It was the blessing of Allah and His mercy to human beings, above all other creatures on this earth, to endow them with intellect and to enlighten them with His divine guidance through a long string of prophets and messengers, starting with Adam. The Qur’an says what means:
{Then Adam received (some) Words from his Lord; so He relented towards him; surely He, Ever He, is The Superbly Relenting, The Ever-Merciful.} (Al-Baqarah 2:37)

Prophets and messengers were all normal human beings according to the Qur’an, which says what means:
{And in no way did We send before you any of the Emissaries, except that surely they indeed ate food and walked in the markets.} (Al-Furqan 25:20)

{And in no way did We send before you except men to whom We revealed [the Message].} (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:7–8)

{And whomever of them should say, “Surely I am a god apart from Him,” then that one We recompense with Hell; thus We recompense the unjust.} (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:29)

{Say [O Muhammad], “Surely I am only a mortal the like of you: it is revealed to me that surely your God is only One God. So whoever hopes for the meeting with his Lord, then let him do righteous deed(s) and not associate anyone in the worship of his Lord. } (Al-Kahf 18:110)

Yet, the chosen prophets were endowed with such moral, spiritual, and intellectual merits to be trustworthy of delivering Allah’s guidance:
{Allah elects of the Angels Messengers and of mankind; (Messengers); surely Allah is Ever-Hearing, Ever-Beholding.} (Al-Hajj 22:75)

{Those are they whom Allah has favored among the Prophets of the offspring of Adam, and of the ones We carried with Nuh, and of the offspring of Ibrahim and Israel [Jacob] and of the ones We guided and selected. When the Ayat [Verses or signs] of the All-Merciful were recited to them, they collapsed constantly prostrating and weeping.} (Maryam 19:58)

Further, they vary in their esteem and quality:
{Those are the Messengers; We have graced some of them over some others; of them [there are some] to whom Allah spoke, and some He raised in degrees.} (Al-Baqarah 2:253)

Among them are a more eminent group described as ulu-l-azm {those endowed with resolve.}{So [endure] patiently, as the Messengers endowed with resolve [endured] patiently.} (Al-Ahqaf 46:35) These are Nuh (Noah), Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses),Isa (Jesus) and, on top of them, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon them all), whose message came to be the final word and the Seal of all Divine Messages:

{And We have sent down to you the Book with the Truth, sincerely verifying whatever of the Book that was before it, and Supremely Hegemonic over it. So judge between them according to what Allah has sent down, and do not ever follow their prejudices away from the Truth that has come to you. } (Al-Ma’idah 5:48)

{He is [The One] Who has sent His Messengers with the guidance and the religion of the Truth, that He [would] make it topmost above all religion; and Allah suffices as the Ever-Present Witness.} (Al-Fath 48:28)

{Indeed you have already had a fair example, in the Messenger of Allah, for whoever hopes for Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.} (Al-Hajj 22:21)

{And surely you [O Muhammad] are indeed of a magnificent character.} (Al-Qalam 68:4)

{It may be that your Lord will make you rise again to a praised station.} (Al-Israa’ 17:79)

He (peace be upon him) truthfully described himself:

“From among the sons of Adam, Allah chose Quraysh; from among Quraysh, He chose Kinanah; from among Kinanah He chose Bani Hashim; and from Bani Hashim He chose me” (Muslim).

He also said:

“I will be the chief of all the people on the Day of Resurrection. Do you know the reason for it? … And then Allah will guide me to such praises and glorification to Him as He has never guided anybody else before me. Then it will be said, ‘O Muhammad raise your head. Ask, and it will be granted. Intercede and it (your intercession) will be accepted.’” (Al-Bukhari).

A covenant and pledge were taken from previous messengers, especially Musa and `Isa (and hence from their true followers) that they should believe in, follow and support Muhammad in his sealing message:

{And as Allah took compact with the Prophets [that], “Indeed, whatever I bring you of Book and Wisdom, thereafter a Messenger comes to you sincerely verifying what is with you, indeed you shall definitely believe in him, and indeed you shall definitely vindicate him.” He said, “Do you ratify [that]? And do you take My obligation on those [conditions]?” They said, “We have ratified [that].” He said, “Then, bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses.”} (Al-Baqarah 2:81–82)

In this respect the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“By Allah, if my brother Musa were alive, and witnessed my Prophethood, he would have no choice but to follow me” (Ad-Darimi).

Yet, Muslims have to believe and pay due respect to all prophets and messengers:
{The Messenger has believed in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, and the believers [believe]. Everyone [of them] has believed in Allah, and his Angels and His Books, and His Messengers. We make no distinction between any of His Messengers. And they have said, “We have heard, and we have obeyed. Grant [us] Your All-Supreme forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the Destiny.} (Al-Baqarah 2:285)

{And the ones who have believed in Allah and His Messengers and have made no distinction between any of them, those He will eventually bring them their rewards, and Allah has been Ever-Forgiving, Ever-Merciful.} (An-Nisaa’ 4:152)
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Do not give me superiority over the other prophets” (Al-Bukhari).

Faithful Muslims should, and wholeheartedly do, love and regard him with high esteem:

{The ones who closely follow the Messenger, the Prophet, the Illiterate one, whom they find written down in their presence in the Tawrah (Torah) and the Injil (Gospel) … So the ones who believe in him, and rally to him (in assistance) and vindicate him, and closely follow the light that has been sent down with him, those are they [who] are the prosperous.} (Al-A`raf 7:157)

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “None of you will have faith till he loves me more than his father, his children and all mankind” (Al-Bukhari).

Yet, he severely warned Muslims of exaggeration in praising or respecting him:
“Do not exaggerate in praising me as the Christians praised the son of Maryam, for I am only a servant. So, call me the Servant of Allah and His Messenger” (Al-Bukhari).

Exaggerating the character or status of prophets and messengers has repeatedly led to all sorts of deviations from truth, which inflicted all messages prior to Islam. Deviations took several forms, from deifying human beings, to associating them with God, as sons or as parts of a trinity or a holy family, to taking statues, pictures or different sorts of icons, crosses, etc. as idols to glorify, supplicate, or take a blessing from.

A touch of this tendency to exaggerate the blessed character of the Prophet and his noble family infiltrated the minds and hearts of some Muslim individuals and groups, either as a remnant of their previous polytheistic beliefs, as a result of ignorance and influence of imitation of non-Muslims, or intentionally by those hypocrites who pretended to be Muslims with the aim of distorting Islam from within. To this effect, they invented hadiths (sayings) referred to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that were propagated by deviant sects, as well as by some of the ignorant masses. However, Muslim scholars early on scrutinized the validity of the texts as well as the integrity of hadith narrators. Further, they laid strict rules to be applied before accepting any hadith narration.

In this context, the story that Adam saw Muhammad’s name written on Allah’s throne—has been unequivocally disproved as forged or weak by scholars of Hadith, such as Ibn Taymiyah, Adh-Dhahabi, Al-Asqalani, and Al-Albani. The story was narrated through Abdur-Rahman ibn Zayd ibn Aslam, who was considered untrustworthy by scholars including Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Abu Zar`ah, Ibn Hibban, An-Nasa’i, Ad-Daraqatni, and others.

*Nabil Haroun