Mission of the Prophets

He it is Who raised among the inhabitants of Mecca an Apostle from among themselves, who recites to them His communications and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and the Wisdom, although they were before certainly in clear error. (Surah Jumah 62:2)

Quranic verses like the one quoted above and traditions of Ahle Bayt show that the primary aim of sending the Prophets was to teach and train the people and to purify them. 

These two things themselves have a special aim. Training and purification of self is indispensable to the perfection of humanity. They are so closely related to each other that they cannot be separated. Both of them are required to achieve the perfection of human beings. Without them, humanity will not reach to perfection. If this were not true the Almighty Allah would not have made the aim if His Prophets as such. 

Training and self-purification means knowledge and action

1) Training: Training denotes the missionary program sent by Allah and it is related to Him.

And teaches them the Book and the Wisdom. (Surah Jumah 62:2)

This portion of the verse shows that training is related to two things, ‘Book’ and ‘Wisdom’. Actually both are one and the same. ‘Book’ means the knowledge of the Holy Quran and wisdom denotes the secret of the creation of the Universe. In other words ‘Book’ is the codification of religious law and ‘Wisdom’ means the realities connected with creation of the universe and it is related to natural factors. For example the Almighty has created the universe. Now this is not a religious command. Therefore, one who intends to acquire perfection and righteousness must strive for Quranic knowledge.

One should study it and act upon it. The verses regarding the oneness of Allah, His names, attributes and Divine acts must be studied with concentration and through this exercise we must strengthen our basic beliefs. We must also pay attention to the laws of Shariah. We must perform obligatory acts and shun prohibited ones. We must also ponder on the verses with regard to Day of Judgment. Through these verses each one of us must create a longing for Paradise and a fear of Hell. In this way a man is gradually persuaded to perform good deeds and distance himself from evil deeds. 

There are many verses of the Quran concerning wisdom and which cannot be understood by the five senses of man. A study of these verses indeed tells man regarding his origin and his destination. What is the aim behind the creation of man and other creatures? And why they subsequently leave the world? What is the purpose of designing and devising the long caravan of creatures and created things? The reply to the questions is the foundation of Quran.

[Knowledge sans actions or a fruitless Branch]
Knowledge sans actions or a fruitless Branch

2) Purification: The second aspect or component of the mission of the Prophets is to purify men from evil behavior and spiritual defects. In other words, results have to be achieved both in the matter of belief as well as deeds. Knowledge and belief and good deeds together make the soul pure of bad morals and evil. They purify the soul. Faith is a field and action is the seed. Even if the best quality seeds are sowed in a barren land and watered too, there will be no results. Not only this, even the seeds will be wasted. The soil and the seeds must be compatible for maximum benefit. Similarly if the soil is fertile but it is not sowed with seeds, it will not be able to put forth any vegetation or fruits. The fruit of knowledge and deeds is the reform of soul and purification of soul from dirt. The actual aim of knowledge and deed is purification of soul.

If the causes of disease are not removed from the body the disease will worsen instead of being cured. This the actual import of the Quranic verses. Regarding the hypocrites, it says:

There is a disease in their hearts, so Allah added to their disease and they shall have a painful chastisement because they lied. (Surah Baqarah 2:10)

In the same way Allah says,

And We reveal of the Quran that which is a healing and a mercy to the believers, and it adds only to the perdition of the unjust. (Surah Bani Israel 17:82) [Body and Soul]

Thus we come to know that the teaching of Quran is related to two things, wisdom and self-purification, and wisdom denotes the secrets of creation and belief of the affairs related to the Hereafter. In other words wisdom is the recognition of truth and self-purification is related to the permissible and the prohibited. Beliefs and actions, both are the result of Quranic teachings, and the combined result of both of them is self-purification.

Self-purification also has two stages. The first stage is outward and apparent purification and the second is internal and hidden. In order to purify the soul and to obtain the proper results of beliefs and actions, it is necessary to remove obstacles and all those things that nullify the effects of beliefs and actions.

This apparent self-purification is achieved through cleansing the organs and limbs and by worship and obedience. That is, the physical body is involved in this stage, whereas the internal purification is related to the absolute cleansing of the soul.

Self-purification through organs and limbs denotes keeping away from Greater sins. Unless and until one avoids the Greater sins one should not have the assurance that his deeds will be accepted.

The Holy Quran has clearly mentioned:

Allah only accepts from those who guard (against evil).[1]

Also, the Almighty Allah has made self-purification the path for achieving guidance and righteousness. Allah says,

Those who believe and do not mix up their faith with iniquity, those are they who shall have the security and they are those who go aright.[2]

Anything that is beyond the limits of injustice and away from the straight path is injustice. Thus no one must have any trait that is evil according to reason or that which the Shariah prohibits. If one is apparently a believer but has one of those evil traits, his belief will not serve any purpose because he has mixed up his faith with some sort of injustice.

At another place, Allah says,

And whoever is preserved from the niggardliness of his soul, these it is that are the successful ones.[3]

Thus it means that if someone is, God forbid, a miser, he is away from salvation even though he might be a believer. This very fact has been mentioned in the traditional reports: “A miserly believer is nearer to the fire of Hell than a generous infidel.” This tells us that till the time we remove each and every evil trait from our character we cannot become perfect human beings and would not be able to achieve real salvation. [Duty of the religious Scholars] 

The successors of the prophets should continue the program of teaching and self-purification. During the occultation of Imam-e-Zaman (Twelfth Imam) this important duty rests on the independent religious jurisprudents (Mujtahids) and just jurists. Quranic verses and traditions inform us that education and self-purification requires two necessary conditions. First of them is derivation of Islamic Law (Ijtehad) and the other is justice. The concerned verse says,

And it does not beseem the believers that they should go forth all together; why should not then a company from every party from among them go forth that they may apply themselves to obtain understanding in religion, and that they may warn their people when they come back to them that they may be cautious?[4]

In the same way a tradition says, “It is incumbent for the people to obey the religious jurisprudent (Mujtahid), who controls his self, guards his religion, opposes his carnal desires and obeys the commands of his master.”

On the basis of this, the leader and guide must have achieved the limits of belief in foundations of faith and should have reached perfection in it. So that he makes the people gain divine recognition (Marefat) and make their beliefs firm. In the same way he should be well versed with the laws of religion so that he can advise people regarding their duties and prohibitions. He must also be purified of immoral qualities so that he can serve as an example and people may benefit from his words and behavior.

[Compilation of Greater sins – An important step]

Thus the first duty of the scholars is to make people aware of the permissible and the prohibited. This is a very important task. But so far we didn’t have any comprehensive book in Persian that deals with the Greater sins in detail, so that the general public may have access to it. This blessing was in the fortune of Ayatullah Dastghaib Shirazi. After devoting a number of years the Ayatullah has completed the magnum opus named Greater sins. Eager and truth perceiving public has accorded a great welcome to this book. Thousands of copies of this book have been published in two editions. A new deluxe edition is planned for the future.

[Qalbe Saleem (Immaculate Conscience) and Gunahane Kabira (Greater Sins)]

Fortunately the aim of the respected author is to guide people and help in the purification of their souls. After completing Gunahane Kabira he was busy in writing a book that deals with the sins of the heart, that being the second important stage of religious guidance. Actually the book, Qalbe Saleem is a sequel to Gunahane Kabira. The collection of topics and arrangement of the subject matter was entrusted to me and by the Grace of Allah, the book is complete and published in a good format.

[Responsibility of the Respected Readers]

I consider it my duty to remind that those who are interested in such material have an important responsibility. They must propagate this book among their family and friend circles and help in propagation of religion. They can fulfill the duty that is made obligatory on them by religion and conscience. It is the best method of Commanding Good and Prohibiting Evil. I also thank all those who have cooperated in preparation and publication of these books. I hope they will continue to extend their help and encourage writers and publishers.

Qalbe Saleem
(Immaculate Conscience)

The day on which property will not avail, nor sons. Except him who comes to Allah with a heart free (from evil).[5] 


[1] Surah Maidah 5:27
[2] Surah Anam 6:82
[3] Surah Hashr 59:9
[4] Surah Tawbah 9:122
[5] Surah Shuara 26:88-89