In previous chapters, we provided examples and evidence that help us to ponder and grasp something of Allah's might and grandeur. The reason why Allah endowed us with the faculties of thinking and reasoning is in order for us to come to know Him. Allah has also sent us the revealed Books through which He introduces Himself. He communicates what He expects from us in these Books. Allah commissioned and sent messengers who set examples for their peoples with their excellent conduct. Through these messengers, the pure message and revelation of Allah provide guidance for mankind.

The only book revealed by Allah to have survived completely intact is the Qur'an.

It is difficult to know exactly how many messengers Allah sent, although there are traditions relating that, for example, there have been three hundred and thirteen messengers and a much greater number of prophets throughout history. We only know the names of the prophets mentioned in the Qur'an, the last revelation sent by Allah. Allah provides us with knowledge of the lives of the prophets to allow us to understand their conduct. Through the messengers He sent, Our Lord conveys to us the right way of living and how to conduct ourselves correctly in this world. Only through Allah's communications can we know how to conduct ourselves, and which types of behaviour are better and more in compliance with the values of the Qur'an. It is only through His communications that we can ever know the behaviour that earn Allah's good pleasure and His infinite reward as well as those that lead to punishment.

In the Qur'an, Allah informs us that throughout history He sent His messengers to all communities, and that they warned them. These messengers summoned their people to worship Allah, to pray to Him and to comply with His commands. He also made clear to them that otherwise they would be punished. In brief, they warned the disbelievers and those who engaged in wicked deeds, and they gave glad tidings to believers that they would be rewarded. (The Garden and the Fire will be dealt with extensively in the following sections.) The last prophet Allah sent to mankind was the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. The Qur'an is the last revealed Book.

The earlier revelations from Allah have lost their authenticity, since ignorant people and those with bad intentions have incorporated their own words and extra pieces into them. Therefore, their originals, the true revelations that were initially sent to the peoples, did not survive to our day. But Allah sent us the Qur'an, the Book that is impossible to alter.

The Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and later Muslims preserved the Qur'an very well. The Qur'an is so clear that everyone can understand it. When we read the Qur'an, we can immediately understand that it is the Speech of Allah. The Qur'an, which has survived completely intact, is under Allah's protection and it is the only revealed Book for which people will be responsible until the Day of Judgment.

Today all Muslims, wherever they are, read the very same Qur'an; Not a single discrepancy can be found in one word or letter. The Qur'an revealed to the Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and compiled by the Caliph Abu Bakr and then later written out by the Caliph Uthman, may Allah be pleased with them, who lived 1,400 years ago, and the Qur'an we read today are identical. There is a one-to-one correspondence between them. This means, from the day the Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, it has survived intact. That is because Allah protected the Qur'an from evil people who intended to alter it or incorporate extra bits in it. In one verse, Allah informs us that He preserves the Qur'an specially:

It is We Who have sent down the Reminder [i.e., the Qur'an] and We Who will preserve it. (Surat Al-Hijr: 9)

With the word "We" in this verse, Allah refers to Himself. There is no other god besides Allah, He has no partner. He is the Almighty Allah, the Originator of everything and the One Who encompasses everything in His knowledge.

In some parts of the Qur'an, Allah refers to Himself with the word "I," and in some others with the word, "We." In Arabic, which is the language of the Qur'an, the word "We" is also employed to refer to a single person with the purpose of arousing feelings of might and respect in the listener. There is a similar case in English known as "The Royal We." In the succeeding sections of this book, we will give you examples of verses (of the Qur'an) and surahs (chapters of the Qur'an). They are the most correct words because they are the words of Allah, the One Who knows us better than we do ourselves.

In the Qur'an, Allah wants us to take lessons from the lives of the prophets. One verse reads:

There is instruction in their [i.e., messengers'] stories for people of intelligence... (Surah Yusuf: 111)

The type of person to whom Allah draws our attention in this verse is a person who knows that the Qur'an is the Speech of Allah and thereby thinks, exercises his reason and strives to learn the Qur'an and live by its commands.

Allah holds the people to whom He sends His messengers responsible for complying with His commands. Having received Allah's revelations, people will have no right to put forward excuses on the Day of Judgment. That is because the messengers of Allah convey to their peoples the knowledge of the existence of Allah and of what He expects from people. Once a person hears this message, he is responsible for it. This is related in the Qur'an as follows:

Messengers bringing good news and giving warning, so that people will have no argument against Allah after the coming of the Messengers. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise. (Surat an-Nisa: 165)

Allah created many groups of people on earth. Some of these groups refused what their messengers brought to them and denied that they were messengers at all. Because they did not listen to their words and comply with Allah's commands, they were punished. Through His messengers, Allah also warned these rebellious people of a terrible life in this world. Despite this, they continued to oppose their messengers and slander them. Furthermore, they became so violent as in some cases even to murder them. Upon this, Allah gave them the punishment they deserved, and, in time, new communities replaced them. In the Qur'an, the situation of such communities is related as follows:

Have they not seen how many generations We destroyed before them which We had established on the earth far more firmly than We have established you? We sent down heaven upon them in abundant rain and made rivers flow under them. But We destroyed them for their wrong actions and raised up further generations after them. (Surat al-An'am: 6)

In coming chapters, we will dwell on the exemplary behaviour of the prophets who struggled against these rebellious communities.

The First Human Being and The First Prophet: Adam

In this book, you can read about the falsity of the theory of evolution, which asserts that living beings came into existence by accident.

As you will remember, while we were talking about the creation of man, we said that the first man on earth was Adam, peace be upon him. Adam was also the first prophet. That is, Allah also sent a messenger to the very first community He created on earth and taught them their deen (religion) and how to become slaves devoted to Allah.

Allah taught Adam how to speak and all the names. This is related in the Qur'an as follows:

He taught Adam the names of all things… (Surat al-Baqara: 31)

This is surely very important. Among all living things, only man has the faculty of speech. Speaking is a feature peculiar to human beings. Thanks to the fact that Allah initially gave this faculty to Adam, it became possible for man to know the objects around him and to give names to them.

The generations succeeding Adam could also speak, had feelings, felt sorry or excited, wear clothes, used tools and devices and had talent for music and the arts. Musical instruments such as the flute, wall drawings and some other objects that scientists have found with the remains of ancient human beings prove that they were people like us. In other words, contrary to the claims of some people, the first human beings had never been wild creatures, half-ape/half-man.

There is no difference between ants, frogs or fish living in our day and their fossilised relatives shown in the pictures.

You know that neither an ape nor any other being can speak, think or act like a human being. Allah gave all these faculties especially to man. (For further information on this subject you can refer to the book, Wonders of Allah's Creation by Harun Yahya).

But some people who are not willing to accept the fact that the first human being was Adam put forward some claims of their own: They fabricated a false identity for the first human being. According to their imaginary scenarios, human beings and apes sprang from the same living thing, that is, they had a common ancestor, and evolved in time into their current states. If you ask how this unusual happening occurred, they give a single answer: "It happened by chance." When you ask if there is any evidence to prove this claim, they provide none. To conclude, there is not a single remain proving that man evolved from another being.

If you ask, "What are these remains from the past?," there is a ready answer: Some living things leave traces behind when they die, and these traces, which we call fossils, remain for millions of years without changing. However, for this to happen, that living thing must suddenly be entrapped in an oxygen-free environment. For instance, if a bird on the ground had been abruptly covered by a heap of sand millions of years ago, the remains of that bird could have survived to our day. Similarly, there are substances secreted from trees called resins. Sometimes, this honey-like substance covers an insect and turns into the hard material called amber, which preserves the dead insect for millions of years. This is the way we gather information about living beings of ancient times. These remains are called "fossils."

Those who suggest that the first human being came into existence from an ape-like creature can never provide any fossils proving this claim. In other words, no one has ever found a fossil belonging to an unusual creature that was half-ape/half-human. But these people have produced false fossils, pictures and drawings to cover up this falsehood, and have even put them into school textbooks.

All these frauds were gradually uncovered one by one and made public as scientific frauds. Because such people are unwise and obstinate, it is almost impossible for them to accept Allah's existence and to realise that He creates everything. Although the number of such people is diminishing steadily, there are still some who strive to disseminate their flawed views through periodicals, books and newspapers, and also in schools. To make people believe in their flawed views, they insist on their arguments and assert that they have scientific validity. However, each piece of research done and evidence provided by intelligent scientists prove that the ape did not evolve into man.

Adam, the first man, whom Allah specially created, was in all ways the same as contemporary man; He was in no way different. These are the facts Allah communicates to us in the Qur'an. There is yet another very important issue Allah informs us about Adam: The story of Adam and Satan, the enemy of mankind.

Man's Greatest Enemy: Satan

You may already know about Satan, but do you know that he also knows you very well and resorts to every method to tempt you? Do you know that the actual purpose of Satan, who pretends to be your friend, is to deceive you? Let's start from the very beginning and remind ourselves why Satan is our enemy. For this purpose, we will turn to the story about Adam and Satan in the Qur'an.

In the Qur'an, Satan is the general name given until the Day of Judgment to all beings who have committed themselves to lead man astray. Iblis is the principal evil being who rebelled against Allah when He created Adam.

According to the Qur'anic account, Allah created Adam and then called the angels to prostrate to him. The angels complied with Allah's command, but Iblis refused to prostrate to Adam. He impiously asserted that he was superior to man. Because of his disobedience and insolence, he was banished from Allah's sight.

Before leaving Allah's presence, Iblis requested time from Allah to lead people astray. The purpose of Iblis is to tempt people and thus to make them turn away from the right path within the period of time granted to him. He will try anything to make the majority of people subject to himself. Allah proclaims that He will send Satan and his followers to the Fire. These things are related in the Qur'an as follows:

We created you and then formed you and then We said to the angels, "Prostrate before Adam," and they prostrated-except for Iblis. He was not among those who prostrated.

He [Allah] said, "What prevented you from prostrating when I commanded you to?" He [Iblis] replied, "I am better than him. You created me from fire and You created him from clay."

He [Allah] said, "Descend from Heaven. It is not for you to be arrogant in it. So get out! You are one of the abased." He said, "Grant me a reprieve until the day they are raised up." He [Allah] said, "You are one of the reprieved."

He said, "By Your misguidance of me, I will lie in ambush for them on Your straight path. Then I will come at them, from in front of them and behind them, from their right and from their left. You will not find most of them thankful."

He [Allah] said, "Get out of it, reviled and driven out. As for those of them who follow you, I will fill up the Fire with every one of you." (Surat al-A'raf: 11-18)

After being banished from Allah's sight, Satan set upon the struggle that would last until the Day of Judgment. Since then, he has cunningly approached people, schemed to lead them astray and used unprecedented methods for this end. As you now understand better, Satan is a foe that can approach man very cunningly. For this reason, you have to be watchful to escape him.

Never forget that Satan is lying in ambush right now to scheme against you. He tries to stop you reading this book and thinking over what you read. He is trying to hinder you from doing good deeds, and to get you to become disrespectful and disobedient to your elders, and to hinder you from giving thanks to Allah, praying and always telling the truth. Never allow Satan to deceive you and to hinder you from becoming a person of good character and listening to the voice of your conscience.

You must take refuge in Allah and ask help from Him when an evil thought occurs to you or when you find yourself unwilling to do a good deed, since all these are the cunning tricks of Satan. Never forget that Satan can exercise no authority over those who have faith.

The Prophet Nuh (Noah)

Nuh, peace be upon him, like all the other prophets, summoned his people to the true path. He told them that they must have faith in Allah, that He is the Creator of everything, that they must worship none but Him, otherwise they would be punished. This is related in the Qur'an as follows:

We sent Nuh to his people: "I am a clear warner to you. Worship none but Allah. I fear for you the punishment of a painful day." (Surah Hud: 25-26)

Despite all his warnings, only a few people believed in Nuh. Upon this, Allah commanded Nuh to build a great ship. Allah informed him that the people of faith would be saved in that ship.

Nuh's building a ship despite there being no sea in that area surprised those people who had no faith in Allah, and they therefore ridiculed him. Those who had no faith did not know what would happen to them, but Allah did. When the ship was built, heavy rain poured for days and water rose over the land, flooding everything. This historical disaster has been confirmed by scientists. In the Middle East, much evidence has been uncovered revealing that many of today's mountains were once covered with water.

On television, you have probably seen many floods in different corners of the world. In the face of such a disaster, people generally get up on roofs and wait for help. In such a situation only helicopters or boats can rescue them. In the time of the Prophet Nuh, peace be upon him, however, it was only the Ark that could have saved them. This disaster, which is called "Nuh's flood," was actually a punishment specially created by Allah to punish people who did not believe in Nuh. Because they expected help from other than Allah, none of the insolent people who turned a deaf ear to Allah's warnings embarked on Nuh's Ark. They did not put their trust in Allah, but relied on other beings.

Unless Allah wills it, nothing can protect us. The people at that time who denied this, climbed mountains or moved to higher regions, but still could not save themselves from drowning.

A very few people believed in Allah and put their trust in Him, which led them to embark on the ship with Nuh and save themselves. Complying with Allah's command, they took a pair from each animal species with them. This is related in the Qur'an as follows:

Before them the people of Nuh denied the truth. They denied Our slave [i.e., Nuh], saying, "He is a madman," and he was driven away with jeers.

He called upon his Lord: "I am overwhelmed, so help me!"

So We opened the gates of heaven with torrential water and made the earth burst forth with gushing springs. And the waters met together in a way which was decreed.

We bore him on a planked and well-caulked ship, which ran before Our eyes-a reward for him who had been rejected.

We left it as a Sign. But is there any rememberer there?

How terrible were My punishment and warnings! (Surat al-Qamar: 9-16)

All the prophets who were sent to their individual communities communicated basically the same teaching and summoned their people to worship Allah and to obey the prophets. In return for their services, they asked for no wages since those people sent by Allah to communicate His Words do not do so. They render their services only because they love Allah and fear Him. Meanwhile, they face many difficulties: Their people slander them and subject them to cruel treatment. Furthermore, some peoples plotted to kill the prophets sent to them, and some even dared to do so. Yet because the prophets feared only Allah and no one else, no hardship daunted them. They never forgot that Allah would reward them bountifully both in this world and beyond.

The Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham)

In this section, we will dwell on various attributes of some prophets to whom Allah draws our attention in the Qur'an.

Ibrahim, peace be upon him, was one of these prophets. When he was young and there was no one around him to remind him of Allah's existence, he examined the heavens and that led him to recognise that Allah creates everything. This is related in the Qur'an as follows:

When night covered him he saw a star and said, "This is my Lord!" Then when it set he said, "I do not love what sets."

Then when he saw the moon come up he said, "This is my Lord!" Then when it set he said, "If my Lord does not guide me, I will be one of the misguided people."

Then when he saw the sun come up he said, "This is my Lord! This is greater!" Then when it set he said, "My people, I am free of what you associate with Allah! I have turned my face to Him Who brought the heavens and earth into being, a pure natural believer. I am not of those who associate others with Allah." (Surat al-An'am: 76-79)

Ibrahim, peace be upon him, told his people not to worship any other god than Allah:

Recite to them the story of Ibrahim when he said to his father and his people,

"What do you worship?"

They said, "We worship idols and will continue to cling to them."

He said, "Do they hear you when you call or do they help you or do you harm?"

They said, "No, but this is what we found our fathers doing."

He [Ibrahim] said, "Have you really thought about what you worship, you and your fathers who came before?

They are all my enemies-except for the Lord of all the worlds:

He who created me and guides me;

He who gives me food and gives me drink;

and when I am ill, it is He who heals me;

He who will cause my death, then give me life;

He who I sincerely hope will forgive my mistakes on the Day of Reckoning." (Surat ash-Shu'ara: 69-82)

The enemies of Ibrahim attempted to kill him when he called them to have faith in Allah. They lit a big fire and cast him into it. But Allah protected him and saved him from the fire. This is related in the Qur'an as follows:

The only answer of his people was to say: "Kill him or burn him!" But Allah rescued him from the fire. There are certainly Signs in that for people who are believers. (Surat al-'Ankabut: 24)

We said, "Fire, be coolness and peace for Ibrahim!" (Surat al-Anbiya: 69)

It is Allah Who creates and controls everything. By Allah's will the fire did not burn Ibrahim. This is a miracle of Allah and a manifestation of His might. Everything on earth occurs by Allah's will. Nothing can happen without His Will and control. If He does not will it, one can neither harm nor kill another person. Allah informs us in the Qur'an:

No self can die except with Allah's permission, at a predetermined time... (Surah Al 'Imran: 145)

He did not die although he was cast into the fire, since his time of death as predetermined by Allah had not yet come. Allah saved him from the fire.

In one verse, Allah relates to us that Ibrahim was a man of exemplary character:

Ibrahim was forbearing, compassionate, penitent. (Surah Hud: 75)

Allah loves people who are wholeheartedly devoted to Him. As the verse makes clear, not being rebellious, having a good character, and being submissive to Allah's commandments are favourable attributes in the sight of Allah.

The Prophet Musa (Moses)

After Musa's death, some people with bad intentions changed the Torah. That is why the Torah and the Old Testament people read today are very different from the original book revealed to Musa, peace be upon him.

Musa, peace be upon him, is a prophet to whom Allah frequently refers in the Qur'an. Allah revealed to Musa the Torah. But today, the Torah of the Jews and the Old Testament of the Christian Bible have lost their original authenticity, since the words and interpolations of man have been incorporated into them. But Jews and Christians today read these distorted books assuming them to be from the original book revealed by Allah. The Jews have turned from the right path because the book in which they believe is no longer the revealed book brought by the Prophet Musa, peace be upon him.

A king in ancient Egypt was called a "Pharaoh." The majority of the pharaohs were very arrogant people who did not believe in Allah and who considered themselves divine.

We know everything about the life and good character of Musa from the Qur'an. As the Qur'an informs us, the kings of ancient Egypt were called "Pharaoh." The majority of the pharaohs were very arrogant people who did not believe in Allah and who considered themselves divine. Allah sent Musa to one of the cruellest of these rulers.

One important point we need to dwell on while reading the verses about the life of Musa is "destiny." The following events led him to the palace of Pharaoh:

At the time Musa was born, Pharaoh ordered his soldiers to kill every male baby born in his land. Musa, peace be upon him, was one of those who were in danger. Allah told his mother to leave Musa in a chest in the river and assured her that He would finally return to her as a prophet. His mother placed Musa in a chest and left him in the water. This chest floated randomly on the water and some time later reached the shore at Pharaoh's palace, where Pharaoh's wife found him. She took the baby and decided to bring him up in the palace. Thus, unaware, the Pharaoh undertook to look after the person who would later communicate Allah's revelation to him and oppose his flawed views. Allah encompasses everything with His knowledge, and He also knew that Pharaoh would find Musa, peace be upon him, and bring him up in his palace.

The children of Israel were enslaved by Pharaoh in Egypt.
Above you can see these people who were subjected to hard labour.

Cruel Pharaoh arrested those who believed in Musa, peace be upon him, and enslaved them.

When Musa was born, Allah knew that he would be left in the river, that Pharaoh would find him and that Musa would ultimately become a prophet. This was how Allah predetermined Musa's destiny and He communicated this to his mother.

At this point, we must pay attention to the fact that every detail in his life happened according to the destiny Allah had predetermined.

When he grew into a young man, Musa left Egypt. After some time, Allah made him a prophet and messenger and supported him with his brother, Harun, peace be upon them both.

Both of them went to Pharaoh and communicated Allah's message to him. This was really a difficult task since without any hesitation they called on a cruel ruler to believe in Allah and to worship Him. This call of the Messenger Musa, peace be upon him, is related as follows:

And then, after them, We sent Musa with Our Signs to Pharaoh and his ruling circle but they wrongfully rejected them. See the final fate of the corrupters!

Musa said, "Pharaoh! I am truly a Messenger from the Lord of all the worlds, duty bound to say nothing about Allah except the truth. I have come to you with a Clear Sign from your Lord. So send the tribe of Israel away with me." (Surat al-A'raf: 103-105)

When it became clear that Pharaoh was thinking of exterminating all the believers, they fled from Egypt under the leadership of Musa, peace be upon him.

Pharaoh was an arrogant and proud man. Assuming that he held everything under his control, he rebelled against Allah. Allah had granted all his possessions, his strength and his lands to him, but because Pharaoh was unwise, he failed to understand this.

Pharaoh opposed Musa and had no faith in Allah, and he was, as mentioned earlier, a very cruel man. He made the Children of Israel his slaves. When it became clear that Pharaoh was intending to exterminate Musa and all the believers, they fled from Egypt under the leadership of Musa. Musa, peace be upon him, and the Children of Israel were caught between the sea and the soldiers of Pharaoh who were pursuing them. But even in such a desperate situation, Musa never despaired or lost his trust in Allah. Allah miraculously divided the sea in two and opened a path in the sea for the Children of Israel to cross. This was one of the great miracles Allah gave to Musa. Once the Children of Israel had reached the other shore, the parted sea returned, drowning Pharaoh and his soldiers.

Musa and the Children of Israel were caught between the sea and the soldiers of the Pharaoh pursuing them. But even in such a desperate situation, Musa never despaired or lost his trust in Allah. Miraculously Allah divided the sea in two and opened a path in the sea for the Children of Israel to cross. This was one of the great miracles Allah gave Musa. Once the Children of Israel reached the other shore, the parted sea returned, thus drowning Pharaoh and his soldiers.

Allah relates this miraculous event in the Qur'an as follows:

Such was the case with Pharaoh's people and those before them. They denied their Lord's Signs so We destroyed them for their wrong actions. We drowned Pharaoh's people. All of them were wrongdoers. (Surat al-Anfal: 54)

At the moment Pharaoh realised he would die, he stated that he believed in Allah and thus tried to save himself. We do not know whether this regret he felt at the last moment was of any use, since Allah only forgives us when our regret is sincere and when it is before the moment of death itself. Allah is the All-Merciful. If regret is only felt at the moment of death and, of course, if is not sincere, such repentance will not save a person. This may have been the case with Pharaoh. But only Allah knows. As this story reveals, we must live to please Allah throughout our lives and avoid falling into Pharaoh's error. If we fail in that, feeling sorry at the moment of death may be of no avail.