Quran confirms that God's message to humanity has been one throughout generations. God has been sending messengers to deliver that one message all along : There is only One God, worship Him alone.
[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.
The manner of worshiping God alone has been decreed in His scriptures and has been confirmed through His messengers:
[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. For each of you, we have decreed laws and different rites. Had GOD willed, He could have made you one congregation. But He thus puts you to the test through the revelations He has given each of you. You shall compete in righteousness. To GOD is your final destiny - all of you - then He will inform you of everything you had disputed.
Devoting our life and worship to God alone is a manifestation of our submission to Him alone. This is the only religion authorized by God, representing the one message that is contained in all of His scriptures and has been delivered by all of His messengers:
[3:18] GOD bears witness that there is no god except He, and so do the angels and those who possess knowledge. Truthfully and equitably, He is the absolute god; there is no god but He, the Almighty, Most Wise.
[3:19] The only religion approved by GOD is "Submission." Ironically, those who have received the scripture are the ones who dispute this fact, despite the knowledge they have received, due to jealousy. For such rejectors of GOD's revelations, GOD is most strict in reckoning.
Quran defines the sole duty of any messenger in numerous verses. It is important to know that both message (resalah) and messenger (rasool) intertwine in Arabic language and they both deliver the same meaning. Quran confirms this piece of information in many verses. Please reflect on the following verses and note how God's scripture/message shares the same meaning and performs the same duty of the messenger - deliver, proclaim, warn, bring good news, and confirm all previous scriptures:
[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.
[11:1] A.L.R. This is a scripture whose verses have been perfected, then elucidated.* It comes from a Most Wise, Most Cognizant.
[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.
[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.
[18:2] A perfect (scripture) to warn of severe retribution from Him, and to deliver good news to the believers who lead a righteous life, that they have earned a generous recompense.
[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.
Reflecting once more on all the above verses leaves us with the conviction that our main focus should always be on the message and the worship delivered through God's messengers, whether they are humans or scriptures. The following verses say it all:
[5:99] The sole duty of the messenger is to deliver the message, and GOD knows everything you declare and everything you conceal.
[2:252] These are GOD's revelations. We recite them through you, truthfully, for you are one of the messengers.
[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.
God has warned us against any shift of focus away from His message and His scriptures. He has informed us in a very detailed history how the majority tends to deviate from the monotheistic path to idolatry, taking His words lightly despite the sufficient warnings. This is because "They do not value GOD as He should be valued" (22:74), neither do they "observe God as He should be observed" (3:102) .
Valuing human messengers beyond the limit set by God (believe in their messengership, and uphold the message they deliver) is a famous scheme from the devil to shift our focus from God's message and scriptures. This works and progresses over years following a pattern that doesn't change. The consequence is always being so consumed by human idols rather than the message they deliver or the divine words they are sent to confirm. This reflects nothing but disbelief. This has been happening in every community after sending messengers since the early generations, otherwise God would not reveal this verse:
[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.
To guard us against this human weakness, the Most Gracious spelled out a basic concept concerning the belief in His messenger. This concept is not to be underestimated. We are commanded to believe in all messengers WITHOUT making any distinction among them. This raises a flag for the reverent ones bringing their attention to the delivered message rather than the deliverers themselves:
[2:285] The messenger has believed in what was sent down to him from his Lord, and so did the believers. They believe in GOD, His angels, His scripture, and His messengers: "We make no distinction among any of His messengers." They say, "We hear, and we obey. Forgive us, our Lord. To You is the ultimate destiny."
[2:136] Say, "We believe in GOD, and in what was sent down to us, and in what was sent down to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Patriarchs; and in what was given to Moses and Jesus, and all the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction among any of them. To Him alone we are submitters."
[4:152] As for those who believe in GOD and His messengers, and make no distinction among them, He will grant them their recompense. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.
God has deliberately and precisely chosen His words in Quran to help us understand this crucial concept. There are times when He mentions the support for His prophets while they are alive (33:56), and the support and proclamation of the message they deliver (3:187). In other times, His alive messengers ask their communities to follow them since they are witnessed proclaiming their messengership and reciting the word of God (27:107-108). NO WHERE IN QURAN God would make a distinction among them and ask us to follow and obey a particular messenger by name, making it clear that it is the message NOT a specific human or a name that we are commanded to follow and obey. In 16:123, God commanded prophet Muhammad to follow the RELIGION of Abraham, not Abraham himself. A beautiful example was set by Jesus and the disciples in the following verse, where he asked them to support him TOWARDS GOD, and they proclaimed they are GOD'S supporters:
[3:52] When Jesus sensed their disbelief, he said, "Who are my supporters towards GOD?" The disciples said, "We are GOD's supporters; we believe in GOD, and bear witness that we are submitters."
In conclusion, throughout history, idolatry has been a pattern since the early generations. Humans have been shifting the focus of their belief away from God alone and His scriptures, and messing up with the sole duty of sending messengers as defined by God. According to Quran, both message and messenger perform the same sole duty of delivering the word of God. We support the prophets and the messengers when we witness them by embracing submission to God alone, and we obey and follow their message when they are dead or alive. While we are commanded to believe in messengers and to follow their path, we are also commanded to NOT make any distinction among any of them so we do not fall in the trap of idolizing them. Idolizing God's messengers, and making distinction among them shatters the foundation of the only religion authorized by God, monotheism. This is an open invitation to deeply analyze the following verses, and reach an honest understanding of where we stand:
[25:27] The day will come when the transgressor will bite his hands (in anguish) and say, "Alas, I wish I had followed the path with the messenger.
[25:28] "Alas, woe to me, I wish I did not take that person as a friend.
[25:29] "He has led me away from the message after it came to me. Indeed, the devil lets down his human victims."
[25:30] The messenger said, "My Lord, my people have deserted this Quran."
[25:31] We also set up against every prophet enemies from among the guilty. Your Lord suffices as a guide, a master.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.