The Call of Conscience
According to the explanation of certain modern writers, prophethood is the rising up of a man from amongst his people in order to undertake social reform in accordance with the call of his conscience. The Qur'an, however, gives a different meaning to the prophethood. In XCI:7-8 we read, "And a soul and Him who perfected it, and inspired it (with conscience off what is wrong for it and (what is) right for it. "
In this verse God demonstrates that each individual perceives from his own conscience and God-given nature the difference between good and bad action; and, that the potential for reform and the bettering of one's self is contained within each person; some listen to their conscience and act correctly while others pay no heed and so act wrongly.
Thus in the following verses of the same chapter God says: "He is indeed successful who causes it to grow and he is indeed a failure who stunts it. " If prophethood manifests itself as a result of the conscience, which everyone possesses, then everyone in theory may become a prophet. God, however, has reserved this duty for certain men only.
Thus He says in chapter VI:124, "And when a sign comes to them, they say: we do not believe until we are given that which God's messengers are given. God knows best with whom to place His message."
Adapted from: "The Quran in Islam" by: "Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i"
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