The Five courageous Messengers عَلَیْہِمُ السَّلَام

Quranic Pearls

The Five courageous Messengers عَـلَـيْهِمُ السَّلَام

Mufti Muhammad Qasim ‘Attari

Allah Almighty states:

فَاصْبِرْ كَمَا صَبَرَ اُولُوا الْعَزْمِ مِنَ الرُّسُلِ

‘Therefore, be patient (O Beloved) like the courageous Messengers had patience.’

[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 26, Surah Al-Ahqaaf, Verse 35)

In this verse, our Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم is commanded by Allah Almighty to be patient like the resolute messengers before him. Our Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم spared no moment or effort in inviting the disbelievers to Islam. He صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم offered them light and salvation, but the vast majority preferred darkness and damnation. Their obstinate rejection could have been met with utter destruction if the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم prayed against them. Allah Almighty, however, gave them respite out of mercy, commanding the Holy Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم to be patient in the face of all the pain his people caused him, as did the arch-messengers[1]. Naturally, this command was aligned with the Prophet’s nature as he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم is not only from the arch-messengers, but their superior and leader – he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم is the source of their patience, resolution, and courage.

Who are the resolute Messengers?

All prophets and messengers عَـلَـيْهِمُ السَّلَام are courageous, brave, and men of determination. They endured difficulties on the path of truth, displaying immense courage for the sake of Allah Almighty. As mentioned in the Holy Quran, many of them were martyred because they preferred death over giving up. The Quranic accounts about the prophets Shu’ayb, Hood, Saalih, Lut, Yusuf, and others عَـلَـيْهِمُ السَّلَام are shining examples of resolution, valour, and steadfastness.

Among the prophets and messengers عَـلَـيْهِمُ السَّلَام, there are five arch-messengers whose struggle and patience on the true path was more than anyone else and afforded them the accolade of ‘Resolute Messengers,’ (Ulu al-Azm):

1.   Our Beloved Prophet, Sayyiduna Muhammad صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم

2.   Sayyiduna Ibrahim عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام

3.   Sayyiduna Musa عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام

4.   Sayyiduna Isa عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام

5.   Sayyiduna Nuh عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام

These blessed souls enjoy a unique status in the Quran:

وَ اِذْ اَخَذْنَا مِنَ النَّبِیّٖنَ مِیْثَاقَهُمْ وَ مِنْكَ وَ مِنْ نُّوْحٍ وَّ اِبْرٰهِیْمَ وَ مُوْسٰى وَ عِیْسَى ابْنِ مَرْیَمَ۪-وَ اَخَذْنَا مِنْهُمْ مِّیْثَاقًا غَلِیْظًاۙ(۷)

‘And, O Beloved, remember when We took a covenant from the Prophets, and from you, and from Nooh, and Ibrahim, and Moosa, and ‘Eisa; the son of Maryam; and We took a solemn covenant from them.’

[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 21, Surah Al-Ahzaab, Verse 7)

شَرَعَ لَكُمْ مِّنَ الدِّیْنِ مَا وَصّٰى بِهٖ نُوْحًا وَّ الَّذِیْۤ اَوْحَیْنَاۤ اِلَیْكَ وَ مَا وَصَّیْنَا بِهٖۤ اِبْرٰهِیْمَ وَ مُوْسٰى وَ عِیْسٰۤى

‘He has established for you that path of religion which He commanded to Nooh, and what We have revealed to you (O Beloved), and what We had commanded to Ibrahim and Moosa and ‘Eisa.’

[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 27, Surah Al-Hadeed, Verse 7)

Mulla ‘Ali al-Qaari رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه writes that ‘all five of these are resolute messengers, and Allah Almighty mentioned all of them together in the two aforementioned verses,’ (Mirqat-ul-Mafatih, vol. 9, p. 376, under the Hadith 5472).

Mufti Muhammad Amjad ‘Ali ‘A’zami رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه adds:

Prophets have various ranks; some are superior to others. The most superior is our Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. He is followed by Sayyiduna Ibrahim عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام, then Sayyiduna Musa عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام, then Sayyiduna ‘Isa عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام and then Sayyiduna Nuh عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام. These prophets are known as the ‘Resolute Messengers,’ and they are superior to all other prophets, messengers, jinn, humans, angels, and the rest of Allah’s creation, (Bahar-e-Shari’at, vol. 1, p. 54).

Their courage and unwavering commitment to Allah Almighty allowed them to face the worst challenges and deal with the most heinous provocations with grace, faith, and dignity. They never despaired of the mercy of Allah Almighty, always standing firm with the truth. As the disbelievers’ cruelty, enmity, and opposition increased, the stronger the courage of these arch-messengers became.

Sayyiduna Nuh عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام remained with his nation for 950 years, calling them to the oneness of Allah Almighty and the true path for many years. Despite his efforts, only a few people answered his call. But he عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام did not cease inviting them to the true path, towards Allah Almighty, despite the emotional and psychological strain they attempted to inflict.

Sayyiduna Ibrahim’s عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام life is a rich account of exemplary determination and steadfastness. His guardian uncle, Aazar, threatened to kill him and hurt him all the time. Despite knowing of his nation’s love for idols, he broke the idols of the disbelievers by himself, driven by his commitment to the oneness of Allah Almighty. Due to this, he عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام was thrown into a blazing fire. He also stood fearlessly in the court of Namrood the tyrant and debated with him about the power and greatness of Allah Almighty. Then he migrated in the path of Allah Almighty, leaving his wife and child alone in the desert of Makkah. He also used a knife on the neck of his young and only child.

Sayyiduna Musa’s عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام mettle and courage are undeniable hallmarks of his person. Fir’awn had begun ethnically cleansing the Bani Isra’il by killing their male newborns before he عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام was even born. After he was born, Musa عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام was placed inside a chest that was then placed in the river. Even after being raised in Fir’awn’s house, his character and habits remained pure and lofty. For many years he عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام herded the goats of Sayyiduna Shu’ayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام due to a promise that he had made. After receiving the status of prophethood, he made a powerful announcement of truth in the court of Fir’awn. He gave the message of Allah Almighty’s Lordship and oneness, rejecting Fir’awn’s claims of being god, despite him being aware of Fir’awn’s cruelty and tyranny. For a long time, he fought against Fir’awn, and then he dealt with his nation that had a strange mentality and worldview, to say the least.

There is a beautiful account of determination and courage in the life of Sayyiduna ‘Isa عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام. Although he brought forth many miracles and helped people, he was tormented throughout his life. The Jews openly opposed him, despite his favours toward them. They were ungrateful and attempted to have him crucified but Allah Almighty protected him and raised him to the heavens, and a similar-looking man was crucified instead.

My Beloved is unmatched

In this concise article, we have thus far learned about the key characteristics that allowed a few messengers to surpass others and be awarded the distinguished title of ‘Resolute Messengers.’ Just like these messengers عَـلَـيْهِمُ السَّلَام, our Beloved Messenger صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم was also commanded to be patient and steadfast. And because our Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم is the paradigm of all perfect and lofty traits that were shared by previous Prophets عَـلَـيْهِمُ السَّلَام, his courage and bravery were unmatched.

The Holy Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم himself stated: ‘As much as I have been made fearful on the path of Allah Almighty, nobody else has been made to fear that much. And as much as I have been tormented on the path of Allah Almighty, nobody else has been tormented this much,’ (Tirmizi, vol. 4, p. 213, Hadith 2480). Even a cursory glance at the life of the Holy Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم reveals the true nature and degree of these Prophetic words. Persecution in Mecca, assassination attempts, black magic, taunts of being insane and a fortune teller, the clan-wide boycott for three years, pains and troubles in Taif, followers being tortured, the believers being forced to leave Makkah, the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم himself having to migrate, continuous battles with the disbelievers after migrating to Madinah, and facing the plots of the hypocrites: these are some of the challenges and crises that the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم faced, unmoved and unshaken, remaining firm as a mighty mountain of mettle and valour.

Sayyidah ‘Aaishah al-Siddiqah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا states: ‘The Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said to me:

‘Aaishah! Verily Allah Almighty willed for the Resolute Messengers to be patient before worldly difficulties and worldly blessings. Then, he willed to make me obliged to those very things that he made others obliged to as well. He Almighty said:

فَاصْبِرْ كَمَا صَبَرَ اُولُوا الْعَزْمِ مِنَ الرُّسُلِ

‘Therefore, be patient (O Beloved) like the courageous Messengers had patience.’

[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 26, Surah Al-Ahqaaf, Verse 35)

And, I swear by Allah that obeying it is binding on me. I swear by Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ that obeying it is binding on me. I swear by Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ I will definitely be patient! Just as the Resolute Messengers were. And it is Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ who provides the strength. (Akhlaq Al-Nabi li Abi Shaykh Isbahani, p. 154, Hadith 806)

Sayyidah ‘Aaishah al-Siddiqah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا adds: ‘I swear by Allah! The Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم never sought revenge for himself. However, if Allah’s sacred boundaries were violated, then he would take revenge for the sake of Allah, i.e., he would administer punitive measures,’ (Bukhari, vol. 4, p. 331, Hadith 6786).

May Allah Almighty allow us to uphold the truth, effectively invite people to righteousness, and live with courage and determination, for the sake of the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and the ‘اُولُوا الْعَزْم’ Messengers.

اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ النَّبِیِّ الْاَمِیْن صَلَّی اللہ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلہٖ وَسَلَّم

[1] Arch-messengers: they are the five most superior messengers.




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