Why did the majority of the prophets emerge in Middle East? Were there prophets sent to all communities?
Almost all of the prophets whose names are mentioned or not mentioned in Quran emerged and carried out the duty of delivering God’s messages to people in the geographic regions of Mediterranean Basin (Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt), Mesopotamia (Iraq, Jordon, a part of Iran) and Arabic Peninsula.
In fact, the real reason of this issue is a sign of Divine fate (Mesnevi-i Nuriye, p.91). That’s to say; Allah’s discretion and willpower required sending prophets to the East. As Allah sent prophets in order to deliver His messages, it is also He who decided who will be sent as a prophet to which place. Slaves of Allah (human beings) do not affect this and are not involved in this issue.
As for the wisdom behind this issue; though there are a lot of wisdoms behind this, a few of them which we can instantly think of are as follows:
Firstly, Prophet Adam who is the father of humankind met our mother Eve near Arafat Mountain near Mecca. So the reproduction of humankind started also in the same neighborhood. Though Prophet Adam’s children increased a lot in number, they continued to live in the same neighborhood; for instance, his sons Prophet Seth and Prophet Enoch carried out their duty in Mecca as well.
Secondly, although there is a long time between Prophet Adam and Prophet Noah, Prophet Noah lived in the neighborhood which is called Kufa today and delivered the messages of Allah there. Prophet Saleh (Shelah), Prophet Isaac, Prophet Job and Prophet Elias lived around Damascus and Prophet Zachariah, Prophet John, Prophet David, Prophet Solomon and Prophet Jesus lived in Jerusalem. Prophet Eber was sent as a prophet to Yemen (ancient Arabia Felix), Prophet Moses and Prophet Joseph were sent as prophets to Egyptians.
Other prophets also emerged in the same neighborhoods. In fact, prophets were sent to humanity, that’s, to places where people lived in crowds. So, the people lived in those places in those times. According to what we can deduce from anecdotes about prophets, interpretations of holy book and other books about Islamic history that humankind lived in these places mentioned above until Prophet Jesus. And the population of humankind was as little as a few billions in those times. For this reason, there was not a need of migrating to other parts of the world. Once the population increased, people started to migrate and settle down in Europe and inner parts of Asia.
Another point is that prophets were not only sent to Arabic nations. Other holy books before Quran were sent in Hebrew language. Prophet Joseph’s and Prophet Moses’ tribes were people whom we call Egyptians and Copts. The people living in Damascus, Iraq and other neighboring places were not all Arabs. They were all from different nations. When we consider that the majority of prophets were sent to Israelites, we can understand that the majority of prophets were not sent to Arabs. Although all other prophets were sent to specific nations and communities, our Prophet Mohammad Mostapha (pbuh) is the last prophet and was sent to all humankind. The fact that our prophet is of Arabic origin and the Quran is in Arabic language does not change this reality. This is already obvious from the fact that there are Muslims almost from all races and nations today.
As for whether a prophet was sent to the continent America or not; it was a process of two hundred years for America to become a dwelling for humankind, as already known. Though there were native people in America before it was discovered, it is not known in which century those people went and dwelled there. We cannot say for sure that they migrated to America after Prophet Jesus and Prophet Mohammad! If so, it must be that their ancestors heard the teachings of a prophet or heard of a divine religion.
In addition to this, there is not a record saying there were not prophets sent to China, Europe and other continents. If they had been sent, this was not recorded in history and they were forgotten because of the fallacious religions that emerged in these regions later. By the way, it is necessary to keep this verse in mind: “…nor would We punish until We had sent an apostle” (al-Isra, 15).
Were there prophets sent to all communities?
It is narrated in hadith that 124.000 prophets were sent throughout the history of humankind. In this sense, prophets were sent to every community and every tribe.
Throughout the history of humankind, prophets were humankind’s leaders both in religious – moral/ethic way and scientific and technological ways. In this sense, all pleasant ways of communities are the results of divine religions.
1- The issue of that prophets emerged only in Arabic Peninsula and not in other continents
2- The issue of that it would be unjust to punish communities to which prophets were not sent.
Now, let’s evaluate these two issues one by one. But before that, it should be pointed out to the importance, even obligation of a prophet being amongst people. Prophecy is a superior rank. A prophet is like a tree-branch of human dignity bending down from Allah to humans and is the heart and tongue of all other living beings in nature. He is chosen and elevated, and also sent for a divine duty. A prophet is not just a talented person who has got a superior mind, and influences materials and events, unlike a genius is. He is a person with broad horizons who waits for analysis from divine inspirations for issues which ascend beyond skies, a person who is always active with all of his mental power, pure, always wavering and making a new helicoid line every time he wavers, and a person who is considered as the point where physical world unites with metaphysical world.
A prophet can go everywhere like a soul, he can see Allah’s names and attributions in everything and he can be anywhere that the eye can see. A prophet’s senses are so developed that they are beyond the natural limits of sight, hearing and knowing. It is impossible to explain prophets’ sight with various light waves and similarly it is also impossible to explain their hearing with sound waves. Moreover, it will not be easy at all for anyone to reach prophets’ knowledge, which pushes the limits of nature, with our limited ability to analyze and synthesize. Humankind can discover and perceive physical world only with their help.
There has neither ever been and will never be a perfect effect on physical world and events nor an incisive intervention on nature except for prophets’ circles of showing the right way and training… Gifting the knowledge of secrets of nature and its divine rules to humans is their first lesson and this lesson is only for inexperienced people. Beyond this lesson, others are enabling people to know the names and attributions of the Supreme Creator, who offers the world of beings (physical and metaphysical) to His existence, and carefully giving information about His very self, which cannot be perceived. If it were not for the Prophets’ crystal-clear explanations, it would neither be possible to say nor to think something true about the Almighty and Omnipotent being who controls the all worlds, makes everything from particles to nebulae obey Him, puts them in any form and shape as He wishes. It would also be impossible to know His names and issues attributed to Him.
Therefore, it is a prophet who penetrates materials and events to teach us the whole life. And it is also he who explains to us the Supreme Creator, the Almighty and Omnipotent being deferring to the precise balance and relation between His names/attributions and His Godhood, which is the first lesson of everything and every event.
In this sense, one should not presume that any continent on earth and any part of time was deprived of their knowledge and light. How could one presume that! Neither any clear judgment has been made about the world of beings nor has anyone gone beyond the philosophy’s hazy atmosphere which is full of doubts, uncertainties and dilemma. Frankly, mind, wisdom and Quran together confirm that every continent and every period of time was under a prophet’s teaching. The opposite of this cannot even be presumed. Even a small museum or a simple fair need ushers and guides. Museums and fairs are visited with the guidance of an expert, and if there is not someone to guide visitors, it turns out to be meaningless to come and visit that museum. This fact indicates that town-criers and guides are necessary for sure to tell the spectators about this marvelous palace of universe, to attract their attention to the precise and small details of it and to reveal this universe’s secrets to them.
In addition, why should He, who exhibits this system He created, this parade of exhibits and arts like in a fair and who wants to introduce Himself with His all works and masterpieces to the spectators, not chose some prominent people to inform the spectators of His very self, His attributions and names which would result in showing His wise works as nonsense, after having opened this exhibition and displayed His masterpieces and attracted their attention.
Why should He cause His fascinating works to be accused of meaningless? The Supreme Being, who turns everything into a language and notes and tells us about His wisdom and works, is freed from all kinds of nonsense and is holy. Quran, which is His own words, tells about prophets who emerged in all over the world. “We assuredly sent amongst every People an apostle, (with the Command), "Serve God, and eschew Evil.” (an-Nahl, 36). However, people forgot the teachings of these superior beings and gone stray after some time. They attributed godliness to the prophets and saints and returned to their old belief which is paganism (idolatry). There are so many things which human imagination idolized from Greeks’ Mountain of Gods and River Ganges that there should be great differences between how they emerged first and what they are now. It is impossible to evaluate China’s Confucius, India’s Brahman and Buddha under the circumstances which they were raised and according to what they brought.
It is difficult to figure out how much the time which wears everything away and constantly changing human perception differentiated these from their origins. If it were not for Quran’s declaration which introduces to us Prophet Jesus and dispels doubts, it would be impossible to find and bring out a true Messiah from amongst church’s dim walls and priests’ views which are mixed with pagan views. Attributing godliness to human beings and humanizing the Supreme Being; bringing into belief the dilemma of God’s being both “one” and “three” mean to mock at wit and reasoning and it is a great shamelessness against Allah.
One cannot feel an important difference between Christian rituals, prayers, places of worship and hermitage and ancient Roman and Greek paganism formally. It is quite difficult for someone who observes a church and what is happening in it, without taking Quran’s enlightening and clarifying declaration into consideration, to distinguish the Messiah from Apollo. Taking into consideration that how Christianity, which emerged not so long before our era, changed its own book and prophet this much, we can say that so many prophets were corrupted amongst the terrible grinding gearwheels of time, who knows!
According to what we have learnt from a trustful narration, the prophet said that after a prophet dies, his companions will carry out his duty and after they die some false inheritors will turn everything upside down. This is of great importance. Yes, according to this, many fallacious religions today are indeed the corrupted forms of pure, divine religions which came from revelation channels. They were corrupted by their followers’ ignorance and cruelty of their enemies and they became nothing but a bunch of superstitions today. In this sense, many religions which seem to be fallacious and which survived to our day are strongly possible to have a divine origin. It is also reasonable for each era to have seen a prophet. To call someone who is not prophet a prophet is considered infidelity, just like denying a prophet’s prophecy. However, one cannot help to doubt about the origin of Buddhism, to ponder carefully over Brahmanism because of the Christianity example given above. I think that it would be wise to look for Confucius beyond his limited philosophy and evaluate Shamanism taking into consideration that it might have been misinterpreted. No one can doubt that these were so different when they first emerged from what they are now, whether they were a pure and sweet water or an impure leakage. Time and events sometimes wore them away so much and differentiated them so much that their founders would not be able to recognize them if they turned back to life. There are so many corrupted religions like these on earth and the pureness in the essence of most of them must be accepted.
Quran gives an obvious judgment by stating “verily We have sent thee in truth, as a bearer of glad tidings, and as a warner: and there never was a people, without a warner having lived among them (in the past).” (Fatir, 24). However, we only know of 28 of the prophets who emerged all over the world and who are 124.000 in number according to the declaration. Besides, we do not have any information about where and when many of them lived. In fact, we are not responsible for knowing all the prophets lived so far. Quran says “We did aforetime send apostles before thee: of them there are some whose story We have related to thee, and some whose story We have not related to thee.” (al-Ghafir, 78) and warns us not to dwell on the ones who are not related. The fact that we can see communities which are so far away from each other in distance have got a lot in common when the history of religions, philosophy and anthropology are studied is remarkable.
Shortly, all religions reach “the one” through “many” and in every religion when one encounters unbearable troubles, he/she puts everything aside and raises hands upwards to beg a supreme being. And when one has contact with metaphysical events, he/she displays the same manners and behaviors with the people of other religions. These indicate that all of them come from the same source and same teacher. One can see the same atmosphere and feel the same rhythm in religious rituals and songs of people from Mayans, Red Indians to African man-eater tribes… Prof. Dr. Mahmud Mustafa’s research and study on two savage tribes confirms this issue. According to the Doctor’s statement, the Mavmavs believe in a god they call Mujay. This god is one and unique in his works. He did not give birth and was not given to birth. There is nothing equal and similar to him. He is invisible and unknown but one can recognize him through his works. Similar things are told about the Neyamneyam tribe too. They believe in a god to whom everything obeys, who makes everything behave according to his will and makes lightning strike bad people and they believe this god is the only one worthy of worship. It is obvious that there is not much difference between their idea of god and the Supreme Being in Quran. Even, it would be appropriate to say that the Mavmavs express the content of chapter Ihlas. These primitive tribes which are so far away from civilization and out of the places where prophets lived and influenced know this deepest and purest conception of Allah although they do not know even the simplest rules of life. That shows us that “To every people (was sent) an apostle: when their apostle comes (before them), the matter will be judged between them with justice, and they will not be wronged.” (Yunus, 47). This is a divine and worldwide reality and none of the continents are excluded from this reality’s extent.
Mathematician Prof. Dr. Adil, whom I had the chance to meet in the year of 1968, also told about similar things to the ones told by Dr. Mahmud Mustafa. During his doctorate studies in the USA, Prof. Dr. Adil often had contact with native people, i.e. American Indians, and he told about the issues which bewildered him: the natives performed religious rituals which were appropriate for the notion of God’s Oneness. During these rituals they declared their belief in that God does not eat or drink and is not bound by time. They repeated again and again that everything in the universe was under God’s control. And they also told about so many attributions of God that it was impossible to understand how a tribe living a wild, savage and nomadic life could have so glorious thoughts. In fact, it is impossible to attribute the source of this notion of God’s Oneness, which the greatest philosophers cannot comprehend, to these savage tribes of Mavmavs, Neyamneyams and Mayans.
We can conclude that the Owner of Infinite Mercy, who does not begrudge even the small beings such as bees and ants mothers to take care of them, did not begrudge humankind prophets to guide them and He scattered divine lights everywhere and all times via His prophets and He enlightened the worlds…
Now, let’s evaluate the issue that people who did not meet prophets will not be punished. Firstly, we have seen in the first part that the world was never deprived of prophets’ light and though sometimes there were temporary droughts, not so long after that the rain of mercy fell down heavily. In this sense, everybody has seen this rain of mercy to some extent, heard of it, tasted it or satisfied with it. However, where the corruption was so fast, interregnum of confusion and chaos emerged so fast and covered that area with darkness. While every bright day is followed by darkness and after every dark night comes the bright day, Allah gave good tidings to those who were left in darkness out of their will: “nor would We punish until We had sent an apostle” (Isra, 15). So, warning comes first, and then comes responsibility and lastly come punishment or reward… However, imams of different sects have different views on the details of the issue. For instance, Imam Maturidi and his upholders say that while there are so many evidences, each of which is like a book, to the existence of Allah, one cannot be excused because of not knowing Allah. Ahs’aris say, according to the verse which is translated as “nor would We punish until We had sent an apostle”, deserving punishment is for the ones to whom Allah’s messages have been delivered by prophets. There are others who have got moderate views between these two: If a person has never met a prophet but also did not choose to deny and did not worship idols, he/she is successful. In fact, there are those amongst people who do not have any ability to analyze and synthesize. It is impossible for such people to figure out evidence by observing materials and events around. In this sense, such a person is firstly guided to the right way, and after that he/she is punished or rewarded according to his/her behaviors. However, if person chooses the way of infidelity, builds philosophy over it and rages a war against Allah willingly, he/she will go through punishment because of his/her denial and infidelity, even though he/she might be in the furthest corner of the world.
In conclusion, we can say that there is not a single continent to which a Prophet was not sent and there was not a long period of time during which a prophet did not live. People of almost all era have felt the breeze caused by a prophet. In areas where prophets were totally forgotten and their works were worn away by time, there was a time of “interregnum” until a second prophet was sent. The people who lived in this period of time will be excused. It is hoped that no one will choose the way of denying Allah’s existence willingly and on purpose. The One who surrounds everything knows the best.
- Is it a sign that the Quran was copied from the Torah as it mentions the names of the prophets sent in the Middle East?
- Why were different prophets sent to different people and why were there differences among the religions that prophets brought?
- Number of Prophets
- How many prophets came to the world?
- What does belief in prophets mean?