All of the Prophets

    All of the Prophets

    Peace be with you,

    As a young man, looking at all the sensuous attractions of life around me, in the centre of London’s West End, I began reaching out for them, searching for love, money and fame. Seeing a ‘golden’ opportunity with the arrival of the Beatles, I became a songwriter and a singer. Soon I had a taste of success and a few catchy hit records. But then almost immediately got dragged down into the underworld, weighed down by the unrelenting competitive demands of show business. Luckily, I escaped with my life after an unexpected battle with TB. I was hospitalized for three months. My real first confrontation with sickness and my own mortality, Then I began the most important journey of my life: the search for knowledge and meaning.

    The fear of not finding the answers, encircled by my limited mortality, was what drove me fast-forward. I needed to know what lay beyond the end of the yellow brick road. This drive gave me the courage to search beyond my own familiar, friendly landscape and cultural comfort zone. 

    Most of our behaviour and sense of reality is inherited from our upbringing, the prevailing assumptions which dominate the culture and society in which we are born and where we live.  That can obviously change with time, if we travelled back a few centuries, we might see the same sun and the same moon – the sky might probably be a bit bluer, but much the same. Yet if we stopped and talked to people in the streets, there would be a massive disconnection between us; our words and references might be different, our presumptions of normality would be challenged. Yet, strangely, the main reason for our very existence, wouldn’t. Because we were all human.

    After my experience with TB, my search for the unifying purpose of existence took me down many roads. In 1975, I had another close call with death, off the coast of California, out there in the Pacific Ocean. Following that, I was gifted with a Book. It was no ordinary book. That was to be my first direct encounter with the Last Revelation, the Qur’an, which literally means, ‘The Reading’. And that’s what I did. I read and read and read, until it finally became clear, that my questions were slowly all being answered.

    When it comes to revelation of course, the Qur’an is fairly recent, by no means is it the only communication from the Divine. As a child I’d gone to a strict Roman Catholic school and leant a lot about good, bad – and their immediate consequences at the hands of that fiercely God-fearing fraternity of nuns. So I had been made familiar with the Bible. 

    It was probably very important for me to learn the spiritual language of revelation to prepare me for what was to come later. But we can easily recognise the similarity of mystical communication and knowledge which is shared by all the Books of Monotheistic Faith. Let’s read an example of the speech of God from the Torah in the Bible, from the Books of Moses, Exodus 3, which goes like this:

    2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.

    3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight–why the bush does not burn up.”

    4 When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.”

    5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

    6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” 

    One of the most important teachings given to all the chosen prophets and messengers of God, was the principle knowledge of Oneness, that God Himself is One, the Source of all things and has no equal, and that our primary duty is to believe in Him. The first commandment given to Moses couldn’t be clearer. And so the revelation given to the last Prophet was equally as unambiguous. Reading again from the Qur’an we come to this verse:

    “It is revealed to me that your God is only One God. So will you submit to Him?” (The Qur’an, 21:107)

    When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment he is also reported to have said, 

    You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. (Matthew 22:37-38)

    Now, elsewhere in the Qur’an we read how unimaginably chaotic it would be if there was more than one god or force governing the universe.

    If there were therein Gods beside Allah, then verily both (the heavens and the earth) would be in disorder. Glorified be God, the Lord of the Throne, from all that they ascribe. (22) He will not be questioned as to that which He does, but they will be questioned. (23) …. (The Qur’an, 21:22-23)

    And We sent no messenger before thee but We inspired him, (saying): There is no God save Me (the One God), so worship Me. (The Qur’an, 21:25)

    If we go back to the explanation of the first appearance of Modern Man – avoiding any arguments and excluding whatever may have come before in terms of our physical similarity with other ‘uprights’, we come to the commonly known history of our true ancestors, from whom we inherited all the amazing faculties we possess as humans today, the tale of Adam and Eve, where our learning process began. 

    In the Qur’an it says that when the Angels began questioning why God had created man and placed him as trustee over the earth. God ordered the angels to bow before this new two-legged creature. Now some say that the hidden mystery of Man and his noble status, was that he was taught the names and attributes of God. Others say it was because regardless of the negative potential  within human nature, there also would appear Prophets and messengers who would be guided by God and redeem the best side of humanity. 

    Next time I will describe the inseparable relationship and connection between the Prophets mentioned in this verse of the Bible, with the message and personality of the last Prophet Muhammad, to whom the Quran was inspired. And end here with a song about their undivided unity and brotherhood.


    All of the Prophets Were Brothers

    All The Prophets Were Brothers;
    their mothers were different
    But their faith was the same as each other’s
    All of them said:
    La ilaha illa-llah (La ilaha illa-llah)

    All of the people are part of one family; every man and woman
    Belonging to humanity
    Everybody knows:
    La ilaha illa-llah (La ilaha illa-llah)
    La ilaha illa-llah (La ilaha illa-llah)

    All the Religions taught how to love each other;
    but some people changed
    And started fighting others
    Then they forgot:
    La ilaha illa-llah (La ilaha illa-llah)

    So God raised Prophets to guide people back;
    to follow His Laws,
    That’s the Straight Path
    All of them said:
    La ilaha illa-llah (La ilaha illa-llah)
    La ilaha illa-llah (La ilaha illa-llah)

    Adam, Idris (Enoch), Nuh (Noah), Hud, Salih, Ibrahim (Abraham), Ismail (Ishmael), Is-haac (Isaac), Lut (Lot), Ya’qub (Jacob/Israel), Yusuf (Joseph), Shuaib, Ayyub (Job), Musa (Moses), Haroon (Aaron), Dhul-Kifl, Dawud (David), Sulaiman (Solomon), Ilyas (Elias), Al-Yasa’, Yunus (Jonah), Zakariyyah, Yahya (John), Isa (Jesus/Christ), Muhammad

    The Prophets Were Brothers; their mothers were different
    But their faith was the same as each other’s
    All of them said:
    La ilaha illa-llah (La ilaha illa-llah)
    La ilaha illa-llah (La ilaha illa-llah)
    La ilaha illa-llah (La ilaha illa-llah)
    La ilaha illa-llah – No god but One God

     

    As part of a 4 Part exclusive BBC Radio series Yusuf shares his reflections during Ramadan 2020.

    Part Two – Broadcasted on BBC Radio 08 / 05 / 20