- Female prophets
- Holy books
- Holy gifts
- Prophets and messengers
- Prophethood in Ahmadiyya
- Other persons
- Other special persons in the Quran
- Prophets in Islamic literature
Prophets in Islam (Arabic: الأنبياء في الإسلام) include "messengers" (rasul, pl. rusul), bringers of a divine revelation via an angel (Arabic: ملائكة, malāʾikah); and "prophets" (nabī, pl. anbiyāʼ), lawbringers that Muslims believe were sent by God to every people, bringing God's message in a language they can understand. Belief in Islamic prophets is one of the six articles of the Islamic faith, and specifically mentioned in the Quran.
Muslims believe the first prophet was also the first human being, Adam (Adem). Many of the revelations delivered by the 48 prophets in Judaism and many prophets of Christianity are mentioned as such in the Quran but usually in altered form and with different names. For example, the Jewish Elisha is called Alyasa, Job is Ayyub, Jesus is Isa, etc. The Torah given to Moses (Musa) is called Tawrat, the Psalms given to David (Dawud) is the Zabur, the Gospel given to Jesus is Injil). Notwithstanding, none of the seven Jewish Prophetesses are mentioned in the Quran as prophets.
Unique to Islam is Muhammad (Muhammad ibn ʿAbdullāh), who Muslims believe is the "Seal of the Prophets" (Khatam an-Nabiyyin, i.e. the last prophet); and the Quran, revealed to Muhammad without witnesses and that he himself did not write down, which Muslims believe is unique among divine revelations as the only correct one protected by Allah ("God") from distortion or corruption, destined to remain in its true form until the Last Day.
In Muslim belief, every prophet in Islam preached the same main Islamic beliefs, the Oneness of God, worshipping of that one God, avoidance of idolatry and sin, and the belief in the Islamic Day of Resurrection or the Day of Judgement and life after death. Each came to preach Islam at different times in history and some told of the coming of the final Islamic prophet and messenger of God, who would be named "Ahmed" commonly known as Muhammad. Each Islamic prophet directed a message to a different group of people, and thus would preach Islam in accordance with the times.
In Arabic and Hebrew, the term nabī (Arabic plural form:anbiyāʼ) means "prophet". Forms of this noun occur 75 times in the Quran. The term nubuwwah (meaning "prophethood") occurs five times in the Quran. 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", risālah (plural: risālāt), appears in the Quran 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 Hebrew Bible.
The words "prophet" (Arabic: نبي nabī) and "messenger" (Arabic: رسول rasūl) appear several times in the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The following table shows these words in different languages:
In the Hebrew Bible, the word navi ("spokesperson, prophet") occurs more commonly, and the Hebrew word mal'akh ("messenger") refers to Angels in Judaism. According to Judaism, Haggai, Zachariah, and Malachi were the last prophets, all of whom lived at the end of the 70-year Babylonian exile. With them, the authentic period of Nevuah ("prophecy") died, and nowadays only the "Bath Kol" (בת קול, lit. daughter of a voice, "voice of God") exists (Sanhedrin 11a).
In the New Testament, however, the word "messenger" becomes more frequent, sometimes in association with the concept of a prophet. "Messenger" may refer to Jesus, to his Apostles and to John the Baptist. But the last book of the Old Testament, the Book of Malachi, speaks of a messenger that Christian commentators interpret as a reference to the future prophet John the Baptist (Yahya).
In Muslim belief, every Islamic prophet preached Islam. The beliefs of charity, prayer, pilgrimage, worship of God and fasting are believed to have been taught by every prophet who has ever lived. The Quran itself calls Islam the "religion of Abraham" (Ibrahim) and refers to Jacob (Yaqub) and the Twelve Tribes of Israel as being Muslim.
The Quran says:
The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah—the which We have sent by inspiration to thee—and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: Namely, that ye should remain steadfast in religion, and make no divisions therein:...
The Quran speaks of the Islamic prophets as being the greatest human beings of all time. A prophet, in the Muslim sense of the term, is a person whom God specially chose to teach the faith of Islam. Before man was created, God had specifically selected those men whom He would use as prophets. This does not, however, mean that every prophet began to prophesy from his birth. Some were called to prophesy late in life, in Muhammad's case at the age of 40. Others, such as John the Baptist, were called to prophesy while still at a young age and Jesus prophesied while still in his cradle.
The Quran verse 4:69 lists various virtuous groups of human beings, among whom prophets (including messengers) occupy the highest rank. Verse 4:69 reads:
All who obey Allah and the messenger are in the company of those on whom is the Grace of Allah—of the prophets (who teach), the sincere (lovers of Truth), the witnesses (who testify), and the Righteous (who do good): Ah! what a beautiful fellowship!
Biblical stories reproduced in the Quran in the Arabic language (e.g., Job, Moses, Joseph (Yusuf) etc.) certainly differ from those of the original, that is the Jewish Hebrew Bible, the Greek Old Testament and the Greek New Testament, in that the Quran always demonstrates that it is "God's practice" (sunnat Allah) to make faith triumph finally over the forces of evil and adversity. "We have made the evil ones friends to those without faith." "Assuredly God will defend those who believe." Thus the Islamic Isa did not die on the cross like the Christian Jesus, but deceived his enemies and ascended to heaven.
According to orthodox Sunni doctrine, prophets are unlike other human beings (including "the companions" of the Prophet, the members of Muhammad's family, and Sufi saints) in that they are "protected from major and minor wrongdoing" (Ma'soom). However, they also "share no divine attributes", and possess "no knowledge or power" other than that granted to them by God.
Muslims believe that many prophets existed, including many not mentioned in the Quran. The Quran itself refers to at least four other prophets but does not name them. One less-than-sound hadith states there have been 124,000 prophets, while another scholarly source states that "their exact numbers are not known with any kind of certainty."
Most mainstream Sunni scholars agree that prophets were males only. Still, some like Ibn Hazm, Qartubi, Ibn Hajir, and al Ash‘ari thought that the verses that mention angels speaking to Mary are proofs of her prophet hood. Also, Ibn Hajir interprets the Hadith "Many among men attained perfection but among women none attained the perfection except Mary, the daughter of `Imran and Asiya, the wife of Pharaoh." He said perfection is prophet hood in turn his claim that Mary and Asiya were prophets.
The revealed books are the records which Muslims believe were dictated by God to various Islamic prophets throughout the history of mankind. All these books promulgated the code and laws of Islam. The belief in all the revealed books is an article of faith in Islam and Muslims must believe in all the scriptures to be a Muslim. Muslims believe the Quran, the final holy scripture, was sent because all the previous holy books had been either corrupted or lost. Nonetheless, Islam speaks of respecting all the previous scriptures, even in their current forms.
The Quran mentions some Islamic scriptures by name, which came before the Quran:
The Quran mentions various divinely-bestowed gifts given to various prophets. These may be interpreted as books or forms of celestial knowledge. Although all prophets are believed by Muslims to have been immensely gifted, special mention of "wisdom" or "knowledge" for a particular prophet is understood to mean that some secret knowledge was revealed to him. The Quran mentions that Abraham prayed for wisdom and later received it. It also mentions that Joseph and Moses both attained wisdom when they reached full age; David received wisdom with kingship, after slaying Goliath; Lot (Lut received wisdom whilst prophesying in Sodom and Gomorrah; John the Baptist received wisdom while still a mere youth; and Jesus received wisdom and was vouchsafed the Gospel.
Prophets and messengers
All messengers mentioned in the Quran are also prophets, but not all prophets are messengers.
To believe in God's messengers (Rusul) means to be convinced that God sent men as guides to fellow human beings and jinn (khalq) to guide them to the path of the truth, and that they cannot speak, except the truth about God. It is obligatory to know twenty-five particular messengers.
Prophethood in Ahmadiyya
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community does not believe that messengers and prophets are different individuals. They interpret the Quranic words warner (nadhir), prophet, and messenger as referring to different roles that the same divinely appointed individuals perform. Ahmadiyya distinguish only between law-bearing prophets and non-law-bearing ones. They believe that although law-bearing prophethood ended with Muhammad, non-law-bearing prophethood subordinate to Muhammad continues. The Ahmadiyya Community recognizes Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835–1908) as such a prophet of God and the promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi of the latter days.
The Quran mentions 25 prophets by name but also tells that God sent many other prophets and messengers, to all the different nations that have existed on Earth. Many verses in the Quran discuss this:
Other special persons in the Quran
Prophets in Islamic literature
Numerous other prophets have been mentioned by scholars in the Hadith, exegesis, commentary as well as in the famous collections of Qisas Al-Anbiya (Stories of the Prophets). These prophets include: