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Muslims regard as prophets of Islam () those non-divine humans chosen by Allah as prophets (according to their beliefs). Each prophet brought the same basic ideas of Islam, including belief in one God and avoidance of idolatry and sin. Each came to preach Islam and told of the coming of the final law-bearing prophet and messenger of God: Muhammad. Each prophet directed a message to a different group and each prophet taught minor variations in Sharia (or the practice of religion) to a different target-audience. These variations constitute applications of Islam: mainstream Muslims do not consider them discrete versions of Islam.
Islamic tradition holds that God sent messengers to every nation. In Islam, only Muhammad was sent to convey God's message to the whole world, whereas other messengers (rasuls) were sent to convey their messages to a specific group of people or nation.
Unlike Judaism and Christianity, Islam distinguishes between a direct messenger of God (rasul) and a prophet (nabi). Both function as divinely inspired recipients of God's revelation. However, in addition, rasuls receive a divine message or revelation for a community in book form. While every rasul is a nabi, not every nabi is a rasul.
Muslims regard Adam as the first prophet and Muhammad as the last prophet; hence Muhammad's title Seal of the Prophets. Islam regards Jesus as a rasul (and sometimes as a nabi) because he received wahi (revelation) from God, through which God revealed the Injil (Gospel) to him. Muslims believe that God has sent over 124,000 messengers all over the world as mentioned in the Sahih Hadith. Five (sometimes known as Ulul Azmi or the Imams — i.e. leaders — of the Rasuls) are accorded the highest reverence for their perseverance and unusually strong commitment to God in the face of great suffering. These five are Nuh (Noah), Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), Isa (Jesus), and Muhammad.
In both Arabic and Hebrew, the term nabī (plural forms: nabiyyūn and anbiyāʾ) means "prophet". These terms occur 75 times in the Qur'an. The term nubuwwa (meaning "prophethood") occurs five times in the Qur'an. The terms rasūl (plural: rusul) and mursal (plural: mursalūn) denote “messenger” or "apostle" and occur more than 300 times. The term for a prophetic “message”, risāla (plural: risālāt) appears in the Qur'an in ten instances.
The Syriac form of rasūl Allāh (literally: "messenger of God"), s̲h̲eliḥeh d-allāhā, occurs frequently in the apocryphal Acts of St. Thomas. The corresponding verb for s̲h̲eliḥeh — s̲h̲alaḥ, occurs in connection with the prophets in the Old Testament (Exodus, iii, 13-14, iv, 13; Isaiah, vi, 8; Jeremiah, i, 7).
Prophets and messengers in the Bible Edit
The words "prophet" (Arabic: nabi, نبی) and "messenger" (Arabic: rasul, رسول) appear several times in the Old and New Testaments. The following table shows these words in different religious languages:
In the Old Testament the word "prophet" (Hebrew: nabi) occurs more commonly, and the word "messenger" (Hebrew: malak) refers to Angels, But the last book of the Old Testament, the Book of Malachi, speaks of a messenger that most commentators interpret as a reference to John the Baptist. In the New Testament, however, the word "messenger" becomes more frequent, sometimes in association with the concept of a prophet. "Messenger" can refer to Jesus, to his Apostles and to John the Baptist
It seems that in the New Testament messengers have a higher rank than prophets; Jesus Christ said about John the Baptist:
But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
Prophets and messengers in the Qur'an Edit
The table below charts the Qur'anic verses which explicitly reference a prophet (nabi), a messenger (rasul) or a leader (imam). It also includes explicit references to prophets' book(s) / people / divine law (sharia).
|Name||Nabi (Prophet)||Rasul (Messenger)||Imam (Leader)||Book||People||Sharia (Divine Law)|
|Adam (Adam (Bible))|
|Idris (Enoch (ancestor of Noah))|| |
|Nuh (Noah)|| |
|People of Noah|| |
|Hud (prophet) (Eber)|| |
|Saleh (Shaloh)|| |
|Ibrahim (Abraham)|| |
|Books of Abraham||People of Abraham|| |
|People of Lut|
|Isma’il (Ishmael)|| |
|Yaqub (Jacob)|| |
|Musa (Moses)|| |
|Daud (David)|| |
|Sulayman (Solomon)|| |
|People of Elijah|
|Al-Yasa (Elisha)|| |
|People of Jonah|
|Zakariya (Zechariah)|| |
|Isa (Jesus)|| |
|Injil (Gospel)||Children of Israel|| |
Prophets and scriptures Edit
The prophets and Muhammad Edit
The scope of the prophetic mission Edit
The purpose of messengers Edit
The following list summarises the purpose of sending Messengers of Allah:
i. Allah sent messengers to every nation to guide them to Path of Allah:
وَلَقَدْ بَعَثْنَا فِي كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَّسُولاً أَنِ اعْبُدُواْ اللّهَ وَاجْتَنِبُواْ الطَّاغُوتَ فَمِنْهُم مَّنْ هَدَى اللّهُ وَمِنْهُم مَّنْ حَقَّتْ عَلَيْهِ الضَّلالَةُ فَسِيرُواْ فِي الأَرْضِ فَانظُرُواْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُكَذِّبِينَ
Transliteration: Walaqad baAAathna fee kulli ommatin rasoolan ani oAAbudoo Allaha waijtaniboo alttaghoota faminhum man hada Allahu waminhum man haqqat AAalayhi alddalalatu faseeroo fee al-ardi faonthuroo kayfa kana AAaqibatu almukaththibeena (Qur'an 16:36)
Pickthal Translation: And verily We have raised in every nation a messenger, (proclaiming): Serve Allah and shun false gods. Then some of them (there were) whom Allah guided, and some of them (there were) upon whom error had just hold. Do but travel in the land and see the nature of the consequence for the deniers! (Qur'an 16:36)
ii. Messengers warn nations to follow Allah’s commands and gave them glad tidings:
إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ بِالْحَقِّ بَشِيرًا وَنَذِيرًا وَإِن مِّنْ أُمَّةٍ إِلَّا خلَا فِيهَا نَذِيرٌ
Transliteration: Inna arsalnaka bialhaqqi basheeran wanatheeran wa-in min ommatin illa khala feeha natheerun (Qur'an 35:24)
Pickthal Translation: Lo! We have sent thee with the Truth, a bearer of glad tidings and a warner; and there is not a nation but a warner hath passed among them. (Qur'an 35:24)
iii. Messengers gave us guidance from Allah, taught us knowledge and provided a path to purify us:
كَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا فِيكُمْ رَسُولاً مِّنكُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِنَا وَيُزَكِّيكُمْ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَيُعَلِّمُكُم مَّا لَمْ تَكُونُواْ تَعْلَمُونَ
Transliteration: Kama arsalna feekum rasoolan minkum yatloo AAalaykum ayatina wayuzakkeekum wayuAAallimukumu alkitaba waalhikmata wayuAAallimukum ma lam takoonoo taAAlamoona (Qur'an 2:151)
Pickthal Translation: Even as We have sent unto you a messenger from among you, who reciteth unto you Our revelations and causeth you to grow, and teacheth you the Scripture and wisdom, and teacheth you that which ye knew not. (Qur'an 2:151)
iv. Allah explained that obedience to Him and His Messenger will earn paradise:
وَمَن يُطِعِ اللّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ يُدْخِلْهُ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا وَذَلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ
Transliteration: Tilka hudoodu Allahi waman yutiAAi Allaha warasoolahu yudkhilhu jannatin tajree min tahtiha al-anharu khalideena feeha wathalika alfawzu alAAatheemu (Qur'an 4:13)
Pickthal Translation: These are the limits (imposed by) Allah. Whoso obeyeth Allah and His messenger, He will make him enter Gardens underneath which rivers flow, where such will dwell for ever. That will be the great success. (Qur'an 4:13)
v. And whosoever disobeys will earn Hell fire:
وَمَن يَعْصِ اللّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَيَتَعَدَّ حُدُودَهُ يُدْخِلْهُ نَارًا خَالِدًا فِيهَا وَلَهُ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ
Transliteration: Waman yaAAsi Allaha warasoolahu wayataAAadda hudoodahu yudkhilhu naran khalidan feeha walahu AAathabun muheenun (Qur'an 4:14)
Pickthal Translation: And whoso disobeyeth Allah and His messenger and transgresseth His limits, He will make him enter Fire, where he will dwell for ever; his will be a shameful doom. (Qur'an 4:14)
vi. Allah said that He will judge us only after we have received the Message from His Messengers, and everyone will be judged based on his own actions:
فَلَنَسْأَلَنَّ الَّذِينَ أُرْسِلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَنَسْأَلَنَّ الْمُرْسَلِينَ - فَلَنَقُصَّنَّ عَلَيْهِم بِعِلْمٍ وَمَا كُنَّا غَآئِبِينَ
Transliteration: Falanas-alanna allatheena orsila ilayhim walanas-alanna almursaleena. Falanaqussanna AAalayhim biAAilmin wama kunna gha-ibeena (Qur'an 7:6-7)
Pickthal Translation: Then verily We shall question those unto whom (Our message) hath been sent, and verily We shall question the messengers. Then verily We shall narrate unto them (the event) with knowledge, for We were not absent (when it came to pass). (Qur'an 7:6-7)
مَّنِ اهْتَدَى فَإِنَّمَا يَهْتَدي لِنَفْسِهِ وَمَن ضَلَّ فَإِنَّمَا يَضِلُّ عَلَيْهَا وَلاَ تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَى وَمَا كُنَّا مُعَذِّبِينَ حَتَّى نَبْعَثَ رَسُولاً
Transliteration: Mani ihtada fa-innama yahtadee linafsihi waman dalla fa-innama yadillu AAalayha wala taziru waziratun wizra okhra wama kunna muAAaththibeena hatta nabAAatha rasoolan (Qur'an 17:15)
Pickthal Translation: Whosoever goeth right, it is only for (the good of) his own soul that he goeth right, and whosoever erreth, erreth only to its hurt. No laden soul can bear another's load, We never punish until we have sent a messenger. (Qur'an 17:15)
تَكَادُ تَمَيَّزُ مِنَ الْغَيْظِ كُلَّمَا أُلْقِيَ فِيهَا فَوْجٌ سَأَلَهُمْ خَزَنَتُهَا أَلَمْ يَأْتِكُمْ نَذِيرٌ- قَالُوا بَلَى قَدْ جَاءنَا نَذِيرٌ فَكَذَّبْنَا وَقُلْنَا مَا نَزَّلَ اللَّهُ مِن شَيْءٍ إِنْ أَنتُمْ إِلَّا فِي ضَلَالٍ كَبِيرٍ
Transliteration: Takadu tamayyazu mina alghaythi kullama olqiya feeha fawjun saalahum khazanatuha alam ya/tikum natheerun. Qaloo bala qad jaana natheerun fakaththabna waqulna ma nazzala Allahu min shay-in in antum illa fee dalalin kabeerin (Qur'an 67:8-9)
Pickthal Translation: As it would burst with rage. Whenever a (fresh) host is flung therein the wardens thereof ask them: Came there unto you no warner? They say: Yea, verily, a warner came unto us; but we denied and said: Allah hath naught revealed; ye are in naught but a great error. (Qur'an 67:8-9)
vii. Thus, those who received His message will not have excuse of ignorance:
رُّسُلاً مُّبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ لِئَلاَّ يَكُونَ لِلنَّاسِ عَلَى اللّهِ حُجَّةٌ بَعْدَ الرُّسُلِ وَكَانَ اللّهُ عَزِيزًا حَكِيمًا
Transliteration: Rusulan mubashshireena wamunthireena li-alla yakoona lilnnasi AAala Allahi hujjatun baAAda alrrusuli wakana Allahu AAazeezan hakeeman (Qur'an 4:165)
Pickthal Translation: Messengers of good cheer and of warning, in order that mankind might have no argument against Allah after the messengers. Allah is ever Mighty, Wise. (Qur'an 4:165)
Distinguishing Muhammad from other messengers Edit
Muslims believe that Muhammad differs from other messengers in three respects:
1. Allah sent all previous messengers to a specific nation in specific region of Earth. Their teachings also applied in a limited way for a specific time and period. However, Muhammad was sent to entire mankind and his guidance is for all mankind until the end of times.
2. The teachings of all previous Islamic messengers except Muhammad have all but disappeared, and whatever remained of them has become so much altered and mixed with falsely made-up stories that it is very difficult to recognize the original teachings. Whilst the teaching of Muhammad and the Quran is preserved in its originality, and Allah has promised to protect it until end of times.
3. The teachings of previous Messengers confined themselves to specific nations and times, thus their laws relating to ethics and moral code, justice, trade, financial deals, and civil law remained incomplete. Allah ( swt) through his final Messenger Mohamad completed the Religion and perfected it. It includes all the teachings from previous Messengers, and abrogated what was specific to those people and time.
Most Muslims thus believe that since the days of the prophet the teaching of Muhammad remains as the only trustworthy source to reach the guidance of Allah, and that the Qur'an contains the true teachings of Moses and Jesus.
Points of belief about Muhammad Edit
The belief in Muhammad includes four points:
The reception of the prophets Edit
Stories of prophets Edit
Allah sent each prophet to a specific nation except Muhammed — whom Allah sent to the whole world.
Table of prophets in the Qur'an Edit
The following table lists the prophets mentioned in the Qur'an. Biblical versions of names also appear where applicable:
Other prophets Edit
Muslims believe in other prophets other than those mentioned by name in the Qur'an. Many verses in the Quran discuss this:
Muslims believe that God has sent 124,000 (or 224,000) prophets and 313 messengers all over the world, as mentioned by the prophet Muhammad in the Sahih Hadith.
The Qur'an mentions Al-Imran as the father of Maryam. Al-Khidr is not mentioned by name, but is traditionally assumed to be referred to in . Biblical prophets Danyal (Daniel), Ishaia (Isaiah), Armya (Jeremiah), and Samuel are mentioned by Ibn Kathir in his book as prophets.
Luqman is mentioned in the sura named after him but it is unclear whether he is a prophet or a wali. According to the most wide-spread shiite belief, Luqman was a wiseman, not a prophet nor a wali. The reported news hold that Luqman had a dream, and in that dream he was asked to choose between being a King and a wiseman, and he chose the second.
Numerous other historical figures may rank as prophets, but debate and contention surround this matter. Such figures include: Zoroaster, Gautama Buddha, Socrates, Merlin, Confucius, Krishna, (also mentioned in some books of Hadith) and Rama. However, Muslims will state that there is no way of knowing for sure since they are not mentioned by name in the Qur'an. An argument often used in support of the prophethood of such men is that they came with the word of God, but it was later corrupted, this accounting for the differences between Islam, and the respective religions with which each man is associated. The Hadith and Qur’an support such claims that say that a messenger was sent to every people.
Maryam mother of 'Isa Edit
A few scholars (such as Ibn Hazm) see Maryam as a nabi and a prophetess, since God sent her a message via an Angel. The Qur'an, however, does not explicitly state that she is one. According to the Islamic belief, she was a holy woman, but she was not a prophet. In the Qur'an, 'Isa is usually referred to as 'Isa ibn Maryam (Jesus, son of Mary), a matronymic, indicative of Jesus having no father.
See also Edit