Following the Example of a Prophet

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Here are potential difficulties in trying to follow the example of a prophet:

  • It is unclear that God exists, or that God communicates with people.
  • Just because it is claimed that God spoke to a prophet, doesn’t necessarily make it true.
  • We only know a tiny percentage of what a prophet did.
  • We must rely on translators and interpreters to understand the biography of a prophet.
  • Often we obtain information about a prophet from fallible non-prophets. For example, anonymous source(s) wrote the Quran, so Muhammad may have not written it.
  • Does a prophet have free-will? Is a prophet human? Is a prophet all-knowing, all-powerful and all-merciful? It seems that a prophet is fallible.
  • How can one prove that a prophet is infallible? If they are fallible, then why should we follow them?
  • Importance of diversity--We don’t want every person to live at the same location a prophet lived, or that every person should have the same exact profession that a prophet had.
  • Each person is unique, so what is right for one person may not be right for others. For example, if a prophet is perfect, they can serve society by being a dictator. However, many simple people are not qualified to be politicians or dictators.
  • Each era is unique. Ancient prophets presumably never used the phone, internet, car, etc. but it requires speculation to determine whether they would have used them today.
  • Each situation is unique. It is unclear how a prophet would have acted under different circumstances.
  • There are many criteria used to select a home, spouse, friend, school, place to eat, etc. One practical criterion is proximity. It is unclear what criteria caused the prophet to make his selections.
  • If a male prophet wears men’s clothing, marries a woman and doesn’t wear a veil, does that mean women should wear men’s clothing, marry other women and don’t have to wear veils?
  • Similarly, a prophet’s action may not apply to children, to non-believers, and to people that are sick.
  • There are instances in which Muhammad followed laws not applicable to others such as marrying more than four wives.
  • When examining two prophets, Isaac and Jacob, they had different names, lived a different number of years, lived in different places and had a different number of wives and children. If prophets behave differently then which prophet do we follow, or in what cases must we follow a prophet?

See Also