The Idea of the Coming of a World Teacher
Muhammad is not the father of any man among you,
Qur'an, surah XXXIII, 40 :
Why should not another prophet come if God is the same, if His light is the same as it was before? This question at once rises in the enquiring mind.
There is no other reason than that, when there is one wealthy man in a whole town, he is the leader. If there is one powerful man in a village he is the head, but if there are ten in the place of one, at that time the leadership is in the hands of a multitude.
In ancient times the king was adored as a god; it is not so now. Autocracy is being overpowered by democracy every day. There is no need of a mediator between man and God ‑ specially at a time when not only man does want to manage all his affairs himself, but even woman wants to do so, without dependence upon anyone else or interference of any other person. And every race and class is trying to raise its head and to appear to be on the same level with the higher.
The light of guidance has existed at all times, and those who have been in its current have been as great as a Master could be. "There will be among us some who will be as great as the prophets of Beni Israel", said the Prophet.
There have been many since the delivery of the final message who, in spite of Muhammad's democratic proclamation, wished to claim to be a Messiah, a world‑teacher, a prophet, an incarnation of God. Many have tried this means of notoriety, thinking by this to make their community or religion conspicuous before the world, but so far none have been successful. It is absurd to think for one moment that, at the stage at which the world has arrived nowadays, with all national, social and religious distinctions and competitions, it will surrender itself with faith to one teacher, taking him as the divine messenger. First of all the scientists will put him to the test; then the historians will dispute; then he will have to overcome the political bodies which stand each for its own national and political benefit and, worst of all, to withstand the great powers which hold to their own law, each for the government of its own part of the world. It is as impossible as to imagine that a king will arise in the modern world before whom all the present generation would bow and prostrate itself, as the peoples of Khusrau prostrated themselves before him.
It is the nature of everything, and especially that of the light, that its narrow current shooting forth from its starting point spreads at each step on its way, and in the end becomes an undistinguishable current; in other words, a light spread all over, which the figure of the dove shows. The final aspect of the message is to show the kemal, the perfect period of the world's life and its spiritual training.
The question arises whether the spiritual evolution of the world today is such. It may be answered thus : A child is trained with promises of prizes for his diligence and punishment of fines for his negligence. When this period is past and the child is grown up, he does not need any parents or guardians to direct the affairs of his life; he is responsible for his own actions. So it is now with the world after the final message of divine love. One might think : What sort of evolution is this, when up till now man heartlessly kills his brother, when such bloodshed as in the recent war has taken place, and selfishness with its darkness seems to be overwhelming humanity in general ?
It may be thus understood : What, if parents were to give all the necessary training to their child and in spite of all he were to revel in his blind fancies in life, causing all ruination to himself by his own hands ? The parents are not responsible, nor will other parents be born for him to train him again. This is the time when, if the education given him by his parents did him no good, there will be no other training for him than his own experience of his follies and their disagreeable results.
The final message given by Muhammad was given at the period when the course of the divine message to humanity was finished. It was a law for the multitude. But the message individually received will never come to an end. The question then arises : "How could Muhammad's message be the last, when there is yet a great part of the world that has not accepted Islam ? The answer is that the community formed by Muhammad for the evolution and the betterment of his people in Arabia may not have embraced the whole world, and the forces, which prepared for the support and the spreading of Islam among both kind and cruel, may not have conquered all parts of the earth, but the spirit of his message has undoubtedly influenced all the world's religions and has stirred up all the world's nations for their betterment. The ideal of the divine Oneness which was the main object of his message has inspired the world, its influenc being in some parts known, in some parts unknown.
The light of guidance shines as bright as it shone before, and will ever be the same. If there will be no more hereditary monarchs among the democrats there will yet be presidents elected by the people, and if there will not be prophets with divine authority there will be reformers accepted by man.