Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan

The prophet
The unity of religious ideals
Part I, Book 3, chapter VII
(Suresnes, 19 August 1922)
Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan


The prophet is the manifestation of the same Spirit which in its fullest expression can rightfully be called Alpha and Omega, although the Spirit of Alpha and Omega is in all beings : in a loving mother, in a kind father, in an innocent child, in a helpful friend, in an inspiring teacher. The prophet is a mystic, and greater than a mystic; the prophet is a philosopher, and greater than a philosopher; the prophet is a poet, and greater than a poet; the prophet is a teacher, and greater than a teacher; the prophet is a seer, and greater than a seer. Why greater? Because he has a duty to perform, together with the blessing that he brings upon earth.

In the terms of the Eastern people the prophet is termed Payghambar. There are also two other names: Nabi and Rasul. Although each of these names is expressive of the prophet, yet each name is significant of a certain attribute of the prophet, and also each of those words denotes a certain degree of his evolution.

Payghambar verbally means the Message-bearer, and this word is used for the holy ones, who from time to time brought a divine Message to a certain community, nation or race, whenever there was need of wakening a certain people. The Payghambar has worked as an alarm to warn people of coming dangers. The Payghambar has brought reforms to improve the condition of his people.

(from a lecture given in the Netherlands, 9 October 1921)
There are two steps in the life of the Messenger, one minor and the other major. One stage is when he begins to give the Message, the next stage is when the Message is fulfilled. Nabi, therefore, is the one who begins to give the Message; Rasul is the one who fulfils the Message.

(Continuation of the lecture of 19 August 1922)
Nabi is the prophet, who is not only for a certain section of humanity. Although he may live and move only in a limited region of the world, yet what he brings has its bearing upon the whole of humanity. It may not be fulfilled in his lifetime, but some time a day of fulfilment comes, even if it be in some centuries, that all he brought reaches the whole of humanity.

Rasul is a term which denotes an advanced degree, where the prophet has not only brought a Message to the world, but fulfilled his task during his lifetime through all tests and trials that a prophet is meant to meet in life.

The prophet is an interpreter of the divine law in human tongue. He is an ambassador of the spiritual hierarchy, for he represents to humanity the illuminated souls who are known and unknown to the world, who are hidden and manifest, who are in the world or on the other side of the world.

The prophet is an initiate and an initiator, for he is an answer to the cry of humanity, of individuals and of the collectivity. He is the one who sympathizes with those in pain, who guides those who are in darkness, who harmonizes those who are in conflict, and who brings peace to the world which, when excited by centuries of its activity, always loses its equilibrium.

The prophet can never tell the ultimate truth, which only his soul knows and no words can explain. His mission, therefore, is to design and paint and make the picture of the truth in words that may be intelligible to mankind. The bare truth not everyone can see. If he can, he needs no more teaching. The prophet, so to speak, listens to the words of God in the language of God and he interprets the same words in the human language. He speaks to everyone in their own language; he converses with everyone standing on their own plane. Therefore he has little chance to disagree, unless there were someone who wanted disagreement and noting else. There he cannot help.

Besides the words that even an intellectual person can speak, the prophet brings the love and the light which is the food of every soul. The very presence of the prophet may make a person see things differently, and yet he may not know that it was because of the prophet. He may only think that that, which was not clear to him or for a moment seemed difficult to him, is now right and clear. For the prophet is a living light, a light which is greater in power than the sun, for the light of the sun can only make things clear to the eyes, but the light that the prophet brings to the world makes the heart see all that the eyes are not capable of seeing. The prophet brings love, the love of God, the Father and Mother of the whole humanity, a love that is life itself. No words or actions can express that love. The presence of the prophet, his very being, speaks of it, if only the heart has ears to listen. Verily, to the believer all is right, and to the unbeliever all is wrong.

The principal work of the prophet is to glorify the name of God, and to raise humanity from the denseness of the earth, to open the doors of the human heart to the divine beauty which is everywhere manifested, and to illuminate souls which for years are groping in darkness.

The prophet brings the Message of the day, a reform for that particular period in which he is born. A claim of prophet-hood is nothing to the real prophet. The being of the prophet, the work of the prophet, and the fulfilment of his task, is itself the proof of prophet-hood.




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