Completion of Favour
ٱلْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِى
وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ ٱلْإِسْلَٰمَ دِينًۭا ۚ
This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as religion. (Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:4)
By presenting this verse of the Holy Qur’ān, non-Ahmadi Muslim scholars try to prove that as a religion, Islam has been perfected or completed, and the completion of favor means that Prophethood has now come to an end. This argument is proven false by the following verse in Surah Yusuf:
‘And thus, as thou hast seen, thy Lord shall choose thee and teach thee the interpretations of things divine and perfect His favour upon thee and upon the family of Jacob as He perfected it upon thy two forefathers – Abraham and Isaac. Verily, thy Lord is All-Knowing, Wise.’ (Surah Yusuf 12:7)
If the meaning of the ‘completion of the favor’ is taken to mean that Prophethood has come to an end, this verse of the Qur’ān would mean that Prophethood was given to the Prophets mentioned in this verse again and again, and brought to an end again and again. However, even in this case we can prove that if Prophethood can come to an end and then re-start again and again, why can it not re-start after the Holy Prophet sa?
Can a Book grant guidance on its own?
Some people raise the point that in the presence of a perfect book like the Holy Qur’ān, there is no need for a prophet or spiritual guide, and now we can fulfill all of our requirements from this book alone. However, contrary to this notion, the Holy Qur’ān states that a book and a teacher are two closely intertwined elements.
Alif Lam Ra. This is a Book which We have revealed to thee that thou mayest bring mankind out of the depths of darkness into light, by the command of their Lord, to the path of the Mighty, the Praiseworthy – (Surah Ibrahim 14:2)
The status of a prophet in the eyes of those who claim that guidance can be achieved merely by reading a book is nothing more than that of a mail-man, whose job is merely to convey the book. The infidels of Makkā sought something quite the equal when they demanded that he may go to the heavens and bring them a book, which they can read.
‘Or, thou have a house of gold or thou ascend up into heaven; and we will not believe in thy ascension until thou send down to us a Book that we can read.’ – (Surah Al-Isra’ 17:94)
The word ‘naqra’u’ is worthy of special attention in this verse, which means, ‘we read’. As a matter of fact, the Makkans asked the Holy Prophet sa to simply give them a book and they shall read and understand it themselves, and that he should not teach it to them, nor impart to them wisdoms hidden therein.
Contrary to this demand, Allāh states that the function of a prophet is not merely to convey the message, but also its ‘tilawat’, or recitation, the expounding of its teachings and wisdom, as well as to purify the souls of the people. Therefore, along with a book, the requirement of a divine teacher cannot be disregarded.
He it is Who has raised among the unlettered people a Messenger from among themselves who recites unto them His Signs, and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and Wisdom though before that they were in manifest error; – (Surah Al-Jumu’ah 62:3)
Even in our daily lives we commonly witness that by merely reading the books of professional fields such as medicine, engineering, law, computer science, etc., one cannot become an expert in that respective field. Quite the contrary, he is required to learn from a proper teacher in that faculty of study, who not only explains difficult aspects of the textbook, but through his long experience, also teaches his students such beneficial things as are not mentioned in textbooks, which can only be acquired through deep study and experience in that field. If such is the case in worldly knowledge, then how can one acquire spiritual and divine knowledge without the presence of a teacher?