Allah knows best whatever is in their minds — Surely, I should then be of the unjust.” (11:32)
“And Muhammad is only a Messenger. Verily, all Messengers have passed away before him. If then he die or be slain, will you turn back on your heels?…” (3:145)
“I am but a human being like yourselves. I forget things just like you do. So if I forget something, remind me.” (Bukhari)
“Do not exalt me like the Christians exalted the Son of Mary. I am but a servant, so call me Allah’s servant and Messenger.” (Bukhari)