The Messenger of Allah (S) has said: I was sent to perfect the morals. This shows that the one hundred and twenty four thousand prophets that have arrived till now, one of whose duties was to perfect the morals have not been able to achieve this object. Why is it so? Were they careless of their job? But this is against the status of prophethood. Then what is the reason that these teachings could not reach perfection?
Though apparently it is a difficult question, its answer requires a little explanation. The verse: “We blessed all those prophets, some of them excel others,” shows that the status of all the prophets was not equal. There was a difference in their grades and positions, whether it be in their practical value or by the limited scope of their propagation, or by way of their divine recognition, but Allah knows best about all that. Any conjecture in this regard can deviate us. We believe in the prophethoods of all of them.
“We do not differentiate between any of them.” Though it can be said that the previous prophets did not get the opportunity to highlight each and every aspect of perfection of morals. Some prophets were such that they were sent only for a particular group; some were sent for a particular country, some were appointed on one area. Some were prophets only for their families. Followers of certain prophets did not heed their teachings. Some listened but did not follow the teachings. In any case, there were many situations when all the moral qualities and their types could not be taught to the people and all the Islamic morals could not be explained clearly to them. Or sometimes the teachings of a particular prophet lasted for limited period and there was no arrangement to take it further.
It was the reason that the followers of every prophet became deviated after the passing away of their prophet, and with the passage of time the actual teachings assumed a completely different shape. Since the real examples did not exist any more they took the wrong ones as models and continued to follow them. Till the time that need arose again for the arrival of a new prophet. There are some prophets in whose generation prophethood continued in a serial order, but this also came to an end at some time. Since there was no permanent and everlasting arrangement, there was no possibility for the perfection of morals.
The best perfection of man is to set an example. There are innumerable people who display perfection of morals in their own selves but there are very few who can make others like themselves. Rather most centuries pass away without they're being any such personality in them.
When people with perfect morals are not able to pass on their traits to others, perfect morals gradually disappear from the society. Setting an example is not an easy job; it requires a very effective personality. To make someone else like ourselves is not possible till the time the personality of the owner of perfection is not so powerful that it could pull others towards itself. There are many who can create partial similarity; there are none who can create total similarity. Continuation of perfection is impossible till all the partial things, all the habits and all good traits and morals, all the actions and deeds, all the spiritual perfections are not transferred to someone else.
The Prophet was on the position of the best of morals. Its perfection was possible only if there was arrangement of its continuation. Otherwise it would have been temporary just like the teachings of other prophets, while creation of examples is impossible without continuity. Therefore the Prophet, first of all, paid attention to this, and in his lifetime made four persons (Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husayn , peace be upon them all) like himself in every aspect.
There was no quality of good morals that was present in the Prophet but not found in them. Just as the Holy Prophet (S) showed each and every virtue practically, they also did so. This was an arrangement of the perfection of good morals from Providence; that it created twelve such personalities, who had the privilege of the successorship of the Holy Prophet (S) one after the other.
They continued to present the examples of prophetic morals in every age and period. And they continued to display all the good morals possessed by the Prophet himself, without any increase or decrease. Just as the prophethood of the Holy Prophet (S) is to continue till the Day of Judgment, in the same way is to continue the examples of his good moral qualities.