Read in the name of your Lord who created—created man from clots of congealed blood.
Read! Your Lord is the Most Bountiful One, Who by the pen, taught man what he did not know.
Indeed, man transgresses in thinking himself self-sufficient. For to your Lord all things return (96:1-8).
These verses of the Qur’an were the first to be revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. They tell us what God’s purpose was in choosing this particular way of sending His revelations through His messengers, namely, to inform man of what would otherwise have been impossible for him to learn on his own.
For example, man leads his life in the present world for a fixed period of time, then passes away. During his life-span he appears to be free. This gives rise to two kinds of misunderstandings. One is that man’s life is nothing but what it appears to be from birth to death, and the other is that man is not going to be taken to task for his actions. It was to put an end to this ignorance that God arranged for a series of prophets to bring His revelations to mankind.
In every age and in every nation messengers of God have continued to come, Prophet Muhammad being the last of the prophets in this chain. Now he is the only source of divine guidance, since no other prophet is going to come till Doomsday.
The message passed on by these prophets was that in this present world man is not free to follow his desires. In all moral issues he is bound to obey the divine commandments given to man by God through His messengers.
However, the presence of the Prophet in person is not necessary for man’s guidance. What is necessary is access to the book of God which was brought by him to mankind. With God’s Book, the Qur’an available in its preserved state in every corner of the globe and also the sunnah (traditions) of the Prophet enshrined in authentic collections, man has now no excuse for wrongdoing. For it must be remembered that God has not left man alone after sending His guidance. He is actually keeping a continuous watch over him and after death, he will be brought to the divine court where, according to worldly record, his guilt or innocence will be pronounced by God, and reward or punishment meted out accordingly. Man should, therefore, in building his life, seek continual guidance from the Qur’an and sunnah, so that he may become truly deserving of God’s eternal blessings.