Messengers have been sent by God almighty with one message: there is no god except God, worship Him alone. The Quran clearly expresses that one message of God, and explicitly narrates the history of His messengers, since Noah, delivering that same one message to humanity.
One God/One Message/One Religion [21:25] We did not send any messenger before you except with the inspiration: "There is no god except Me; you shall worship Me alone."
[16:36] We have sent a messenger to every community, saying, "You shall worship God, and avoid idolatry." Subsequently, some were guided by God, while others were committed to straying. Roam the earth and note the consequences for the rejectors.
Only One Religion
Monotheists vs Idol Worshipers [42:13] He decreed for you the same religion decreed for Noah, and what we inspired to you, and what we decreed for Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: "You shall uphold this one religion, and do not divide it." The idol worshipers will greatly resent what you invite them to do. God redeems to Himself whomever He wills; He guides to Himself only those who totally submit.
Worshiping God alone simply implies following His path and His teachings. His commands have been always put together by His will in a divine scripture that is delivered by a prophet messenger. A messenger who doesn't bring a scripture is sent to re-deliver the same one message and confirm the existing scripture. God explains such a system in the Quran with no ambiguity:
[21:10] We have sent down to you a scripture containing your message. Do you not understand?
[3:58] These are the revelations that we recite to you, providing a message full of wisdom.
[3:79] Never would a human being whom God blessed with the scripture and prophethood say to the people, "Idolize me beside God." Instead, (he would say), "Devote yourselves absolutely to your Lord alone," according to the scripture you preach and the teachings you learn.
Major Prophecy Fulfilled
God's Messenger of the Covenant [3:81] God took a covenant from the prophets, saying, "I will give you the scripture and wisdom. Afterwards, a messenger will come to confirm all existing scriptures. You shall believe in him and support him." He said, "Do you agree with this, and pledge to fulfill this covenant?" They said, "We agree." He said, "You have thus borne witness, and I bear witness along with you."
The ONE and ONLY entity that institutes teachings for us to follow is God, and the above system is His divine unchangeable system to deliver and confirm His message and teachings:
[45:17] We have given them herein clear commandments. Ironically, they did not dispute this until the knowledge had come to them. This is due to jealousy on their part. Surely, your Lord will judge them on the Day of Resurrection regarding everything they have disputed.
[45:18] We then appointed you to establish the correct laws; you shall follow this, and do not follow the wishes of those who do not know.
[6:114] Shall I seek other than God as a source of law, when He has revealed to you this book fully detailed? Those who received the scripture recognize that it has been revealed from your Lord, truthfully. You shall not harbor any doubt.
[18:27] You shall recite what is revealed to you of your Lord's scripture. Nothing shall abrogate His words, and you shall not find any other source beside it.
[5:50] Is it the law of the days of ignorance that they seek to uphold? Whose law is better than God's for those who have attained certainty?
What is the meaning of a messenger in the light of Quran and what is the duty listed by God for a messenger?
[5:99] The sole duty of the messenger is to deliver the message, and God knows everything you declare and everything you conceal.
Sole Mission of the Messenger [42:48] If they turn away, we did not send you as their guardian. Your sole mission is delivering the message. ...
[13:40] Whether we show you what we promise them, or terminate your life before that, your sole mission is to deliver (the message). It is us who will call them to account.
[3:20] If they argue with you, then say, "I have simply submitted myself to God; I and those who follow me." You shall proclaim to those who received the scripture, as well as those who did not, "Would you submit?" If they submit, then they have been guided, but if they turn away, your sole mission is to deliver this message. God is Seer of all people.
Therefore, a messenger is the mediator between the sender and the recipient(s). God indicates in the Quran that the delivery process is accomplished through reciting the word of God:
[2:252] These are God's revelations. We recite them through you, truthfully, for you are one of the messengers.
Messengers From Among You [7:35] O children of Adam, when messengers come to you from among you, and recite My revelations to you, those who take heed and lead a righteous life, will have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.
[28:59] For your Lord never annihilates any community without sending a messenger in the midst thereof, to recite our revelations to them. We never annihilate any community, unless its people are wicked.
The Disbelievers [39:71] Those who disbelieved will be led to Hell in throngs. When they get to it, and its gates are opened, its guards will say, "Did you not receive messengers from among you, who recited to you the revelations of your Lord, and warned you about meeting this day?" They will answer, "Yes indeed. But the word `retribution' was already stamped upon the disbelievers."
All along, Satan has been claiming that a messenger's duty is more than just the delivery. He managed to twist the word of God beyond the truth. He has been enticing his constituents that when it is said that a messenger teaches, clarifies, or purifies, he'd be actually doing additional tasks besides the recitation and the delivery of the word of God!!!!! This blasphemy is creeping into the hearts of the majority of humans simply to let them commit the unforgivable sin of idol worship!!!! When the Quran is recited, the teachings are delivered, taught, clarified, or explained. Quran, itself, is a book of teachings from the Supreme Teacher to purify and progress our souls. When it is recited, we are simply listening to nothing but the teachings, the wisdom, and the explanations of the Most Gracious, Teacher of the Quran. A messenger teaches, purifies, and clarifies things we never knew through reciting and delivering the word of God. Only few will take heed!
[27:91] I am simply commanded to worship the Lord of this town - He has made it a safe sanctuary - and He possesses all things. I am commanded to be a submitter.
[27:92] And to recite the Quran. Whoever is guided is guided for his own good, and if they go astray, then say, "I am simply a warner."
[3:101] How can you disbelieve, when these revelations of God have been recited to you, and His messenger has come to you? Whoever holds fast to God will be guided in the right path.
[2:129] "Our Lord, and raise among them a messenger to recite to them Your revelations, teach them the scripture and wisdom, and purify them. You are the Almighty, Most Wise."
[3:164] God has blessed the believers by raising in their midst a messenger from among them, to recite for them His revelations, and to purify them, and to teach them the scripture and wisdom. Before this, they had gone totally astray.
Dr. Rashad Khalifa, God's Messenger of the Covenant, is not any different, and certainly is not above the divine systems. He has never claimed himself as a teacher who explains or brings new teachings next to the word of God. Whatever Dr. Khalifa unveiled for us is backed up and contained in the text of the Quran. He made an outstanding and honest effort expressing his duties through the Quran, and nothing but the Quran..
God's Messenger of the Covenant [13:30] We have sent you (O Rashad) to this community, just as we did for other communities in the past. You shall recite to them what we reveal to you, for they have disbelieved in the Most Gracious. Say, "He is my Lord. There is no god except He. I put my trust in Him alone; to Him is my ultimate destiny."
Another very important meaning for the word messenger is message. Those who know and appreciate the Arabic language are fully aware that the word message (resalah) could also be used as a messenger (rasool). The perfect Arabic of the Quran confirms this fact. God intertwiningly used each word to describe the other (using the word messenger to describe the message of Quran, or indicating how God's scriptures perform all the human duties of the messenger). Please, carefully, analyze the following verses:
[65:10] God has prepared for them severe retribution. Therefore, you shall reverence God, O you who possess intelligence and believed. God has sent down to you a message -
[65:11] a messenger* who recites to you God's revelations, clearly, to lead those who believe and work righteousness out of the darkness into the light. Anyone who believes in God and leads a righteous life, He will admit him into gardens with flowing streams; they abide therein forever. God will generously reward him. *65:10-11 The ``Messenger'' here is clearly the Quran. Verse 10 talks about ``sending down a message,'' and this points to the Quran as the messenger in 65:11 (Appendix 20).
[11:1] A.L.R. This is a scripture whose verses have been perfected, then elucidated. It comes from a Most Wise, Most Cognizant.
The Quran: Messenger of God [11:2] Proclaiming: "You shall not worship except God. I come to you from Him as a warner, as well as a bearer of good news.
[11:3] "You shall seek your Lord's forgiveness, then repent to Him. He will then bless you generously for a predetermined period, and bestow His grace upon those who deserve it. If you turn away, then I fear for you the retribution of an awesome day."
[14:1] A.L.R. A scripture that we revealed to you, in order to lead the people out of darkness into the light - in accordance with the will of their Lord - to the path of the Almighty, the Praiseworthy.
[27:1] T. S. These (letters) constitute proofs of the Quran; a profound scripture.
[27:2] A beacon, and good news, for the believers.
The Gospel of Jesus: Guidance and Light
[5:46] Subsequent to them, we sent Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming the previous scripture, the Torah. We gave him the Gospel, containing guidance and light, and confirming the previous scriptures, the Torah, and augmenting its guidance and light, and to enlighten the righteous.
[5:47] The people of the Gospel shall rule in accordance with God's revelations therein. Those who do not rule in accordance with God's revelations are the wicked.
Quran: The Ultimate Reference [5:48] Then we revealed to you this scripture, truthfully, confirming previous scriptures, and superseding them. You shall rule among them in accordance with God's revelations, and do not follow their wishes if they differ from the truth that came to you.....
It is clear from the above verses that God's scriptures/messages perform and fulfill the same exact duties of human messengers: delivering, warning, giving good news, guiding, leading people out of darkness, and confirming previous scriptures. The one vital difference between a human messenger of God and the divine scripture as a messenger would be the physical time limitation in case of humans compared to the eternity of God's message in His scriptures. In other words, human messengers perform their delivery task during a very specific, limited, and predetermined physical life span, while God's scripture is His timeless and eternal messenger that will always be there for humanity until the end.
What or who do WE follow? the messenger? the message?
God who never runs out of words, and whose choice of words is way too precise, often uses following the messenger(s) rather than specifying a name for the messenger to be followed. The same applies when it comes to obeying the messenger. The divine wisdom behind that is to shed the light on what exactly to be followed or obeyed. Mohammad, Abraham, Noah, Jesus, or Rashad are all humans. The one component that attributes the title "messenger" to all of them is the message they are responsible for its delivery. Therefore, when God says follow or obey the messenger, He is outlining for us exactly what we follow or obey through the emphasis of the word messenger. He is pointing out the message rather than the human, dead or alive.
[7:75] The arrogant leaders among his people said to the common people who believed, "How do you know that Saaleh is sent by his Lord?" They said, "The message he brought has made us believers.
[7:3] You (plural tense in the Arabic text) shall all follow what is revealed to you from your Lord; do not follow any idols besides Him. Rarely do you take heed.
[47:2] Those who believe and work righteousness, and believe in what was sent down to Muhammad - which is the truth from their Lord - He remits their sins, and blesses them with contentment.
[47:3] This is because those who disbelieve are following falsehood, while those who believe are following the truth from their Lord. God thus cites for the people their examples.
[20:133] They said, "If he could only show us a miracle from his Lord!" Did they not receive sufficient miracles with the previous messages?
[20:134] Had we annihilated them before this, they would have said, "Our Lord, had You sent a messenger to us, we would have followed Your revelations, and would have avoided this shame and humiliation."
No Excuse [28:47] Thus, they cannot say, when a disaster strikes them as a consequence of their own deeds, "Our Lord, had You sent a messenger to us, we would have followed Your revelations, and would have been believers."
[3:53] "Our Lord, we have believed in what You have sent down, and we have followed the messenger; count us among the witnesses."
[3:95] Say, "God has proclaimed the truth: You (plural tense in the Arabic text) shall follow Abraham's religion - monotheism. He never was an idolater."
[6:155] This too is a blessed scripture that we have revealed; you (plural tense in the Arabic text) shall follow it and lead a righteous life, that you may attain mercy.
What would the human messenger, himself, follow?
They follow the message ; the path of God . They follow the scripture they deliver or confirm. Muhammad was commanded to follow the perfect religion of Abraham, and the teachings of the Quran :
[6:106] Follow what is revealed to you from your Lord, there is no god except He, and disregard the idol worshipers.
[75:18] Once we recite it, you shall follow such a Quran.
[12:108] Say, "This is my path: I invite to God, on the basis of a clear proof, and so do those who follow me. God be glorified. I am not an idol worshiper."
[6:153] This is my path - a straight one. You shall follow it, and do not follow any other paths, lest they divert you from His path. These are His commandments to you, that you may be saved.
Muhammad: A Follower of Abraham [16:123] Then we inspired you (Muhammad) to follow the religion of Abraham, the monotheist; he never was an idol worshiper.
In conclusion, God is the only entity that institutes our teachings in a divine scripture. Believing in God alone mandates worshiping Him alone. We worship God alone by following His path and His divine commands. We follow the messenger He sends us, dead or alive, by following the scripture that messenger delivered or confirmed. In Arabic language, the meaning of message is also a messenger. The message in God's scriptures is the eternal messenger of God to be followed and obeyed. Dead or alive, it is always the message of the human messenger that matters, and emphasized by God to be obeyed and followed.. We are not following Abraham's rites, Muhammad's scripture , or Rashad's teachings. We are following the perfect religion, the divine rites, and the proven word instituted by God that He assumed full authority to preserve through His divine systems. We are to believe in all the human messengers, dead and alive, without making any distinction between them by following the proven word they deliver - that word stays alive and never dies - that word is the actual messenger we follow and obey.
The Dead Prophets and Saints [16:20] As for the idols they set up beside God, they do not create anything; they themselves were created. [16:21] They are dead, not alive, and they have no idea how or when they will be resurrected.
The Prophets and the Saints Are Dead [25:58] You shall put your trust in the One who is Alive - the One who never dies - and praise Him and glorify Him. He is fully Cognizant of His creatures' sins.