WHEN Mohammad established Islam in Arabia he insisted that he was not proclaiming a new religion, for he believed that all the prophets who preceded him had brought the same message. From time to time God had sent prophets and had revealed His will in sacred books; but men were rebellious, and so it was necessary for Him periodically to send a new prophet to lead them back to the truth. Mohammad had no sense of any gradual development in the knowledge of God, for he held that a knowledge of the true religion had been given to man from the beginning. The reason why God needed to send prophets with fresh revelations was because men had fallen away from the truth and required to be called back to it. Thus men like Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and himself had all the same task set before them, and none of them was essentially different from any Other. God might authorise one to abrogate certain practices which had been commanded by a predecessor, but in essential matters they were all engaged in the same task, which was to proclaim the unity of God and summon men to worship Him alone.
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