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Prophets in Islam (Arabic: ?) include "messengers" (rasul, rusul), bringers of a divine revelation via an angel (Arabic: , malikah); and "prophets" (nab?, pl. anbiy?'), lawbringers that Muslims believe were sent by God to every person, bringing God's message in a language they can understand. Knowledge of the Islamic prophets is one of the six articles of the Islamic faith, and specifically mentioned in the Quran.
Muslims believe that the first prophet was also the first human being, Adam (), created by Allah (?). 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 slightly different forms. For example, the Jewish Elisha is called Eliyas, 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.
Unique to Islam is Muhammad (Muhammad ibn ?Abdull?h), who Muslims believe is the "Seal of the Prophets" (Khatam an-Nabiyyin, i.e. the last prophet); and the Quran, revealed to Muhammad but not written down by him, which Muslims believe is unique among divine revelations as the only correct one protected by God from distortion or corruption, destined to remain in its true form until the Last Day. Muslims believe Muhammad to be the last prophet, although after the prophets there are still saints (though some modern schools, such as Salafism and Wahhabism, reject the theory of sainthood).
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 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 and Muhammad".
This narrative is found in "Chapter of the Ranks", Qur'an, 61:6 as Allah asked Jesus to remind the Children of Israel but they accused him of the prophecy:
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
wa-idh q?la '?s? 'b·nu Maryama: "y? Ban? Isra?'?la inn? Ras?lu 'll?hi ilay-kum mu?addiqal li-m? bayna yadayya mina 't-Tawra?ti wa-mubash-shiram bi-Ras?lin ya't? mim ba'd? 's·mu-hu? A?madu, fa-lamm? ja?'a-hum bi'l-bayyin?ti, q?l? "h?dh? si?rum mub?n!"
And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: "O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of Allah (sent) to you, confirming the Law [=Torah] (which came) before me, and giving Glad Tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad." But when he came to them with Clear Signs, they said, "this is evident sorcery!"-- Quran, sura 61 (As-Saf), ayah 6
In Arabic and Hebrew, the term nab? (Arabic plural form: ? anbiy?') means "prophet". Forms of this noun occur 75 times in the Quran. The term nubuwwah (Arabic: meaning "prophethood") occurs five times in the Quran. The terms ras?l (Arabic plural: rusul) and mursal (?Arabic singular: ? mursal; plural: ? mursal?n) denote "messenger with law given/ received by GOD" and occur more than 300 times. The term for a prophetic "message" (?Arabic singular: ris?lah; plural: ris?l?t), appears in the Quran in ten instances.
The Syriac form of ras?l All?h (literally: "messenger of God"), s?h?eli?eh d-all?h?, occurs frequently in the apocryphal Acts of St. Thomas. The corresponding verb for s?h?eli?eh--s?h?ala?, occurs in connection with the prophets in the Hebrew Bible.
The following table shows these words in different languages:
|Arabic||Arabic Pronunciation||English||Greek||Greek pronunciation||Strong Number||Hebrew||Hebrew pronunciation||Strong Number|
|?||Rasul||Messenger, Prophet||?,||ä'n-ge-los, ä-po'-sto-los||G32, G652||? ()||mal'akh||H4397,H7971|
In the Hebrew Bible, the word nabi ("spokesperson, prophet") occurs more commonly, and the Hebrew word mal'akh ("messenger") refers to Angels in Judaism. According to Judaism, Haggai, Zaqariah, 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" ( , 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).
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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:...
Islam teaches that prophets were "protected from sin" by God, so unlike lesser human beings they cannot commit a sin. 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. 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 retold in the Quran in the Arabic language (e.g., Job, Moses, Joseph (Yusuf) etc.) certainly differ from 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 thought about Jesus, but deceived his enemies and ascended to heaven.
The prophets and messengers "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 states: "There is a Messenger for every community" The hadith reports that the Prophet Muhammad said that there were approximately 124,000 prophets and 313 messengers ("a good number"). According to scholars such as Ibn Kathir and Shu'ayb al-Arna'oot the narration is weak, if not fabricated.
Most mainstream Sunni scholars agree that prophets were males only.[unreliable source?] 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 prophethood.[unreliable source?] 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 prophethood, hence 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:
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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.
All messengers mentioned in the Quran are also prophets, but not all prophets are messengers.
|Judeo-Christian Equivalent||Prophet||Messenger||Ulul'Azm (Archprophet)||Book||Sent to||Law (Sharia)|
|Noah||? ||? ||? ||The people of Noah ||? |
|Eber||? ||? ||d |
|Salah||? ||? ||Thamud |
|Abraham||? ||? ||? ||Scrolls of Abraham ||The people of Iraq ||? |
|Lot||? ||? ||The people of Lot |
|Ishmael||? ||? |
|Joseph||? ||? |
|Jethro||? ||? ||Midian |
|Moses||? ||? ||? ||Tawrah (Torah) Suhoof Musa (scrolls of Moses)||Pharaoh and his establishment ||? |
|Aaron||? ||Pharaoh and his establishment|
|17||Dawud|| \ ?
|David||? ||Zabur (Psalms) |
|Elijah||? ||? ||The people of ilyas |
|Jonah||? ||? ||The people of Younis |
|John the Baptist||? |
|Jesus||? ||? ||? ||Injil (Gospel) ||The Children of Israel ||? |
|? ||? ||? ||Quran ||Mankind, Jinn and all that exists ||? |
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 truth.
The Ahmadiyya 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 also known as Mirza Qadiani (1835-1908) as such a "prophet" of gods and the promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi of the latter days. The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement rejects his status as a prophet, instead considering him to be a renewer of the faith. However, all other Muslims and their scholars argue and firmly establish that the Ahmadiyya community are not even Muslim due to the fact their beliefs violate the Muslim belief in Muhammad as the "Seal of the Prophets" (Khatam an-Nabiyyin).
The Quran mentions 25 prophets by name but also tells that God (Allah) sent many other prophets and messengers, to all the different nations that have existed on Earth. Many verses in the Qur'an discuss this:
Regarding the issue of the prophets being sinless or infallible, there is an agreement among scholars that prophets are protected from sins. The protection of all prophets from sins is an Islamic belief, which is a precondition to trusting the prophets' message and following their example. However, there is a debate among scholars on whether prophets (peace be upon them all) are subject to error in judgments in "human" matters. The word `issmah (literally: protection) is mentioned in the Quran in the context of the Prophet being protected from people's whims and Satan's delusions while he conveys the message of God. However, the Quran did correct Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on a few occasions in matters of human judgment (Quran 8:67; 9:43; and 80:1-3). Nevertheless, some scholars rejected the possibility of erring in any prophetic decision whatsoever (for example, Al-Amedi, Al-Ihkaam fi Usul Al-Ahkam, vol.4, p. 99, Dar Al-Kitab Al-Arabi, Beirut, AH 1404line feed character in
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The Prophets were infallible in conveying the message from Allah, may He be exalted, so their words could not be but true and they did not make any mistake, whether deliberate or otherwise, in conveying the message. They were also infallible and protected from committing major sins such as zina (adultery) and theft. They were also infallible and protected from committing minor sins that are indicative of baseness, such as stealing a morsel of food or giving short measure.
According to a well-known tradition, Muhammad stated that God had sent 124,000 prophets and 313 messengers into the world.
Daniel is not mentioned by name in the Qur'an but there are accounts of his prophethood in later Muslim literature...