In the preceding lecture, we dealt with two functions of the prophets: The educational dimension and the ethical dimension. Now we will deal with their function in providing us with social laws which are crucial to our lives.
We know that man’s most important asset is his dynamic social life which is the basis for all his various advancements.
If men lived apart from each other there is, no doubt that we would now beliving in a situation not better than that of the Stone Age.
It is the collective endeavor of mankind that has kept the torch of culture and civilization burning. It is our collective efforts which have been the source of all these scientific discoveries and innovations.
For instance, the journey to the moon would never have taken place if a great number of experts and scholars had not continuously worked diligently in the decades that preceded it.
Another example is the transplant of a dead person’s heart into the body of a living person and the subsequent saving of a life, whose death would have been inevitable if this operation had not taken place. Such a feat is the result of continual research done on the human heart during the history of mankind.
However, despite the glories that social life provides us, there are still some hardships and obstacles in our way and these are the conflicts that exist in human social life which at times culminate in wars.
In this respect, we appreciate the need for laws and regulations.
RULES COULD SOLVE THREE TYPES OF HARDSHIPS
Laws outline an individual’s tasks vis-à-vis society and vice versa. They give us the capabilities to flourish and coordinate our efforts.
Laws pave the way for regulating individuals in carrying out their tasks.
Laws prevent individuals from violating each other’s rights; laws prevent chaos in one citizen’s interaction with another. And laws define punishment for criminals and law-breakers.
WHO IS THE BEST LEGISLATOR?
Now we would like to know who could be the best legislator; who is most capable in regulating the necessary laws for mankind that could encompass all the three principles mentioned above which outline the individual’s rights and interactions with society and which control affairs and inhibit the aggression of lawbreakers?
Human society, for example could be likened to a huge train and the government as its engine.
Laws are like the rails of such a train which show the direction towards a specific destination, a direction and route which passes through all kinds of bends and curves, and all sorts of mountains, hills, and valleys.
A good railway should have the following features:
The ground on which the train travels should be strong enough to tolerate the maximum pressure; the distance between two rails should be the same as that between the wheels of the train.
The direction should not be too steep so that the brakes of the train could function properly.
Landslides should also be prevented and the probability of the occurrence of flooding and avalanches should be accounted for to ensure the safety of the train.
Having considered this example, let us now return to human society:
The legislator who desires to pass the most appropriate laws for human beings should have the following features:
He should know human nature well and be familiar with man’s instincts, emotions, needs and problems.
He should consider all man’s capabilities and should prepare the necessary laws for them to flourish.
He should be able to predict all the accidents that might inflict the whole nation.
He should not have special personal privileges and prerogatives so that he could design law without seeking to secure his specific interests or those of his close relatives.
Such a legislator should be aware of all the progress that man might have made and all the failures and pitfalls that threaten his safety.
Such a legislator should be completely immune from committing errors, mistakes, blunders and forgetfulness.
He should be strong enough not to be intimidated by any governmental official or by any power. At the same time, he should be extremely amicable and sympathetic.
WHO POSSESSES THESE FEATURES?
Can a man be the best legislator? Has there been someone who knows man completely when one of the greatest sociologists of our time has written an informative book called” Man, the Unknown Creature.”
Is man’s mentality, his tendencies, instincts and emotions entirely known to us?
Does anybody else, besides God, know man’s spiritual and physical needs? Can you pick a man out of human society who does not have any special interests in his community? Can you identify a man who is immune to faults and blunders?
For these convincing reasons, there is nobody except God and the person who receives His revelations, who could ever be a good and prudent legislator.
Thus, we arrive at the following irrevocable fact; the Creator who has created man to improve and become perfect should appoint for him guides who could provide man with all-inclusive divine laws.
People would definitely trust those rules that come from God and this trust and recognition will safeguard those laws.
THE RELATION BETWEEN MONOTHEISM AND PROPHETHOOD
It is worth mentioning here that the system of creation as such, is a living witness for the divine prophets and their righteous missions.
It should be pointed out that even a short and cursory look at this marvelous creation will reveal to us that God has not ignored any of the needs of any creature. For instance, He has given us our eyes and then has provided these eyes with eyelashes and eyelids to protect them from any sort of damage.
God has provided tear-ducts for each eye because dryness destroys them.
God has also provided small openings in the corner of man’s eyes to carry the extra water through them into the nose. If these openings were not narrow enough, teardrops would always cover our faces.
God has made man’s pupils so sensitive to light that they automatically widens or narrow in response to strong and weak light. This protects the eyes from any unpredictable damage.
There are muscles around the eyeballs which can turn the eyes in different directions to observe different objects.
Could such a God, Who has provided man with all his needs, deprive man of a guide and an infallible leader who is intimately connected with His revelation?
The well-known philosopher, lbn S¢n¡ (Avicenna), in his work called “Shaf¡” [Remedy] writes:
“Man’s need for the appointment of prophets for his survival and for his attainment of virtues is more crucial than the growth of his eye-lashes, eyebrows, the curves in his feet and the like. Thus, it is impossible for the Eternal Benevolence to arrange for the latter and ignore the former.”
THINK AND ANSWER
What is man’s most precious asset?
Why can’t man live without laws?
Give one revealing example of the role of laws in man’s life.
What are the characteristics of the best legislator?
Why should prophets be human beings