YOUR FIFTH QUESTION
Fifteen is accepted as the age of discretion. How did God’s Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) worship before his prophetic mission?
T h e A n s w e r : He used to worship in accordance with what remained of Abraham’s (Upon whom be peace) religion, which was still extant in Arabia though in very obscure form. But this was his own choice, to perform a good act, not because he was obliged or compelled in any way. This truth is lengthy, so let it remain at that for now.
YOUR SIXTH QUESTION
What was the wisdom in his prophethood commencing when he was forty years of age, which is reckoned to be the age of perfect maturity, and his blessed life continuing for sixty-three years?
T h e A n s w e r : There were numerous purposes and instances of wisdom in this. One of them is as follows: prophethood brings with it extremely heavy responsibility. To bear it, the intellectual abilities have to mature and capacity of the heart, increase and be perfected. Forty is the age they are most perfectly developed. In addition, the period of youth, when the passions of the soul are enflamed, the blood is fiery and exuberant, and worldly ambitions are intense, is not fitting for the duties of prophethood, which are purely divine, sacred, and pertain to the hereafter. However serious and sincere a man is before the age of forty, the suspicion that he is working for worldly renown might occur to those who themselves seek fame. He could not easily be exonerated in the face of their accusations. But after the age of forty, the descent to the grave begins, and the hereafter looms larger for such a man than this world. He can be easily vindicated by his actions and works, which look to the hereafter, and he is successful. And others too are saved from thinking ill of him.
When it comes to his blessed life lasting sixty-three years, one of the instances of wisdom in it is this: the believers are charged by the Shari‘a to love and respect God’s Most Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) to the utmost degree, to feel repelled at nothing about him at all, and to look on everything about him as good. Almighty God, therefore, did not leave His Noble Beloved (UWBP) to live the difficult, troublesome years of old age after sixty-three; He rather sent him to the Sublime Court at that age, which was the average life expectancy of the community of which he was the leader. He took him to Himself, showing that he was the leader in every respect.