This is a continuation of my posts in the series "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.The Koran teaches that God, from the beginning, has sent apostles and prophets to teach all peoples His ways and to warn them of the consequences of their disobedience and infidelity towards Him.
"We have revealed to thee as We revealed to Noah, and the Prophets after him, and We revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, Jesus and Job, Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and We gave to David Psalms, and [of some] Messengers [apostles] We have already told thee of before, and [of other] Messengers [apostles] We have not told thee of; and unto Moses God spoke directly -- Messengers [Apostles] bearing good tidings, and warning, so that mankind might have no argument [plea] against God, after the Messengers; God is All-mighty, All-wise." (Koran 4:161-163)Most of these names we would expect, although he add Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes. Very little is spoken of Ishmael in the Jewish scriptures and he is never portrayed as a prophet. As for Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, while they are not spoken of as being prophets, they do represent the familial line from which the seed promised to Abraham would come forth. "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice." (Genesis 22:18) An apostle, in the general since, is simply a messenger and their lives were a testimony, a living message, of the promises God made with Abraham their father.
Furthermore, Muhammad believed that God sent His apostles (messengers) to specific nations, to speak in their own tongue, that the message might be clear and easily understood.
"Every nation has its Messenger [apostle]; then, when their Messenger [apostle] comes, justly the issue is decided between them, and they are not wronged." (Koran 9:48)
"And We have sent no Messenger [Apostle] save with the tongue of his [own] people, that he might make all clear [speak plainly] to them." (Koran 14:4)Although, God has continually been sending us messengers, the lesson of history, according to Muhammad, is that most of them have been disbelieved and many mistreated, Yet it is the apostles job simply to deliver his message. He is not responsible for how people respond to the message or for the judgment God brings upon them for their unbelief.
"But if you cry me lies [treat me as a liar], nations cried lies before you [have treated God's messenger as a liar]; and it is only for the Messenger to deliver the Manifest Message." (Koran 29:17)
"How then shall it be, when We bring forward from every nation [all peoples] a witness, and bring thee to witness against those? Upon that day the unbelievers [infidels], those who have disobeyed [rebelled against] the Messenger [prophet], will wish that the earth might be levelled with them; and they will not conceal [nothing shall they hide] from God one tiding." (Koran 4:46)
It is from this long line of apostles, prophets, and messengers that Muhammad sees himself and his mission in life. He is not something new, but just a continuation of the long line of men that God has sent to teach and warn us all.
"Muhammad is naught but a Messenger [apostle]; Messengers [apostles] have passed away before him." (Koran 1:338)
"Say: 'I am not an innovation among the Messengers [no apostle of new doctrine], and I know not what shall be done with me or with you. I only follow what is revealed to me; I am only a clear warner.'" (Koran 46:8)
More to come...